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Sky-high hospital costs are the culprit

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I really resent Mr. Mike Lester’s cartoon (Journal, June 4) showing two grandparents pushing their grandchild in a stroller: “The best thing about grandchildren is that you can send them home … and they’re too young to know we’re spending their Medicare benefits!” In the near future I will be getting Medicare benefits and will be paying for them. After having a recent trip to the emergency room as an uninsured person, I have to tell you that it’s the hospitals that are overcharging the public that is the reason Medicare is going down the rat hole. I just paid a mechanic for a large repair bill and did not have the $86 cash at that time to visit the clinic to get antibiotic pills for a deep cut on my ankle, which I took care of myself for nine days but it still got infected. Fifteen days later I received the bill of $1,215.63. Oh yes, they gave me a discount of $303.91 for having no medical insurance. I was charged $147.92 twice because they put “two” drops of a topical ointment on the cut, which is similar to a $5 tube of Neosporin. The tetanus vaccine was $88. Two antibiotic pills at the hospital were $17.53 each. I got my prescription filled the next day for $4. The ER room where I was for 15 minutes was billed to me as a level 3. I found out later from the financial office that level 3 is for people who come in with broken bones and that they are “contracted out.” Contracting out, isn’t that costing the state lots of money? Level 1 is for minor injuries. Maybe they got confused when they asked me what my pain level was between 1 to 10 and I said 5. I don’t know, but I’m not one to use the ER as my doctor and the bill is so inflated, I am disputing it. So, Mr. Lester, before you pick on us “old folks” look at our supposedly nonprofit hospitals that claim to be and all the other hospitals around the country that are inflating their bills causing medical insurance to be beyond the reach of everyday people, PAMELA DOLAN, Auburn