I Was Worth Every Penny!

Last time I posted a receipt from my birth in 1968. The following is an excerpt from my planned book,Your Money AND Your Life: American Healthcareonomics.

“I was born on Saturday, October 12, 1968, at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. When the nurse went out to tell my father that he had a son, she found him glued to the television. It was halftime of the Texas/OU game and the Longhorns were losing. Since fathers at that time weren’t allowed in the birthing area, he stayed in the waiting room and got to see Texas’ famous wishbone offense lead them to a 26-20 victory, with only 39 seconds left in the game.

Even though mine was an uncomplicated birth, my mother and I were kept in the hospital for the next five days. They wouldn’t let Dad in to the nursery, or even hold me until the next day, but smoking was allowed throughout most areas of the hospital. Childbirth has changed a lot since then.

The biggest difference though has to be the price. In 1968, the receipt for my stay had twenty itemized charges that included $50 for the delivery, $13 a day for the nursery, and $31 a day for the hospital room. The total bill for my mother and I to be hospitalized for six days was $406.80, almost all of which was covered by health insurance. With a leftover balance of 10 dollars and 75 cents, my parents always said I was worth every penny.

By 2010 the price of having a baby had soared; childbirthconnection.org states that back then the average charge for a normal delivery was $10,166. Even more incredibly, a July 2013 CNN article reported that the price had increased to $18,329 in just three years. Parents who welcomed a new addition in 2010 spent 2,400 percent more on a hospital birth compared to mine, while the more recent CNN figure had them facing a whopping 4,500 percent increase. If only my retirement plan could perform like this. 

Yet inflation alone can’t even begin to account for this change. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s inflation calculator, the $406.80 my parents paid in 1968 would equal $2,730.07 in today’s dollars; an increase of only 571 percent. Over the span of the last few decades, something else has been behind the skyrocketing costs – or charges – of healthcare.”

Do you know what has caused these prices to skyrocket? I’ll give you a hint: It isn’t smokers, the obese, or the elderly. It isn’t big Pharmaceutical companies, or malpractice premiums, or paying for the uninsured.

It’s something else entirely that has to be discussed in a separate post. Until tomorrow.

Remember, It’s not the COSTS of healthcare that are outrageous…it’s the CHARGES.

Physician. Health Insurance Agent. Author. Health care humorist. Medical satirist. Disruptor. At your service. My name is Kevin Wacasey, and I’ve been practicing medicine since 1994. When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath to do no harm to my patients. To me, that includes financial harm. But since health insurance took over health care over 40 years ago, health care prices have skyrocketed. And despite what we’re told by the media every day, it isn’t the costs of health care that are outrageous; it’s the charges. So if you’ve ever wondered why we spend so much on health insurance and health care, then come along and join me as I explore the crazy world of Healthcareonomics. Health care doesn’t have to be expensive. Let me show you how. For speaking opportunities and to pass along your questions/comments, please email me at drw@healthcareonomics.com.

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