Thursday, March 13, 2008

Perspective on Health Care Costs

A friend of mine was was going through a box of family papers, and shared with me an old hospital bill from 1963. This was from a simpler time and the bill was simple too. This was before the age of products liability, medical malpractice, the things that keep trial lawyers in BMW's , and when the strongest medicine advertised on TV was Alka-Seltzer.

The bill was one-half page for a week's hospitalization at Evanston Hospital. Room, food and nursing was $22.00 per day. The most expensive laboratory charge was $13.50. There was a $35.00 charge for an X-ray, and some operating room and recovery room charges. The total bill was $377.00, but that did not include doctor's charges.

I found a Consumer Price Index and calculated that in current dollars the total hospital bill would come to $2,614.97. In those days, many thought that health insurance was only for the poor.


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