Judith Garber of the Lown Institute reports on the similarities between banking and health care. For starters, both the banking and health care industries put profits before people. And, they both have become big businesses.
Like health care providers–e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, hospice agencies–the banks have grown increasingly large, buying out smaller companies and building their market share. That reduces competition and gives both banks and health care providers more ability to drive up costs. Banks no longer simply rely on interest income from funds deposited but are able to generate additional revenues by inserting fees into a plethora of offerings.
Health care providers continue to raise rates. Moreover, many of their fees are not transparent. People generally have no way to know what their costs will be in advance of receiving services.
Low- and middle-income Americans are increasingly squeezed by both banking and health care costs. And they are frustrated by all the hidden costs and fine print that’s almost impossible to understand both at the big banks and when getting health care services. As a result, more and more Americans now avoid standard banks and medical services.
And, many Americans are paying a steep price because of the way banks and health care providers operate. For their financial needs, many Americans now use check cashers, payday lenders and other services, which often charge excessive fees. For their health care needs, they often use walk-in clinics and urgent care centers, especially where they can tell in advance what their costs will be, or they simply forego needed care.
In Garber’s view, “we need hospitals and the government to increase investments in social services, price transparency, and access.” For now, if you are looking for low-cost care, consider using a free health clinic, which offers primary and urgent care, including same-day appointments.
You might also look into federally qualified health centers. And, you should visit www.eldercare.gov online or call 1-800-677-1116 to learn about health resources, fitness programs and other activities in your community.
Here’s more from Just Care: