By Mimi Signor, R.N.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Letters, Aug. 26, 2014
Regarding “Hospitals team up with banks to get patients to pay” followed by “Charity care cut for some who declined coverage” (Aug. 24) exemplifies Missouri’s hospitals’ lean and mean business model. The first article talks about ways to make patients pay for acute care already administered. The second talks about demanding payments prior to non-urgent care.
Missouri hospitals believe mandatory commercial insurance will keep them in the black. However, the majority of people who face bankruptcy due to medical costs are those who have insurance. Commercial insurance companies enforce co-pays, deductibles and other high out-of-pocket costs as a disincentive to seeking care. Insurers often deny payment for care in advance or after care has been provided.
We have the ability to cure, but have lost the capacity to care. Rather than bullying the sick into commercial insurance they cannot afford to buy or use, Missouri hospitals should support passage of HR 676, “Improved Medicare for All,” the most fiscally conservative and fair way to provide better health care to more people. Missouri hospitals would receive guaranteed payment from the single payer, Medicare, for care provided. Missourians would get medical care without fear of bankruptcy, and hospitals would not need to dun patients through collection agencies.
Mimi Signor resides in University City.