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$3,278 ER Visit for Coughing Fits and Fever Amid Covid-19 Pandemic Highlights Failure of For-Profit System

A little off-topic, but this headline reminds me of a loud, sorta strange-sounding coughing fit I overheard from the house across the street this afternoon. Oh dear…

The block where I live isn’t like the anonymous (hideous) housing I took for granted as a youngster, in Southern California (behind the Orange Curtain). In my Richmond Annex neighborhood, we’ve usually held July 4th block-party cookouts and such to get acquainted. And we’ve all lived here for years. So there’s someone in particular I’m fervently wishing well tonight.

No ambulances on my block yet, that I’ve seen.

I love how UNH calls it “cost share for that visit.” We share. They cost.


Ah Yes… the good old "coding error’ routine.

It seems every damn doctor visit I’ve had over the past 10 years has resulted in a “coding error” charge that triggers the hellish phone nightmare of trying to find the one single live person on earth that knows what they are doing with respect to the ridiculous insurance billing system.

The blood boiling calls typically devolve into an Abbot & Costello like skit whereby the insurance company tells you your visit was a code “blah-blah” and to call the doctor - and the doctor tells you that the code “blah-blah” should be fully covered by your insurance and to call back the insurance company.

After several more futile iterations of the aforementioned circle-jerk routine, that’s when you realize your pressing the phone painfully hard against your ear, all you can see is red, and the voice on the other end of the phone has morphed into the adult Charlie Brown characters “wah-woh-waah-waah-woh” gibberish.

The calls always end the same. You scream into the phone, “Do any of you f-ing idiots in the entire healthcare system know what you are doing??” - CLICK.

**from now on I’ll just call my local news team:)

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“The brother of one person I work with got hit by an uninsured motorist while taking a morning walk—he owes $500,000 in medical bills and his insurance is only covering $100,000.”

What is he supposed to do now? That is SO overwhelming, I’m not sure WHAT I would do. I’d be done, over, kaput, lights out. Suicide by .40 caliber pistol in the hotel lobby at high noon.

“The takeaway here is both the provider as well as insurance company are still on a learning curve with respect to this virus and how to bill and pay for it.”

No, the takeaway here is both the provider as well as insurance company are still on a learning curve with respect to this virus and how to upcode and double-code for it.

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Shortly after the lockdown orders I had a doctor appointment–nothing COVID-related, they did the same exact thing as they did three years before, and yet the bill they sent me was more than 4 times the amount as the previous one.

Do people think hospitals and doctors don’t price gouge? Going to a hospital is like playing three-card Monte with your entire life savings.

And to top it off, I need “elective surgery”, which they aren’t doing now. Apparently, the hospital underestimated how much of a surgery backlog it would have and they have to prioritize cases. So a couple weeks after the doctor visit, the doctor himself called me and said they needed to see me again in 6 months before they would schedule surgery–and they’re going to do the exact same thing they did in March.

So what cost me a couple hundred dollars a few years ago is going to cost me about $1000 this time.


250,000,000 (that’s million) in the streets and flooding the offices and buildings of DC and the Pentagon, and staying there until the current rabble in office and rank are removed or retired, and honest people replace them, willing to work hard to rectify the chaos, waste, theft and other mafia madness that has engulfed DC. Following Jefferson’s lead would be excellent:

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

                                               Thomas Jefferson


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I recall when Clinton and Gore went on a government regulation destruction spree. We need to do the same now, but dig deeper. Eliminate all loop holes and renegotiate affected laws and regulations. We are bogged down with lawyers sorting out who gets what, pays what, or gets away with stuff.
If trump goes down the rabbit hole a little further we may see a real rebellion, or at least we SHOULD see one.

Don’t quite understand. If GATS is part of the WTO framework, how does the UK’s National Health Service fit in? Not to mention the Health Services of virtually everywhere else outside the USA?

To answer your questions, because I am exhaused right now, can I point you to a bunch of papers in a web directory that explain this better than I ever could ~http://policyspace.xyz/external Also, make sure you read the Note from the WTO Secretariat on Healthcare published in the fall of 1998 with the document number T/C/W/50 .doc before you do that you should thoroughly understand the GATS “governmental authority exclusion” which is Article I:3 b+c of the GATS. You should know that the UK government prtends that the NHS qualifies for this exclusion but it doesnt, as it clerly is disqualifed from getting it because the UK also sells health insurance . So it fails the two part test. So the UK’s healthcare is a “public optiuon” with all that implies to its sustainability over time. While the UK was in the EU it likely had some protection but now having left the EU, well. I guess we will see. But real experts I have spoken with agree with me, they are no longer protected. I mean, its obvious. How they managed to suppress any discussion of this, well, whatever it was it was effective. So my guess is this is eventually going to come out. Why can Canada keep its healthcare and the UK’s is doomed? It should be obvious, Canada does not allow commercial health insurance for the market their Medicare serves to be sold at all. Rich people that want out of the system have to leave the country. (Most dont, Candians, even rich Canadians realize why this is this way) If you want to see the best resource on this go to policyalternatives.ca under trade and investment research project. But I actually think that despite being disorganized and ranting too much that at this point my web site has more on this particular issue than anybody. I just have to better organize it, I have links to every single resource that I know of on this somewhere on there. To understand whats going on you have to understand a lot of separate issues, you also have to understand grandfathering, you have to understand how the WTO was created as sort of a reprivatization agreement to nullify things like the new Deal and Great Society and also to gradually end the European social welface state just as jobs were vanishing, which nobody in any country would ever vote for… You have to understand that GATS is at its core a deal to lower wages to some lowest common denominator and push labor standards of all kinds down. You have to understand how its basically a sort of Empire Strikes Back that is in response to the gains of the last century, its goal is to roll those gains back. By stealth. browse my site, looking at the stuff via the keywords on the left. Look at Democracy Deficit, necessity, trade restrictiveness, subsidies, etc. All these sound boring but they are where the understanding of the whole thing will be found. Go to Youtube and watch the videos on GATS and notice how most of them are from one specific country in South Asia… Read up on the Uruguay Round and how GATT turned into GATS and the alleged compromise in Punta Del Este Unruguay September 15-20 1986 . Look at the great many versions of what happened over those years and how different they are.

Sounds to me as though you should produce an article for something like ‘Common Dreams’. What you are saying is dynamite - don’t know about the USA but if it got exposure in the UK - in fact all over Europe! - I reckon there would be riots…

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Cant, all those deregulations lock in. Corporations have to have certainty now. So now they have trade and investment agreements. Otherwise people could just vote whatever they wanted, defeating the whole purpose of these ageements.

Basically, youre talking about economic things, I can tell. Governments domain is the political, not the economic.

For economic issues between countries and corporations involving their markets, you need to go to the rules based trading system and global economic governance organizations. But I am afriaid even if you are a “civil society organization” you have no standing. basically you dont have a voice, you don’t exist.

“Eliminate all loop holes and renegotiate affected laws and regulations. We are bogged down with lawyers sorting out who gets what, pays what, or gets away with stuff. If trump goes down the rabbit hole a little further we may see a real rebellion, or at least we SHOULD see one”.

Thats not really possible anymore, things have changed a lot. They anticipated people having nees and basically they put most of thise kinds of changes under the jurisdiction of these global economic governance organizations. And they arent representaive government. Also, they are mostly based in Europe - some are in Washington but people cant exactly walk in and request some change because people need to go to their governments and get a majority of their governments to vote for something say in the WTO, there are I think 163 members. We, the US get one vote and its always for deregulation, As long as what you want is deregulation, you dont even have to do anything, if you wait long enough you’ll probably get it. Just like Henry Ford said you could have any color car you want as long as its black.

This is what they call the Washington Consensus.

I’m afraid you’re 25 years too late.

I am just a natural person, part of a market, I have no standing.

See the two discussions on standing here (warning its long)


The GATS is public and the Note from 1998 is hardly news anymore. What I told you is true and easy to verify. Here is a short course from UNCTAD (part of the UN) on dispute settlement. Article 1:3 is very near the beginning.

As you’ll see the scope of the GATS is very broad. Governments are given lattitude to various “measures”, just as before, as long as they are consistent with the GATS.


Generally that means deregulation. The concept of “progressive liberalization” means always deregulation, never re-regulation. The scope is “all measures of general application” “affecting trade in services”. at “all levels of government” (Federal, state, local and various quasi government bodies. Also, the term measure can mean laws, or policies or changes of any kind. Perhaps even political parties if they are quasi governmental bodies are limited in what they can do to only be things that support the GATS, that would explain a lot, huh?

Read the short pamphlet linked above.

If nothing else, perhaps he’ll meet a large, hungry, python!

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