US Health Care Needs Major Surgery

by Carl Tannenbaum
Financial Sense

As a young man, my neighbor was the victim of an industrial accident that damaged his knee. The surgery to repair the injury required a long hospital stay and painful rehabilitation. He worked diligently to maintain his mobility, taking up cycling to strengthen his leg.

Late last year, though, the discomfort became too great and he went in for a knee replacement. He was up and walking within hours of the operation, and the rehabilitation was much less painful than it had been 30 years earlier. He is back to riding; the straightening of his leg proved a convenient excuse to purchase a new $10,000 ride. Bionic joint, bionic bike, he told us.

But my neighbor hadn’t completely escaped the pain of his hospitalization. Within days, bills the length of encyclopedias began arriving at his house, written in a language he barely understood. Fortunately, he has good insurance, but he was left to cover considerable copayments.

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