Allied Group Benefit Solutions

Bitter Pill: Yesterday and Today

February 2013, Time Magazine published the article, “Bitter Pill – Why Medical Bills are Killing Us,”  written by Steven Brill. In this article, Brill made the point that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) missed the mark by focusing on reform of the insurance side of health care while ignoring the cost issue that is the true driver of health care access.

Shortly after the article was published, Brill became seriously ill and got a front row seat on how our new healthcare system worked. “A patient in the American healthcare system has very little leverage, has very little knowledge, has very little power,” Brill said.

Like most people, once his deductible and out-of-pocket maximum was met he was indifferent to all the rest of the costs because he was paying zero.

According to Brill, the ACA will not work the way it is intended because nothing has been done to regulate the out of sight pricing for drugs, medical devices and hospital bills. The insurance company is just as much the victim as their insureds; they are forced to pay the uncontrolled, exorbitant prices and high profits that are generated by nonprofit hospitals, drug companies and medical devise makers.

Brill has expanded on the article mentioned above by writing a book titled, America’s Bitter Pill, which is how the political fights and lobbying by the medical and pharmaceutical industry, not the insurance industry, has made it difficult to pass any healthcare overhaul. While the ACA has regulated the insurance industry, it still has not addressed the uncontrolled pricing by the hospitals and the drug and medical device manufacturers.

For additional information, check out the recent NPR article: ‘America’s Bitter Pill’ Makes Case For Why Health Care Law ‘Won’t Work’ or listen to an excerpt from Bitter Pill.