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Rant Time (Medical Expenditures)

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    Rant Time (Medical Expenditures)

    Hi, everyone. Rick Canaan - website designer and principle adviser - here. With, I hope, an idea that some might find interesting. A 'Rant' column for our forums. It will be a column, for which from time to time, I will post various articles. (In which members can post articles too, if they wish!) I thought it might be a topic to help get discussions started, and therefore be a way to maybe attract more members, and not least of all, give folks a venue in which they can let off steam on a subject of particular interest to them.

    These columns will be about stuff that really bug us in our societies. Politics, laws that seem senseless, advertising (and truth in it for example), corporate habits and so on. (Just keep religion out of it - if you please! That's a subject which draws only argument, seldom lucid discussion!)

    So here we go. With all of the above said, I'll start us off!

    Medical Expenditures

    A few weeks ago, I came into possession of a fairly complete set of Adam-12 episodes.

    It was one of my favorite TV series when I was a kid.

    Since beginning to watch it, quite a few thing started sticking out to me. One in particular most of all. The amount of money that was being spent on ambulances as opposed to how much is being spent on them now. And let me tell you, the differences in what were then and what is now, will be enough to make you flat-out drop your jaw (if it doesn't make you curse in outright indignation and anger)!

    In the United States, the cost of health care has risen to such astronomical levels, that many are forced to go without it.

    "More Americans gain healthcare, but many can't afford to use it"

    From ABC News:

    "MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Almost 20 percent of Americans, or more than 40 million adults, can't afford or access needed health care, according to a new U.S. government report released Monday."

    Then, from PBS in an article on the healthcare crisis:

    "About 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. This means that nearly one-third of Americans face each day without the security of knowing that, if and when they need it, medical care is available to them and their families."

    There are literally hundreds of these articles that popped in my google search on the healthcare crisis in America. What has happened to this country?

    Well, here's maybe a clue:

    In the 1970's, ambulances looked like this:

    The first of these two ambulances was the typical example of the 'high-end' ambulance that ran the street back in the 1970s. It was a station wagon with just enough lights and a (single) siren to alert traffic that it needed to get through. Cost? Maybe about $12,000 - which includes the paint job and the interior conversion.

    The second picture is of one of the more specialized ambulances available in the era. Cost? Maybe about $20,000.

    Then there is this example:

    Cost? Probably about $60,000. But this model would have been unique. It would have been one of very few, commissioned to serve a very specific need - such as for providing for emergency on-site triage in instances of large-scale disasters and the like.

    Now, we come to present day. Get yourself ready, because you aren't going to like what you see.

    I did a pretty comprehensive Google search on the estimated cost of one of these bad boys. What's worse, is the above serves as the example of most ambulances that are in service today!

    Here's the skinny:
    Chassis (which we will note is a truck and not a van body): $82,000
    Paint job: $32,000
    Conversion: $166,000

    Overall price tag - a whopping 280,000 dollars! This ambulance costs so much, that many small municipalities have to float bonds in order to be able to purchase them!

    Are you with me on this? That's over a quarter of a million dollars for just an ambulance!

    Here's an interesting article. Read the full article here. I grabbed some excerpts from it.

    "...she received a bill for the 15-minute trip: $1,772.42."

    "Thirty years ago ambulance rides were generally provided free of charge, underwritten by taxpayers as a municipal service or provided by volunteers. Today, like the rest of the health care system in the United States, most ambulance services operate as businesses and contribute to America’s escalating medical bills."

    There were hundreds of such articles that came up on my search.

    We Americans have to wonder why healthcare isn't affordable. Well, this is one of the reasons why. People who make ambulances that come with over quarter of a million-dollar price tags.

    Does it make you angry? Is it enough to make you feel outraged? I guarantee you it is for me. I feel a sense of disgust so deep every time I see one of these bloated atrocities on our roads, that I want to pull over to the side of the road and throw up.

    America is in the greatest healthcare crisis in its history. Yet, these hospitals and ambulance companies can go out and spend this kind of money on ambulances. And charge whatever they want for the ride, in their shamefully over-priced vehicle.
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