Tag Archives: Obamacare

Can we save Enloe Hospital? Interesting new measure, “Fair Hospital Pricing Act,” heads for 2016 ballot

28 Nov

I know it’s not even Christmas yet but Election 2016 is coming around fast.  Because of low turnout in the last couple  of elections, fewer signatures are required on petitions, and we might expect a record number of measures up for our approval or disapproval.

Reading Dan Walther’s column recently I found this measure posted – “The Fair Healthcare Pricing Act of 2016.” 

http://www.oag.ca.gov/system/files/initiatives/pdfs/15-0101%20%28Affordable%20Healthcare%29.pdf?

What a mind-blower – State data reflect that private hospitals operating in this State, on average, charge patients 325 percent above the actual cost of providing health care, and some private hospitals charge more than 800 percent above the actual cost of the care provided.” 

Furthermore, “patients who are uninsured and underinsured often pay far more than insurers and health care service plans. The result is that unreasonably high hospital charges disproportionately affect uninsured and underinsured individuals and families.”   Yes, contrary to many liberal claims, the uninsured are not leeches, but end up paying more than the insured. 

The first question that enters my mind is, where does Enloe stand here? Closer to the 325 or the 800? 

What I know about Enloe is that 10 years ago they were charging $7,000/hour for ER treatment, and charging for entire hours instead of real time – meaning, if you came in at 11:30 and left at 12:15 you paid for two hours. Rooms were $7500/day, and that’s for half the room, private rooms were more.  I have that ER charge on paper, a total of $15,000 in charges for about a 55 minute visit to the ER.  I got the room charge from a woman in the billing department – I remember how she had a hard time spitting it out, I could tell she was shocked by the price herself. 

That was 10 years ago, I can’t find that information now. You have to go down there, they don’t have a phone number you can call and you won’t find anything on their website. They are very evasive about their pricing, that is, until you wake up from surgery and there’s a hospital rep sitting next to your bed, telling you he or she is there to “help you” figure out how you will pay your bill. A friend of mine is hooked for life – told he had cancer, what could he do? They attached his house, now he will pay that half-million dollar hospital bill on his mortgage for the rest of his life, after having paid his mortgage down to less than $30,000 before the incident. I don’t want to ask him if he feels lucky to be alive as he hauls it out to go to work at 6am, 8 – 10  hours on ladders, pushing 60 years old, knowing he has nothing to leave his kids but bills.

Another friend of mine got a call at work out of town that his father was ill and being taken to Enloe. He was at the hospital within four hours – his dad already owed $17,000 and had not even got a diagnosis of any kind.  The old man wanted to go home, the doctors told my friend they couldn’t tell him anything unless the old man  stayed the night. Whammo – $35,000 by noon the next day.

My husband racked up almost $80,000 in charges over a weekend.

Yeah, I know – anecdotes. Well, I bet you could get similar “anecdotes” from just about anybody who has two dimes to rub together to pay for a doctor. Thanks to Obamacare, my family is no longer welcome at the hospital, we don’t have insurance. There is no more “deal” – in past, if you could pay 10 percent within 30 days, that was it. That’s what the insurance companies pay, but they get a lot longer than 30 days. Now you must have insurance or you can be refused service. You  can’t even get into Immediate Care without your SSN, I don’t care if you’re waving a fistful of hundred dollar bills.  Obamacare is a disaster for the working class.

Here we call it “Covered California,” which is a crack-up after the report I read recently that says nobody is signing up, so California is hardly “covered.” My family was hit for $800/month, with a $12,000 deductible – who would buy that?  We could actually have taken a subsidized plan – The Bronze Plan, which I like to call “The Mr. Shit Plan.” That plan will not even get a person into Enloe, I’d say, you better head for O-ville, stat!

A friend of mine who worked at Enloe Hospital in a higher level position told me CEO Mike Wiltermood, whom he knew personally,  “makes about a million dollars.” He wasn’t exaggerating, that’s the normal compensation package for these people who do nothing to serve the patient. For years I tried to get Wiltermood to tell us his salary – he would not answer, instead attacking my credibility, telling people, “consider the source…“, meaning, me.  Consider the source? Of a question? Why can’t he answer? Cause  he does make “about a million dollars,” that’s not uncommon in a business where the customer is typically charged 325 to 800 percent of the cost of service. That gross overcharge pays Wiltermood’s salary, benefits and pension.  

I have not finished reading “The Fair Pricing Act,” but I will study it. These measures are tricky, it’s essential to read this stuff. It’s also a good idea to check out the people behind it. 

All I could find on Roberta B. Johansen, the woman who sent the initiative to the Attorney General for review, is that she backed “The Economic Recovery Tax Relief Act” in 2005, which, among other things, sought to eliminate tax loop holes for wealthy people and lower state sales tax. I have no idea whether this measure made the ballot, or,  if so, how it did, but that’s something we know about Roberta B. Johansen. She’s also a generous donor to UCSF hospital. 

This will take more snooping, but I think it’s worth it. Like the measure says, “Excessive hospital charges are a leading cause of bankruptcy and financial distress among uninsured and underinsured individuals and families. “

The poor management of Enloe Hospital undermines the health of our community, physically, financially, and spiritually.  We need to take our hospital back, maybe this is one way to do it. 

In loving memory of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Chiapella.

 

 

 

 

 

 

White House consultant spills the beans on Obummercare

21 Nov

Here’s one of my favorite local papers, The Territorial Dispatch out of Marysville. Read their front page article on the Obummercare scandal.  I know it’s been in the news, but this article lays it out very clearly. 

http://territorialdispatch.biz/2014/nov/Nov19-2014WEBpdf.pdf

I would compare this directly with what the city is doing to our garbage rates and service with their new franchise mandate.  Sorensen, Orme and Constantin are keeping this subject behind closed doors because they don’t want us to know what they’re doing until it’s done.

Yeah, you called it – Obummercare!

31 Aug

Bob sent me this link today, asking, “Hey Juanita, you aware of this aspect of Obummercare?”

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/02/08/obamacare-final-payment-raiding-assets-low-income-poor-americans/

In this article, Paul Craig Roberts explains what an insurance agent described to my husband and I as “paying down.”  Under the (ha ha) “Affordable (oh Jesus I can’t stop laughing!) Care Act,” when you own a home, no matter your income,  you are forced to sell that home and any other assets, and spend every last dime on medical bills before you can receive any assistance.  Roberts is right –  “Obamacare herds the poor into Medicaid (in California MediCal) which requires some enrollees to forfeit homes and other assets they might have to the state to cover the cost of their medical care.’

See, we don’t qualify for MediCal/CAID  because we own a house. Period. I think they allow you to own one car, don’t quote me on that. In order to qualify for MediCal, they said we’d have to “pay down,” everything we own. We’d have to hit rock bottom paying medical bills and be destitute before they’d give us any MediCal, and then you know what you get.

My family “qualifies” to pay $800 a month for Obummercare, and then we’d pay another $12,000 deductible, and then something called The Bronze Plan would kick in, but I can’t get any answer out of Enloe – I don’t think they take the Bronze Plan. We’d probably have to go to Oroville Hospital, with the rest of the welfare cases, and then, you know, see what we get for our $9600 a year plus $12,000 deductible – I’m guessing, a gurney in the hall. 

I always think of the movie Reservoir Dogs, where the Quentin Tarantino character is given his code name, “Mr. Brown.”  He’d probably say the same thing about The Bronze Plan. “Mr. Bronze? That’s sounds a little too much like Mr. Shit….” I agree. 

Well, I got a loaf of bread to get in the oven, I’ll talk at you later!