The Young Turks

The Young Turks 11 Sep 2019

Go Home, Capitalism. You're Drunk

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Groupon is cashing in on the US health care crisis. Ana Kasparian, Adrienne Lawrence, and Helen Hong, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.


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>> As we know, private insurance is difficult to deal with, and many Americans either don't
have private insurance, or they're dealing with a private insurer that refuses to authorize
treatments that they need.
So, capitalism works in funny ways.
Now we have Groupon offering discounts and coupons for various medical procedures.
This was reported recently in the, so the Kaiser Family Foundation publishes some news
articles.
They published something on this as well.
And so, I want to show you a quick screenshot.
It kind of gives you an idea of what some of these groupons look like.
And in this case, it's for an x-ray.
And the journalist, Kaiser Health news reported this, Laurin Weber wrote this piece and she
writes, Crown Valley Imaging in Mission Viejo, California has been selling Groupon deals
for services including heart scans, and full body CT scans since February of 2017.
Despite what Crown Valley's president Sami Beydoun called out the aggressive financial
practices.
According to him, Groupon dictates the price for its deals based on the competition in
the area, and then takes a substantial cut.
So, okay, I mean, I don't really have anything to say about Groupon's business practices,
but I do have a lot to say about the fact that people are relying on coupons in order
to get some of the screenings that they need.
By the way, I just want to note, for all the people on the right who want to defund Planned
Parenthood, when I was younger and did not have health insurance, I went to Planned Parenthood
when I found a lump in my breast.
And they saw me for free.
And there are people who rely on Planned Parenthood for way more than reproductive health.
So, just something to keep in mind- >> Men and women as well.
Men are welcome at Planned Parenthood, and you can go get an STD screening, no matter
who you are at Planned Parenthood.
>> Yeah, Brittany Swanson who works in the front office at OutPatient Imaging in the
Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, said she has seen hundreds of customers come through
the center with Groupons for mammograms, body scans and other screenings.
And this is something that's becoming more and more widespread.
It's just something that people are turning to because that's what healthcare is in America.
>> We need Medicare for all, that's the bottom line.
>> Yes.
>> We need universal, I just performed in Canada this past weekend and Canadians are
better laughers.
You know why?
Cuz they're not worried about what happens to them if they get hit by a truck.
>> That's right.
>> Because they have health care.
>> How much freer you live when you can actually take care of your health and body and your
loved ones.
And just live your life and not have to worry about getting sick or getting hurt. and it's
years ago I remember seeing Groupons for plastic surgery, and all these other procedures, and
I kind of laughed it off thinking do you really want to spend that money?
You might end up with an implant on the side of your head, or something weird like that.
And now seeing this, the fact that people are getting mammograms using Groupons.
They're getting actual health procedures that are necessary.
It just speaks to how broken our system is.
And I think it's great that people can access this, but it should not be this way.
>> And it's not just about the discount that you get through the Groupons.
I mean obviously, there's a marketing aspect to this, maybe someone has a private practice
and wants to get some more patients through the door.
But there's also one other point that I wanted to make about how these procedures and these
screenings are priced.
There is no set price, right?
So, you can go to one doctor's office and a mammogram can cost you, I don't know I'm
just going to thrown a number out there, $500.
Then, you go with different doctor's office and they charge $2,000.
You have no idea, and there's no transparency upfront.
I mean, I remember getting so many surprise bills.
When I had a health scare and I thought all right I paid my deductible, right?
High deductible was paid out of pocket, there's no way I'm gonna have to pay more.
And then, a month later I get a bill for $419 from the lab, right.
>> Yes.
>> So, these are the types of non transparent, opaque issues that we deal with when we go
see a doctor.
So, when you have a Groupon that tells you all right, you're gonna get a mammogram for
$99.
There is a little bit of peace of mind knowing I'm just gonna pay that $99, and I don't have
to deal with the rest.
>> By the way whenever I use a Groupon at a restaurant, I always get side eye from the
waiter.
>> Me too.
>> And so, what's gonna happen if I use a Groupon for an actual health scare, is the
doctor gonna be, you're a cheap bastard.
I'm gonna phone in this procedure.
>> It is weird that that happens, because the restaurant, and in this case, the doctor's
offices make these deals with Groupon.
>> Exactly.
>> They don't like it.
>> So it's like, what do you expect?
And something that a lot of people may not know, but you kind of have the option to it.
Some of these providers will actually negotiate with you.
If you can pay cash.
>> And not go through insurance.
>> Insurance, yeah.
And so, that's something you want to discuss too, that's an option because insurance providers,
it's a lot of paper work on their behalf, and they have to wait months and months.
So if you can pay right then and there, there's some negotiation there, so there are options,
but again, it should not be this way.
>> Definitely, and also don't be afraid to ask your doctor how much things cost before
they actually start running tests and labs.
If they're being wishy washy on it, then that's a huge red flag.
But I've just kinda learned to just right up front say, hey, I need to know how much
this cost before you do it.
Because you don't wanna be hit with all these surprise bills.
It's just, I don't know, it's devastating.
This is what we're dealing with in one of the richest countries in the world.

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