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Why Medical Bills In The US Are So Expensive

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The American health-care system is in a tug of war between physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and shareholders. At the center of it all are the patients. Ashley Palmiscino's insurance company was billed roughly $4 million for her five-month-old son Luca's lung transplant. Her family had to turn to fundraising almost immediately just to keep up with the medical bills, and she's not alone. One-third of the money raised on GoFundMe last year went to medical campaigns. So how did we get here, and how do we turn things around? "Once there's all this money sloshing around in a system, there's this sort of pile-on effect where everyone wants to grab their bit of this huge pot of money," said Elisabeth Rosenthal, a former physician who wrote a book about how health care became big business. "Now what we have as we're trying to take it back and reduce costs is everyone is desperately clinging to their piece of the pie." » Subscribe to CNBC: http://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC About CNBC: From 'Wall Street' to 'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: http://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: http://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Google+: http://cnb.cx/PlusCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: http://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC #CNBC Why Medical Bills In The US Are So Expensive
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Text Comments (6431)
rigbymauser (3 hours ago)
I just had a slipped disc operation. Didn`t cost me 1 dollar. I live in Denmark.
David Ugono (4 hours ago)
Title Question: Why are Medical Bills in the US so expensive? My Question: Why do Medical Bills even exist in the US? My Statement: There are no Medical Bills (or hardly any) in the UK.
Miguel Leon (5 hours ago)
If you want to make money be in the food industry cause everyone has to eat or liquor business because everyone wants a good buzz and the medical field because people get sick 😷
Miguel Leon (5 hours ago)
It’s a luxury to go to the hospital
Miguel Leon (5 hours ago)
Hospitals are the new banks
Lord Remuru (7 hours ago)
Poor kid I hope he is doing well.
Salus Medical LLC (9 hours ago)
Nice information shared in this video....keep up the good work going...Salusmedicalrx.net?
Zo Mo (21 hours ago)
Should have free health care like in Ireland and many other country’s
Dalton Lowe (17 hours ago)
No. You just need to get rid of vaccines
Lee Francis (22 hours ago)
Because the Government fails to put caps on insurance companys
biniji (1 day ago)
120 on the road talk about irresponsible people
sh su (1 day ago)
the hospital is milking the system.
Vimal V (1 day ago)
Poor Luca.. he is 2 years old and facing all the consequences of greedy people.. Hope he gets alright!
Shmevan Riceballz (1 day ago)
#japanwins 2:35
Shmevan Riceballz (1 day ago)
Sometimes you just think, “Why is America so damn expensive?” The answer is, “Cause it’s America!”
allengregory69 (1 day ago)
so her kid is a waste of resources
eddydiaz2001 (2 days ago)
We can't have kids, get sick, or go to school without getting into dept in the USA. Pathetic!
Boi Asia (2 days ago)
Dying would be better
michaelsmith5583 (2 days ago)
Dont have children you cant afford. Duh
bruce mcclelland (3 days ago)
No one tells you at the end who gets the money Where does it go Who is the thief
Oscar Rodriguez (3 days ago)
At this point it's cheaper to become a doctor so you can do your own procedures on yourself than it is going to the doctor.
Tj H (3 days ago)
13:45 YEA There is - just REDUCE the cost of healthcare. The reason the ostomy bag cost the lady $1700 that month is because someone COMPLETELY RANDOMLY decided that's how much it'd cost, pretty much. That's teh whole point of what was said earlier in the video - that people raised prices simply because they COULD and because insurance made it seem like no one was paying.
Pow Trendy (3 days ago)
Come to Korea, we have best health care system
Erik Cuevas (3 days ago)
If y’all ever see me dying on the streets please ignore me and go about your days.
Hhg Ghhvbb (3 days ago)
It is all free in Sweden, But it only costs our the taxpayers about what the US goverment paus today. Per capita of course. Healthcare for all is great and not very expensive. But american healthcare for all is just to expensive
Protein_404 Prottis (3 days ago)
hmm free health care here..
Charlsie Smith (4 days ago)
Is this Sara Dietschy's voice?
Adam 330 (4 days ago)
Socialised healthcare won't turn your country into a communist dystopia.
Defective Clone (4 days ago)
Healthcare is FREE for everyone in Australia... other then $15 for some antibiotics or $25 for some special medication that cost up to $400 in America . we don't pay for anything else :) .. Whats wrong with America.. so backwards and corrupt over there
Chelsea Kyle (5 days ago)
This is why I really appreciate the NHS in England and healthcare is free. I don't understand how the government just let's people with these massive bulls!
Gaius Marius (5 days ago)
Get rid of government subsidies and regulations and the prices will drop
Randomness (5 days ago)
The only way to stop this nonsense is DEREGULATION, regulations and policy is built around to favor aetna, humana and few...
Sheppie Het (5 days ago)
Medical bills in the US are ridiculously unaffordable because the AshkeNAZI joozs run this town.....that's the only reason!
Mike Childers (6 days ago)
Thanks to the (un)Affordable Healthcare Act making it illegal to not have health insurance, health insurance costs in the US went from $600 for a family of 4 covering 80%, to $1400 for only one person with the same coverage. Overnight. Since most people couldn't afford that, they had plans starting at $300 for one person with a $10,000 annual deductible which means that even though a man had coverage, he still didn't have any help paying his medical bills unless he spent a week in the hospital. The hospital may charge an uninsured patient $6600 for a procedure, but the insurance would knock it down to $800 before they pay. This means a $10,000 deductible would be like $80,000 of uninsured debt. Doctors suddenly found themselves having to try to collect from their patients even with health insurance because of insane deductibles. Many specialist doctors stopped taking health insurance altogether and went to a monthly pay system where their patients paid every month even though they didn"t have to see a doctor every month. Why did medical prices go so high? When I was a kid in the 60s, we only had insurance for 'major medical' which covered catastrophic events. Doctors charged $20 per visit and most drugs were cheap because the patient paid for them out of pocket. When health insurance started covering day to day costs, hospitals, doctors, and drug companies could charge more. The patient wasn't price shopping anymore and the 'payer' was now a billion dollar corporation instead of a family making $15,000/year. Suddenly, the supply and demand rules for price control didn't apply. The patient didn't choose his hospital or his doctor for its low cost. Doctors, by the way, are the only professionals I know of that can charge $300 for 5 minutes of time and not do anything. I had a surgeon charge my Medicare $200 for me to go to his office and tell me that he can't help me. He was in and out in 90 seconds. I had to pay $40. I also had doctors take 8 office visits to do what could have been done in 3 visits, stretching out various tests one by one instead of doing some or all at the same time. Imagine if your plumber or AC tech tried to do this.
Ivaylo Aleksandrov (6 days ago)
What this means is simple. You pay the price adjusted to profit of corporations operating in a 1% very expensive internal economy, completely dissociated with the 99% of the population's job economy. Services, salaries, technology, etc. in that internal economy are established not upon demand/social adjustment, but on corporate deals. As example, they buy other businesses for billions every year (this simply meaning, here I am the boss now). You should be all joining that same fake corporative abundance and asking for 1.000.000 USD base salaries.
Alan Jo (6 days ago)
Dont take ambulances if you really don't need to.
Joel Clark (6 days ago)
America needs to fund its health care and introduce legal implications into it and restrictions. A good example is New Zealand, health care is free to citizens and the cost is capped by the government
Michael Benson (6 days ago)
This is ridiculous! Operations are free in Australia under Medicare, we don’t need insurance because our taxes pay for all medical needs.
Ain Yap (7 days ago)
Wawwwww damd!!! I just went to the dentist yesterday and went to the hospital due to my stomach eche, it cost me Rm 2 = half of us1 lol wtf u guyssss
Lorri (7 days ago)
Looks like you have to have a degree in accounting just to work out your bills. The system is a total wreck.
Doors067 (7 days ago)
how could you begin to pay that? you cant.... you move to third world country
kka hamel (7 days ago)
america america run by criminals from top to bottom! u r not a citizen u r a number on an accountants profit and loss sheet! pathetic!
Brajesh Singh (8 days ago)
the baby was really very sweet...sad to see this state..especially at 9.22 where he brings his medical aids and then puts it in the box...I do hope he survives.. .it is true that American healthcare has become an industry...it is efficient but also expensive..one solution is what probably what the guy said in the end...maybe the govt. needs to get in the healthcare industry more extensively to challenge the private sector
judeoko (8 days ago)
Go on say the NHS is better. Well this is politics and your wrong. The kid maybe would not have survived in UK. Pay health insurance or pay through the nose in tax. We pay stealth taxes and it works out at €2000 for every man woman and child in UK. So family of 4 would be €8000 in hidden taxes a year how much would you pay in insurance. And the service is crap. The point I'm making no system is perfect pros and cons.
Courteney Campbell (8 days ago)
a64750 (9 days ago)
if Surgeon don't Cut, Surgeon don't get Paid
Kel M (10 days ago)
I will never leave Canada, I can't believe people have to worry about health bills in the US, literally have never even thought of this one time in Canada. Wait times can be high for non-emergency surgeries, but far better alternative!
WanderLust Endumado (10 days ago)
Ahhh the good old USA 🇺🇸 health insurance program, the biggest joke on the planet. Who pays a let's see here let's say a $800 MONTHLY premium for a family, then has to meet let's say a $4000 deductible (which restarts every single year) then pays co-pays every time you see a doctor, pick up a script (if your insurance company pays for it, if not oh well) then and here's the kicker, once you pay all that hard earned money the insurance comp will only pay 80% of your bill, or 70% depending on your plan if its 80/20 or 70/30 sometimes it's 90/10 or 60/40 OR NOTHING AT ALL if they deny your claim. 😂 Wait, wait, wait it's the best system guys. 🤣 What a flipping joke. Guess what... If you're rich you can afford it, poor you get medicaid, middle working class, you're screwed. But let's not pay a tax so we can all just get care. I never knew how screwed up our system was until I researched other countries systems, it's a huge lie that we have the best, we don't, we have the most expensive.
Robert King (10 days ago)
Sorry to say, that child should have been aborted before birth. Clearly, his family had markers that would indicate that their progeny would require extreme medical interventions. The parents were at best, wishful thinking that their child would be okay. I know, I sound like a jerk or worse but, lets be honest. You know your child could require a lot of medical care. You choose to birth that child. Its on you at that point.
Table Salt (6 days ago)
But murdering the unborn is against the grace of God 😹
Qixc (11 days ago)
Glad I live in The Netherlands. F USA
Ceus Ex (11 days ago)
You go to France, UK, Australia, Japan basically any country with universal healthcare. There are people dying in the streets, guys in crazy masks driving in makeshift vehicles having crazy shootouts it's basically Mad Max.
ErnieMassri (11 days ago)
I find it evil and terrifying to be charged in times of adversity with whatever the hospital decides. It's like dying of thirst in the middle of the desert and be offered bottled water at an unknown price that could reach ANY amount. The mother's situation in the video is REALLY sad and depressing...just unacceptable that the life of that child is at risk, even though there's the technology to save him. I wonder if the Health Care System will ever be fixed.
K. S. (12 days ago)
Holy how old is that kid? putting away that box for him Mum like that, what a clever little guy!
Joeyblondewolf2 (12 days ago)
I had an MRI in May of 2017... I'm still trying to pay it off in payments..
Lowkeyy (8 days ago)
Joeyblondewolf2 a friend of mine had one a few years ago. He was charged $5,000
Jleeyuh (13 days ago)
Dam if that’s how much my medical bill is just let me die
Amy Hoang (14 days ago)
In the US, it is so ridiculous that after you paid a high rate to get your insurance, your insurance companies then are free to accept a billing rate that is 3 times the market price for an item from your drug store and you still have to pay out of pocket for the 20%. This should be made illegal, government. Patients should not be bound by the contract when the billing amount is not equal to the (I would say the lowest or everage) market price.
E28 Source (15 days ago)
Fake your death, start a new name
Lazarus Lazar (15 days ago)
EVIL (Amazing American Greed) putting American in Debts, and want them to stay there!!!, Let us burn all Debts on Holy Altar of God!!!!! include students loan!!!) and medical bills!!! Only USA Citizens are bankrupt due to medical bills (about 1,000,000 Americans per year)
Lazarus Lazar (15 days ago)
EVIL (Amazing American Greed) putting American in Debts, and want them to stay there!!!, Let us burn all Debts on Holy Altar of God!!!!! include students loan!!!) and medical bills!!! Only USA Citizens are bankrupt due to medical bills (about 1,000,000 Americans per year)
Chaika Gaz (15 days ago)
Just let the baby die its cheaper to remake a baby basically free
Lazarus Lazar (15 days ago)
EVIL (Amazing American Greed) putting American in Debts, and want them to stay there!!!, Let us burn all Debts on Holy Altar of God!!!!! include students loan!!!) and medical bills!!! Only USA Citizens are bankrupt due to medical bills (about 1,000,000 Americans per year)
pangmeister (15 days ago)
Drug price, I can understand. Emergency room price, I don't understand
Lazarus Lazar (15 days ago)
EVIL (Amazing American Greed) putting American in Debts, and want them to stay there!!!, Let us burn all Debts on Holy Altar of God!!!!! include students loan!!!) and medical bills!!! Only USA Citizens are bankrupt due to medical bills (about 1,000,000 Americans per year)
TobyDK91 (16 days ago)
Dear Muricans you are often busy mocking the Scandinavian tax pressure. So i did the math, i'm Danish an i have a bang on average income of 48,000 USD before tax a year. I pay 39% in tax and taking in to considering tax free income, i payed 13,500 USD in taxes last year. That means that if i work for 50 years i will have payed 675,000 million USD dollars to the state. And as you can see from the link at the bottom, Danish healthcare only takes up about 16% of the total public budget., which means i pay about 2200 USD for healthcare each year or 110,000 for 50 years of work. The keen i will now spot that there is no 7 figure number to be seen anywhere and i can now enjoy; all encompassing healthcare, with no bills i have to read, no calls i have to make to insurance companies, no possible rejections of coverage and NO WORRIES. Even if it turns out you will never need the healthcare your money is still not a socialist handout, its a good investment! A healthy population is good for the economy as it strengthens the workforce that companies can hire from which in turn benefit the country and you! https://www.dst.dk/da/statistik/nyt/NytHtml?cid=20049
Lazarus Lazar (15 days ago)
EVIL (Amazing American Greed) putting American in Debts, and want them to stay there!!!, Let us burn all Debts on Holy Altar of God!!!!! include students loan!!!) and medical bills!!! Only USA Citizens are bankrupt due to medical bills (about 1,000,000 Americans per year)
Marte (17 days ago)
That's what happens when you use $4 trillion for military, while the "free healthcare" gets $280 billion out of the $3.8 trillion healthcare system. Just cut the military budget by 70% (which will still be the most in the world) and that will give you free insurance for all Americans. Also cut 100% of the religious funding and direct the money to medical research and science... that way the research will save people, and lack of religious crap will also save people xD
Ben Franklin (17 days ago)
The only reason is filthy business practices jacking up prices, blackmailing, monopoly, coercion. Look at Japan's medical system. They force insurance to be non-profit. Then they tightly regulate pricing of everything. Open market is great for determining the value of many goods, but not on the value of human lives.
박지현 (17 days ago)
Here in South Korea we have a great healthcare system too
Akash7713 (17 days ago)
i have a question. what happens when a person dies without paying his medical bills?
Jackie B (2 days ago)
it goes to the kids
Nicholas Wheeler (17 days ago)
Socialism will make it much worse
Jordan Louise (17 days ago)
This week I went to my 3rd surgeons consult and after a year of Phiseo they have decided to reconstruct my shoulder. I have had the surgery once before and it was $15,000 which was done in New Zealand. The average cost in the US is $50,000 (as per google) I now live in Australia and the surgeon didn’t even talk about prices. Why not? Because I have not and will not pay a single cent to have this operation done. The same way I didn’t pay a single cent in New Zealand last time. I do not have health insurance, I have a government system that looks after its citizens. As a New Zealand citizen I automatically receive residency in Australia which gives me access to Medicare.
Imagine having to pay for healthcare This post was made by the Canadians
Andrew Lewis (18 days ago)
Soulition: move to Canada free healthcare 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦
David2278 (18 days ago)
1:30 woah woah woah woah. You did not list the government there which is the single biggest purchaser of healthcare in america. The effect that the government has on supply and demand cannot be overlooked.
lindsey (18 days ago)
one day, i’m going to move to canada. this country is falling apart.
fij 01i (19 days ago)
This world is money game. When you're old and no money that's game over , checkmate bro.
Mindy (19 days ago)
One third of my income last year was spent on medical bills. That didn't cover all my medical bills either.
Ulti (19 days ago)
So basically i ever feel like something is wrong ill just roll over and die meh seems legit
Moki 02 (19 days ago)
I'm so glad I live in Germany. When u are an employee u have to pay 356€ Max to a statutory health insurance the other half pays the employer and this insurance covers everything that is necessary. I don't know everything this covers but u can get a surgery and don't worry about the cost bc the insurance gets money from the government and some from the citizens. Like 30% are in a private insurance that is more complicated but I think the normal one is better bc the money u pay is also used to help others and the normal insurance companies are non profits the privates are like the ones in the us I think u get a bill from the hospital and u have to pay it "first" and wait till it is covered by the private insurance
vladimir mikhailov (19 days ago)
Move to Russia, the healthcare is mostly free even if you came from U.S.... It is true, and not propaganda
Tlot Pwist (20 days ago)
Keep your population fat, sick and ignorant so they dont rebel while you steal them is your answer
opotomax gyu (20 days ago)
Good ol' Immanuel Kant said people should not be regarded as a means to an end, but as ends in themselves. One Ayn Rand lady declared him the devil. And one Paul Ryan and his buddies idolize her. Só it makes sense.
Real Ganstas (20 days ago)
This is excessive if I was her I would take him to Canada where health care is free
KPaladin (20 days ago)
Real Ganstas i live in canada, and from what i’ve heard, healthcare is only free here for canadian citizens and permanent residents. but i do believe that even then, healthcare is subsidized for non-citizens; so it would be in a way cheaper for an American to come up here and receive healthcare.
Moza (21 days ago)
Thank god I live in a country where health care is completely free! I personally think that how it always should be..
Lore McMuffin (21 days ago)
Canada is cheap af lol
Charlie Dallachie (21 days ago)
That’s like the cost of a ticket to the moon or a huge house plus retirement. So ashamed with our country, a lot of it is 10x inflated just for profit alone. A broken leg, deep cut maybe $100-200 , maybe $500 most if you consider the doctor x rays and hourly rates of the nurses.......but no it’s in the thousands. A night or two in the ER can be $20,000 that’s more than a celebrity hotel penthouse per night. There’s nothing done to you unless you got a cyborg transformation or full organ transplant to justify that high of cost. Just absurd. Pure greed.
David Sharp (22 days ago)
Move to Canada
Dmitriy Rybathek (22 days ago)
Americans you all are guilty in the collapse of the Soviet Union where there was free medical care, free higher education, safety on the streets. You want socialism? Maybe you fought the wrong enemy for 70 years? The enemy of all men is CAPITALISM.
Sniper 2000 (22 days ago)
You people deserve it when UHC was proposed to you all you said no to it now you all are crying.
Sniper 2000 (22 days ago)
If apple built hospitals.
Kitty Fister (22 days ago)
Medical bills are so expensive because because healthcare is a business. Businesses have to profit. Healthcare shouldn't be a business. It's a human right. You should walk in, receive the care you need to be healthy, and walk out. You pay your taxes; you have healthcare. If we have money to contract new fighter jets costing over $100 million a pop, we have money to insure the people who fund this country. What could we get done if we didn't have to worry about health insurance and medical bills? Look at the untapped productivity!
Ronisexy 123 (22 days ago)
Damn republicans and corporate democrats..thats why.
Chris M (22 days ago)
I went to the ER the other day. Just to use the ER room itself was $18,000. That's not including the Doctor bill as well as other stuff (ie radiologist, pathology, etc. etc.). As for medications, my seizure medicine is 40,000 a year. Thankfully I have insurance. I get free medical coverage for the rest of this year, since I met my "out of pocket" already ($5000).
Kris Lillies (23 days ago)
Thank goodness Im Canadian
Rose Vampire (23 days ago)
Tyler Mears (23 days ago)
It’s also expensive because a patient has a whole staff of people taking care of them. While they are in bed someone cleans, cooks, prepares their medications. Then there are physical, occupational, and speech therapist that work to rehab the patient. The list also includes, CNAs who shower them, social workers, doctors, respiratory therapists, laboratory technologists, phlebotomists, etc. All of these people work to help each patient. All have to be paid.
amat solehin (23 days ago)
I just had laparoscopic cholecystectomy in malaysia. If I'm not a blood donors i had to pay 186 usd, I'm a blood donors so i pay nothing.
amat solehin (21 days ago)
+Eryu Zenn saya derma kat hospital, most hospital besar ade tmpat derma darah
Eryu Zenn (21 days ago)
+amat solehin kat mana derma? Nak join sekali 😇
amat solehin (21 days ago)
+Eryu Zenn bergantung berapa kali dah derma, aku dah 18 kali derma, dapatlah duduk wad 2 ,selesa sikit.
Eryu Zenn (22 days ago)
Hold up! Kalau jadi ahli penyumbang darah, medication + rawatan semua free???
Messi Alonso (23 days ago)
One day i had a small accident and i had no choice but to go to the ER. Ended up paying 300 just for one PILL!!!
Jahnaye (23 days ago)
This is one of the reasons why I want to leave America! And if Trump wins again in 2020 I don't know what I'll do:( I graduate college next year and since I have loans I probably won't be able to leave 😭
Eryu Zenn (22 days ago)
How much student debt do you own tho I'm not American so idk and genuinely interested
Jairo Agudelo (23 days ago)
Medicare for all!!
Constitutional Conservative (23 days ago)
Your paying for the best quality healthcare. The US has the quickest waiting time while more socialized medicine countries have longer waiting periods and rationing. That being said we can lower the cost of healthcare 1) Better malpractice laws 2) Free-trade and drug re-importation 3) De regulate the healthcare industry particularly the FDA 4) Prescribe more medicinal marijuana and less pills (Xanax, Opioids, Adderall Ambien, Zoloft, and Vicodin)
Paul Cheek (23 days ago)
GREED Canada is so much better
Luís Moreno (24 days ago)
Let me guess, no free healthcare?
Adriana G Flores (24 days ago)
I got a $2.500 bill from the hospital when I took my daughter for a cut on her lower lip . I thought she would need stitches because there was literally a hole into her mouth that you could stick your finger through. The Dr said she didn’t need stitches and it would heal itself. We were there for 2 hours and she didn’t even get a bandaid . So yeah they are definitely stuffing their pockets.
Ruzain rafie (24 days ago)
Visiting america 3 Month ago, i was in california when i broke my arm, my friend take me to the hospital to have my arm fixed. I was shocked when i see the bill for my broken arm, it's $1500 for broken arm, in my 3rd world country where i live, you can get a hearth transplant with that price, and fixing a broken arm will only cost you $65 or less. What the hell america. (sorry for bad english brother)
Ristina Durivage (6 days ago)
Ruzain rafie my daughter broke her arm and had to have pins put in. The bill alone was 1800, we have to pay 600 USD just for putting her under, pining it and X-raying it to make sure it’s back in place. Then there’s the Emergency room visit which we pay $150 then per visit for the specialist is $45 each visit. That’s out of pocket. It happened recently so we are still getting bills. We pay $250 out of my husbands paycheck twice a month for this insurance. It’s crazy! It’s going to break us bc I am unemployed bc I am a full time college student.