Testing can be very, very expensive…is that a good thing to help keep it capped? Fewer test, fewer infections.

It’s bad enough to have a healthcare industry that is out of reach for millions but testing during a pandemic ought to be considered a public good.

The gist of the article.

“The emergency room charged Mr. Harvey $199 in cash. Ms. LeBlanc, who paid with insurance, was charged $6,408.

“I assumed, like an idiot, it would be cheaper to use my insurance than pay cash right there,” Ms. LeBlanc said. “This is 32 times the cost of what my friend paid for the exact same thing.”

Ms. LeBlanc’s health insurer negotiated the total bill down to $1,128. The plan said she was responsible for $928 of that.

During the pandemic, there has been wide variation between what providers bill for the same basic diagnostic test, with some charging $27, others $2,315. It turns out there is also significant variation in how much a test can cost two patients at the same location.“

This is one way to fulfill the strategy that if we don’t know who is contagious the stats will make us, and Trump, look better.

While we are at it, let’s stop taking blood pressure readings at exams and hypertension will disappear. The method? Charge $500 per reading.

You can’t make this stuff up. And we lament the infection, hospitalization and death rates in the US.

7 thoughts on “Testing can be very, very expensive…is that a good thing to help keep it capped? Fewer test, fewer infections.

  1. A Public good?

    The CDC tried to provide testing as a public good and blew it. The private sector responded and came up with a superior product in record time, but for profit.

    So, do you want cheap tests that don’t work or tests that actually tell you something? And keep in mind that the FDA’s approval process raises the cost to produce a test by at least tenfold.

    The great disparity in test costs is an artifact of our regulatory process for health care insurance. In effect is is cost shifting from people whose tests are paid for by individuals and Medicaid to those who are privately insured. Meddling in the marketplace always has adverse, unintended consequences.


    1. The problem with the CDC tests was discovered Feb 8. It was a bad reagent issue. Commercial labs were already ramping up or planning tests since the RNA code came from China on January 15.

      We knew already that testing was working well in other countries.

      So what was the administration doing once it realized the pandemic was at least worthy of attention and we had a problem.

      Answer: pretty much nothing for another 6 weeks or so. FOX was still spewing lies about just a common flu or cold or a stubbed toe. Trump was telling us it was all under control. Another obvious, total lie since the testing was still not ready.

      The administration failed Americans in the first real crisis of its tenure.

      Also, the

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Inadvertent post and premature interjection.

        Also, the prices are not a large disparity. It was insane. $200 v $6000?

        What good is a beautiful test that works if few can afford it?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you know of anyone who has not gotten a test because they couldn’t afford it?

          Commercial labs were looking into testing as soon as the RNA sequence was obtained, but they were still prohibited from doing anything until Trump overruled the FDA at the end of February .

          But nothing happens in a vacuum. Here is a timeline of what Trump had to deal with at the same time as the pandemic was starting.



          1. “ The fact that COVID-19’s U.S. victims count in the tens of thousands and not millions — heartbreaking as those deaths are — confirms just how much the president’s efforts are succeeding.”

            Just about 3,000,000 cases, 133,000 dead, 55,000+ new cases a day, 27th in testing per capita, states re-closing…

            Perhaps the administration should have bought the German tests.

            The opinion is old, dated and assumes that the president can’t chew bubble gum and walk.

            His participation in the impeachment was zero. He had lots of lawyers doing everything.

            Now if he shut off FOX, tweeted less, played golf less he would have had so much time leftover he could have come up with his promised replacement to ACA. Or had Azar confirm our preparedness. Or just do his friggin’ job.

            But he’ll have plenty of time soon.

            Liked by 1 person

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