I recently watched a special on TV about hospitals and their aggressive debt collection tactics. It was unbelievable - hospitals were trying to collect on 20 - 30 year old debts for dead people by obtaining leans and using corrupt lawyers, politicians, and lobbyists to make it so they can basically get away with theft from our uninsured and under-insured - which is now over 50% of americans.
Hospitals were aggressively using body attachments where they basically have someone arrested for an overdue bill. This is the most aggressive form of collection tactics and harassment. Most collection agencies refuse to resort to these tactics. It is debtors prison revisited - debtors prison was made illegal in the U.S. in the 19th century. It is basically a method of extreme harassment to coerce payment from the debtor. Typically it results in lost wages for the debtor, extreme hardship as many have children, etc...
Many of these hospitals have also resorted to zombie debt collecting - trying to collect on debts that are un-collectable (debtor passed away, over 10-30 years old and non-enforcable, etc...) Several hospitals have been using these tactics to threaten and coerce surviving spouses into taking on old debt. Some have even been caught trying to collect on debts expunged in bankruptcy.
The worst part is how these hospitals and doctors determine what the actual amount of the debt is. Medicare and insurance have set prices that they must agree to. But the uninsured are charged a lot more - a whole lot more. At Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte NC the uninsured are charged many times over what the insured are assessed - 300 - 400% more and even more. With a little research it was found that this hospital, like many others, was undoubtedly taking advantage of the uninsured. If a patient tries to see how the bill came to be - itemized - it is almost in foreign code. They don't want you to see the $100 toilet paper, 1000% markup on medicines and supplies, etc... It is a license to literally steal from the uninsured - they can make up whatever numbers they want for charges and collect very aggressively on them. This needs to be changed - these hospitals and doctors need to be policed. It used to be that the oath a doctor had to take to become a doctor was to basically help people - it has even been changed to favor the doctor and his earnings.
The hospitals say that they are having a hard time covering costs and such - right, thats why the CEO and other board members make millions of dollars for little work. The problem we have here is far greater than we can see. The healthcare industry is very unstable, prices are soaring, medicare and insurance are also increasing at rates that are causing coverages to be lowered or even dropped all together. What the U.S. needs is for the government to take back control. Limit doctor pay, hospital charges, billing practices, etc... Increase taxes on the wealthy - stop giving them so many tax breaks and shelters. The average american (low to middle class) pays around 30 - 35% in taxes, while the affluent pay only 1% or less on average. Hospitals and doctors are playing a game of legalized theft - enough is enough. Lets take back our health care system and return it to what it once was and should be - to provide low cost, fair healthcare regardless of race, financial background, etc...
David Maillie holds numerous patents including his recently awarded patent for headlight repair, cleaner and restorer. He can be reached at M.D. Wholesale: