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South Park's Episode 201 — the Expurgated Version 1224

Yesterday we mentioned the controversy facing Matt Stone and Trey Parker after last week's South Park (episode 200) depicted Muhammad, founder of Islam, concealed in a bear suit. Today, penguinman1337 writes "Apparently, all is not well over at Comedy Central. The heavily censored version of episode 201 that aired last night has a lot of people angry, including the show's creators." From their note: "In the 14 years we've been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn't stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn't some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps."

Comment Re:Billing and Payments (Score 1) 651

You are 100% absolutely correct. I have no idea why such a law hasn't already been passed. The practice of negotiated billing is there strictly because hospitals think they can extract more from insurance companies that way, but the net result is to completely fuck over uninsured and underinsured patients, and result in general unfairness and disparity and dishonest billing practices.

Medicare reimbursement should be contingent on a hospitals *overall* billing practices. Medicare should reimburse the lesser of their reimbursement rate or the published price of a procedure. Any remainder MUST be paid for by a patient or insurance company and cannot legally be waived. And if a hospital is caught billing other patients unfairly, all medicare reimbursement should cease for the hospital, driving it out of business to be seized and placed under new management.

Comment Re:Mixing up advice (Score 1) 651

I think the REAL reason why the cash customers are gouged has little to do with collections. It's the 75%+ discounts that the insurance industry and the government require. They keep the beds full, with the system running near capacity, but only because of huge discounts. After all the paperwork and nonsense, the providers are probably running at a loss because of the discounts -- but a manageable loss AND the capacity is predictable. That leaves cash customers to pick up the rest. Meanwhile, the insurance industry and government LOVE this arrangement, because cash customers are severely punished and dragged back to the captivity of insurance and government dependence.

If cash customers could pay the same heavily-discounted rates as the insurance industry and the government, the collections problem would be greatly reduced. And with medical expenses paid directly "out of pocket", patients would shop more diligently on price and try harder to avoid seeking unnecessary treatment. Notice how the problem of uncollectible accounts is never subsidized by the insurers or the government, presumably because they are not part of the collections problem. If I offer to pay on the spot, I am not part of the collections problem either. Why should I subsidize the uncollectible accounts or (even worse) the wildly expensive "claims management" process? By offering cash on the spot, I should pay a rate LOWER THAN INSURERS, GOVERNMENT, OR TRADITIONAL CUSTOMERS. Notice how it doesn't work that way, thanks to insurers and their allies in government. Notice how the proposed healthcare reform leaves the problem intact.

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