If you haven’t yet read Steven Brill’s comprehensive investigative piece for TIME Magazine about why healthcare costs are so high, it’s well worth taking the time to digest the 80-plus pages. The article is an indictment of our for-profit healthcare system, shining a spotlight – not on insurance companies – but on supposedly “not-for-profit” hospitals. According to Brill’s investigation of patients’ bills, hospitals are vastly overcharging for routine tests and basic supplies, costing patients and taxpayers billions of dollars and stuffing the hospitals’ bottom line. Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are also dining at the trough, their obscene profits kept afloat by Congressional lawmakers who receive fat campaign contributions by those same companies.
Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act, Brill writes, won’t do anything to rein in these costs. Instead, Brill predicts the ACA will eventually cause insurance premiums to soar. Brill’s investigation is more proof that the American healthcare system is a racket and is no longer sustainable. The healthcare industry’s insatiable greed is stripping the meager resources of Americans who have seen their wages stagnate over the last 30 years. Our nation will soon become bankrupt if we don’t reject the idea that health care should be up for sale. Expanding Medicare to everyone in the United States is the only way to stop the gouging.