Cat Bite, hospital bill $46,512

In American health care money comes first.

“The rabies immune globulin is a complex product, made from blood plasma donated by volunteers who have been immunized against rabies. Three manufacturers make the product, and there are no shortages right now, the Food and Drug Administration says. Currently, the average wholesale acquisition price — the amount paid by wholesalers that then mark it up when they sell it to distributors or hospitals — is $361.26 per milliliter, according to Richard Evans, a drug industry analyst at SSR Health, part of the boutique investment firm SSR LLC. “

“Using that average, the cost for the 12-milliliter dose Parker received would have been $4,335.”

Medicynical note:  Learning the cost of a service in a hospital is like an adventure in unexplored territory. The best you can do is fumble around and keep asking. More often then not, you will get an estimate which is wildly inaccurate and excessive.

Hospitals seem to have an infinite number of prices for the same service. The most expensive of which is that charged those least able to pay, i.e. the uninsured individual.  In this case the pricing for the medication (rabies immune globulin) was several multiples of the actual cost.  This was added on to ER fees which I presume included the physicians fee and the facility fee.  The insurer, in this case did not have a contract with the facility and was charged significantly more than other insurers but much less than the price quoted originally.

But that of course is the nature of health care in the U.S.  The system is not designed to provide value or even excellent healthcare, but rather to maximize revenue.  In private for-profit companies (as well as most “non-profits” ) the fiduciary responsibility of the company’s management is to maximize revenue and provide profit for stockholders or sponsoring organizations.  As a result we have the most expensive health care in the world with the highest cost/capita, the most bankruptcies from health care costs, and the most uninsured citizens (in an industrialized country).


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