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March 21, 2013

Healthcare exposé shocking, sick

We always find it interesting to ponder all the different ways in which various issues are brought to our attention.

 Many, such as the village’s tinkering with a seeming plethora of laws or the county’s dilemma concerning the finances of Otsego Manor, come to us as a result of reading our local papers. Others, such as the Redskins issue, often arrive via the telephone. Some issues, such as the 2013-14 school budget, come to our attention because of meeting we choose to attend.

Then there are always those issues that pop up when we least expect them. A case in point would be the suggestion that we read an article on the cost of health care which appeared in Time magazine in February.

We recently held a meeting of the Literary Discussion Group at our house to discuss the book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” by Tracy Kidder. It is, we think, a fascinating story of one man’s battle against disease worldwide. But interestingly enough, it seemed that the conversation about the book continually slipped into a conversation about local health care as experienced by those in attendance. This in turn lead to comments about the cost of health care, which finally ended with the suggestion that we should all read the article.

So we did. We found it stunning.

Written by Steven Brill, the article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” explains, in what we found to be rather grim detail, why the cost of medicine seems so very, very high.

According to the article “When you look behind the bills that ... patients receive, you see nothing rational — no rhyme or reason — about the costs they faced in a marketplace they enter through no choice of their own. The only constant is the sticker shock for the patients who are asked to pay.”

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