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Why America's healthcare system has transformed into an unlucky lottery

Donald Barlett

(NaturalNews) Most of us are fully aware that America's healthcare system is a complete disaster, and has only worsened following the implementation of Obamacare. Bestselling investigative journalist Donald L. Barlett breaks down this scenario in his book, Critical Condition: How Health Care in America Became Big Business--and Bad Medicine, illustrating the way that corporate greed dictates the medical care we receive. The following is a snippet from his book:

You are standing in line at a supermarket to buy a box of Cheerios. You notice that the two customers in front of you are making the same purchase. The cashier rings up the first box at $5.41, just as advertised in the newspaper. But when the second box is scanned, the price registers $6.76. Strange, you think. Even more strange, the customer doesn't seem to notice the difference.

Then it's your turn. The cashier scans the box, and the price flashes $29.92. Why would anyone pay more than five times as much as another person for an identical box of cereal? They wouldn't. But when it comes to health care, you don't have any choice. And that's precisely the kind of spread that hospitals use in selling their services. Except you don't know it, it's their secret.

When you hear a politician, an economist, a corporate executive, talk about the wonders of the free market in health care, they neglect to mention that the system is rigged in a way that would not be tolerated in the sale of any other consumer product.

In the supermarket, you know precisely what every other customer pays for a box of cereal or can of soup. But in the health care industry, that information is difficult, often impossible, to come by. Health care providers can, and do, charge one customer five times, in some cases even ten times, as much as another.

At least in the supermarket you have a choice of whether to pay the going price. When it comes to the cancer treatment you need to live or the emergency care your sick child requires in the middle of the night, you have no choice.

Welcome to health care in America, a system in which the person you work for, or don't, determines what you pay for medical services. A corporate executive, a clerk for a Fortune 500 company, and a retiree on Medicare generally pay the least. The self-employed, people unable to secure insurance because of preexisting conditions, the working poor, and folks who make too much money to qualify for government-paid Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance, are charged top dollar.

If they are hospitalized and don't happen to have an extra $10,000, $50,000, or $100,000 tucked away, they can put at least part of the tab on their credit cards, as they are advised to do by health care providers, and pay an additional 17 percent in interest.

Or they can have their wages attached. If they manage to scrape together enough money to buy health insurance, the insurance companies will charge them more than anyone else, too.

Over the last few decades, American health care has radically changed. A system that was largely not-for-profit has become a field where the profit motive and market forces affect every decision. Publicly held corporations answerable to stockholders decide which doctor you may see, how much medication you can take, whether you can be evaluated by a specialist, whether you qualify for a test, how long you stay in a hospital, how many therapy sessions, physical or psychiatric, you may attend.

Patients wait months for appointments that once could be made in days. Their medical condition is evaluated by clerks with no medical training. Patients who are so sick that they meet the strict criteria for hospitalization are discharged before they are well, despite the protests of their doctors.

For more on Barlett's breakdown of our corrupt healthcare system, pick up a copy of his book today!



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