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The Doctor Will See Your Credit Score Now 464

mytrip writes to mention that the same people who invented credit scores are working to create a similar system for hospitals and other health care providers. "The project, dubbed "MedFICO" in some early press reports, will aid hospitals in assessing a patient's ability to pay their medical bills. But privacy advocates are worried that the notorious errors that have caused frequent criticism of the credit system will also cause trouble with any attempt to create a health-related risk score. They also fear that a low score might impact the quality of the health care that patients receive."
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The Doctor Will See Your Credit Score Now

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  • by epee1221 ( 873140 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:36AM (#22105594)
    I'm kinda liking the idea of scores based on how likely all insurance companies (auto, medical, etc.) are to pay.
  • Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:36AM (#22105596)

    that the same people who invented credit scores are working to create a similar system for hospitals [CC] [MD] and other health care providers.
    Wow. So I guess these "people" don't feel they have enough power to ruin people's lives?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:37AM (#22105604)
    I would agree to having my ability to pay shown to a doctor if a doctor is able to provide me a score of his/her ability to heal. In my experience a lot of doctors are tired, overworked, ignorant, and generally burnt out. I've been burnt out so I do not blame them personally but it would be nice if doctors had to prove them selves by showing people their resume, portfolio of patients, and some references; kind of like other professions that actually has to compete to get work.
  • by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:38AM (#22105614) Journal
    Like I said before... baby boomer DINKs getting medicare before your parents. That's what this stuff is about, preparing for the coming wave of no longer able bodied and making sure that the number of those monopoly bucks the Fed prints are still what gets you into line.
  • by Kyojin ( 672334 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:04AM (#22105750)
    Sounds like you lost out on $100 there - cost you $400 paying the difference between the insurance of $1100 and the MRI cost of $1500, whereas if you'd said insurance won't pay, it would have cost you $300.
  • by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:05AM (#22105752)
    Oh yea, "fuck the poor", how about quoting something I actually said instead of pulling ideas out of your ass. "Promote the general welfare" is an actual quote from the constitution, unlike you I don't have to pull quotes out of my ass. The poor can and will always be better served through individual actions than through government programs.

    Helping the poor, when it comes to government, is code give me more power. You aren't smart enough, or capable enough, to make your own decisions. You can't help the poor without me. You need me.

    Tell that to the churches in my area, who provide more for the poor than any government would be willing provide. I think that pleases Jesus more than your rhetoric.
  • by schnikies79 ( 788746 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:18AM (#22105852)
    We have socialized medicine.

    I work in a pharmacy (trying it out before I decide if I want to go to pharmacy school). I see Medicare/Medicaid and state Medicaid patients all day, every day. They pay nothing.

    But hey, those programs won't be around much longer since it's going to be bankrupt by 2019 []. Let's instead pay everything for everyone so the system can be bankrupt by next year.
  • by value_added ( 719364 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:27AM (#22105920)
    Scrap the HMOs (who are in business to make money, not provide health care), scrap the insurance companies (middle men extracting their pound of flesh) and return to a system where you pay for services rendered with insurance for catastrophic coverage.

    As a Candian living in the US, you're preaching to the already converted, but still bewildered and dismayed, if not appalled.

    I'll add an interesting tidbit of information. Three out of four voters in the US is a member of the American Association of Retired Persons []. Sounds perfectly reasonable, given that older folks tend to be the ones that vote, but problematic when you consider that AARP is fundamentally an insurance company.

    Insurance companies are Really Big business. And if Warren Buffett's investment preferences are any indication, more profitable than ever. I don't see them going away any time soon despite the gradual awareness by the electorate that their healthcare system, when viewed in the context of the rest of the industrialised world, is an embarassment.
  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:31AM (#22105946) Journal
    Where is the costs in an MRI? I have had several and some of these machines are 20 years old or better. You would assume that they are paid for at 1500 a pop. Sure there is on going maintenance and staff but where is the cost? I got my MRIs at a diagnostic imagine center who had someone in the machines every 30 minutes. $1500 a pop, they were open between 7 am and 8 pm so at twice an hour or so they would make roughly 39,000 a day. I'm sure they aren't spending that much a day but lets just say they only make half that, it is still $97,000 a week on one machine. They have three or four of these running like this plus CT and Xray machines plus they have a blood lab. It is in a medical building that houses something like 40 specialist offices with different fields so they are packed all the time.

    This doesn't even address the fact that Vet labs can do MRIs for less then $200. I know it isn't the same thing but if they can buy the equipment, pay the staff, train the staff, and offer the services at those prices, they it shouldn't be much more difficult for a hospital or imaging lab to do the same.

    So why is the cost of a MRI $1500? Because they can charge that much, it is the only reason, their break even point is far less then that and likely even less of the machine is paid for and in maintenance mode. I'm willing to bet that $300 is the real costs (staff, using the machine, electric per use and so on) and they only wanted to cover that with the Cash billing. To me, that makes a firm $1500 a little bit stupid. It is a medical procedure, not a Car or Big Screen TV.

    I don't buy into the socialized medicine, but I think there is some things that can happen to make it more affordable to the less capable of paying for it. I don't have much sympathy for the GPs situation either, but saying it costs X dollars because that's what they standardized on is a little shady if you ask me. Especially when someone is being told that their lives or quality of health could depend having the test/procedure or not. If it was a TV or car and fear wasn't part of the choice in having it, then I could agree. In any other profession, the life and death fear factor along would be enough to get fraud charges dropped on the sales staff in most states.
  • by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:54AM (#22106074)

    I've read several articles about socialized systems in Europe being severely in debt.

    You have to stop reading propaganda. The "severe debt" is usually a misrepresentation of an overall governmental debt which has been shrinking throughout Europe ever since most governments adopted "balanced budget" policies back in the 1980s. Many European governments routinely end up with budgetary surpluses which leads to a lively debate on how to spend them, with some advocating rapid debt reduction while others investment in other things. The same applies to Canada, which also sports socialized medicare and which has been running budgetary surpluses for almost a decade now.

    As a matter of fact, the most debt inducing and downright ruinous economic policy is practiced by none other then the "free market knows best", "conservative" goofuses running the USA, where the government debt is spiralling completely out of control, with most of the money going to gigantic military contractors and mercenaries with no conceivable return on that investment to the average taxpayer other then piles of dead foreign people and rapidly increasing general global hostility, not to mention othe wee things such as the devastating trade imbalances.

    If that's the case

    It isn't, although some greed-monkeys, like our "small medical businessman" GP, do oh-so-dearly want it to be true.

    even if its a good idea and works short term, its not sustainable.

    See above. Most EU governments project declining debts, while the US debt is increasing astronomically, despite of the ever more obvious and heavy-handed attempts by the US elites to instill a vicious dog-eat-dog "society" in there, with clear-cut stratification of the economic royalty and the de-facto indentured slaves underneath.

  • by LithiumX ( 717017 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @03:17AM (#22106172)
    It's morally right to offer some assistance to the truly needy. If a man has no food, it's very little effort to provide him with sustenance. If he has no shelter, it can be provided by a society with the will to do so.

    But... how far should we be expected to go for the poor? If someone works hard for their wages, and has worked to possess at least some skill in even a simple area, but cannot afford basic healthcare, housing, and food, I believe society should have a secure safety net in place for them. Others have worked, but presently can't - either due to temporary unemployment or a physical problem (or even a mental issue). Those apply as well, as long as they try to find their way back into the working category.

    The reality, though, is that there are many... many... people in this country who do not work, who often have never worked, and when given the chance by charity and government groups do not show any serious interest in working. People who simply dropped out of high school, who became criminals early on, or who were raised in a welfare system and know nothing else, even when they're shown the way out. Not all poor are like this. I prefer to believe, seriously, that the vast majority are not like this. People who are forever doomed to unemployment and who will never be productive in any capacity.

    There are many reasons people end up this way, and to say it's all their own fault is inaccurate, let alone cold blooded. But - just how responsible am I, as a free individual, for their access to all the modern amenities that I have to work for? When does charity have to extend to an innate right to be supported when your need is not truly dire?

    And moreover, why does "caring for the poor" end outside urban areas, when it's the majority of our land, in the rural areas, that the vast majority of the real poverty is found?

    If I knew for certain that it was going towards food and shelter, basic clothing, and even completion of a high school education for those who missed it the first time around, I would have no problem shelling out tax dollars to provide services that mark an advanced civilization, and provide what are truly basic necessities to everyone, no matter what their story is. That alone would reduce crime by a greater amount than any level of police expansion could. I would even extend that towards basic health care (ie prevention, checkups, vaccination, and all the other critical medical offerings that really don't cost that much).

    For all that, though, I have no interest in providing a terminally unemployed component of society with a level of healthcare that rivals the pitiful level of care that I receive as a working member of society. Charity does not have to extend to giving the poor everything the middle class has - at the expense of (primarily) the middle class. It's the middle class that will foot most of the bill, and who will see OUR health care costs increase in reaction.

    Also consider this. If you are broke, today, you can still get basic health care. The problem is the hospitals offering it are not funded well enough to handle the immense load they're under. You will wait hours, and the staff who attend to you will be burned out when they finally make it to you, and the equipment will be adequate but overworked. It wouldn't take much in the way of government assistance for these hospitals to expand in capacity and numbers - but that doesn't score political points, and it's not as beautiful an idea as giving everyone health insurance. The most sensible method - providing the existing no-pay services with enough money to operate more extensively - is totally ignored.

    Also, if I recall, Jesus (who you repeatedly mention) encouraged general charity towards the poor, but also berated individuals for asking for too much.
  • by scourfish ( 573542 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @03:42AM (#22106346)
    Many hospitals will try to bill in triple if possible. My boss has been billed in triple several times, and each time he has called the hospital, asked them for prices on their procedures, and stated he would only pay the noted price. Even after that, the hospitals would submit the triple billing to his insurance company in hopes they would pay the difference. The problem with the hospital system in the US is the greed on many levels, whether it be from the malpractice lawyers right up to the doctors that will sometimes give unnecessary procedures in order to get more money. The US is one of the only, if not the only, countries in western civilized society that treats medical care like car repair. This sounds like a bit of a drum-circle bongo argument, but to treat health care like a commodity instead of a basic human right in the western civilized world is morally wrong.
  • by b4upoo ( 166390 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @04:26AM (#22106600)
    You sound like they got to you. A free market is one in which no money is needed as all goods and services are without charge. So you aren't talking about a free market at all.
                  Now if you are churning about in the Ayn Rand type of dialogue consider this: That type of "free market" is a market totally without taxes, laws or rules. In other words it is free of all governmental regulations. Obviously no free market of that type has ever existed anywhere at any time. And it never will exist. There is no relative freedom from regulation. It is like being pregnant. It is an absolute, A market is either free or it is regulated.
                Isn't it wonderful how people can be propagandized? We have millions of people wandering about with the notion that unregulated markets are wonderful when no nation has ever been fool enough to try such nonsense for even one single hour.
  • by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @06:10AM (#22107032)
    Yes, that's right, when you can't find a good counter argument, use an ad hominem attack. Well done!

    OK, so perhaps you don't hate poor people - as if anybody would seriously suggest that. The problem is that you just don't care, you have got your own arse covered, for now at least, but I'll bet that if you run out of luck, you'll change your attitude just like that.

    This cavalier attitude is the effect of modern capitalism - only 'I' matter; bunch of Ferengies the lot of you (look it up if you want). You should be ashamed, only you wouldn't know how.

    Capitalism depends on two factors: one, that energy can be got for next to nothing, and two, that it has no consequence that you pollute and waste resource like there was no tomorrow. Climate change will put and end to that.
  • by Atario ( 673917 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @07:06AM (#22107256) Homepage

    Free markets a) promote innovation and better health care and b) drive costs down.
    Then why are US health care costs so much higher than the exact same level of care in just about every other 1st-world country?

    And why are you against all of us joining forces to act as a single health-care-consuming entity? You know, strength in numbers.
  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @05:37PM (#22112130)
    Your example is very extreme.

    A significant percentage of America lives like this; 'extreme' isn't a word I'd use.

    4 people and only one is working and barely making above minimum wage.

    'barely'? A lot of states are sitting around the $6/hour mark for minimum wage.

    $6hr * 40hrs/wk * 52wk/s per year = $12,480 -gross- (and that's assuming you can get 40hrs... a lot of the time at these low level jobs jerk you around for hours giving you 6 and 7 hour shifts etc, which really eats into your income. If one person is making 22k/year they are making nearly double the minimum wage.

    So, that's one parent working full time, and we're only at $12k. If the other one works full time, we can get another $12k, but we've got 2 kids that are going to need daycare now... figure around $20/day per kid if you dump them in some cheap unlicensed home daycare, so you're looking at $40/day in daycare expenses, and your making around $50. Net profit $10 x 5 days/wk * 52wks = $2600 gross and the kids are being raised by someone else. Bottom line both parents working full time gets us to $15k after childcare expenses.

    If they're making $22k/year, its probably more a case that one parent is making 10$/hr or so.

    In reality there are jobs available to people with no skills that pay 15 dollars an hour.

    Yes there are. But for every one such job available, there hundreds of minimum wage employees. So if EVERY minimum wage employee tried to get one of the available $15/hr job, most of them would not find one, therefore most of them would stay minimum wage employees. So pointing out that there are $15/hr jobs available isn't a general solution. There simply aren't anywhere near enough of them.

    And the more strapped for cash you are the harder it is to look for and get jobs. You need a resume, access to job listings, clothes, haircut -- your competing with a lot of people for that job, you've got to present yourself well. Desperation doesn't look good. And employers will prefer a canditiate that has their own car. Not having a cell phone with voicemail will be a detriment. Taking time off to deliver resumes and take interviews can be awkward and expensive...

    And in your example only one person is working to support a family of 4, there is no reason why two people shouldnt be working.

    The 2nd person doesn't really make any money after daycare expenses working a minimum wage job, especially after you factor in wardrobe requirements, transportation, and other costs of having a job.

    Even on an income of 22000 dollars the basic necessities are affordable to a group of four people.

    Your absolutely right. That is why they are at the poverty line. They -can- afford the basic necessities. They don't have money left over for health care though, which is my point. And these people and millions like them are [just] above the poverty line; another 36 million american's live below it.

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur