What should we do about our health care nightmare?

Friends and relatives are asking for our opinion. Simple - the health care nightmare needs to be fixed now by congress.

To be clear, we revere the deliverers of health care, the doctors and hospitals. They perform miracles on a daily basis for all of us.

But then the billing and paying nightmare begins. We could go on for days just reciting the stories we experienced or have heard for years now, about convoluted billing, double-billing, over-billing, paying, co-paying, appealing, denying, etc. in the health care profession. Every single paper in the mail from the doctors and hospitals and insurers is certain to contain another surprise - and none of them pleasant.

The insurers want our money, $14,000 a year to cover a husband and wife. Then they want more of our money, through every trick and manipulation you could imagine and many scams that you could never dream up in a million years. And they want to pay the doctors and the hospitals bupkiss.

There is in-network and out-of-network and each has deductibles and copays and who knows what they are or what is the annual maximum. And it you reach the maximum, they will tell you that months later after you have already paid more than you should have - and lord have mercy on your soul if you try to recover anything from anybody.

And try to figure out what is on a bill or on your "explanation" of benefits - which of course should be called "obfuscation" of benefits - as we all know and can testify.

The system is not just broken. It is horribly broken. It is a compound fracture with the bones jutting out. It is a nightmare. It needs to be fixed now - by the government - because nobody else around here is going to lift a finger to mend the broken system.

Talk all you want at Salon and everywhere else ("What went wrong? It's almost Labor Day. Healthcare reform is struggling, the public option is near dead. Why couldn't Obama deliver? by Thomas Schaller - hat tip to Henry.)

If it's broken (and it sure is) then it has to be fixed (by the government).

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