Monday, March 21, 2016

Related imageWhen is our government going to take care of us? We pay taxes and now healthcare deductions directly from our paychecks. When are our health care needs going to be adequately covered? Millions of Americans are rushed to the hospital every year. 400,000 of us are transported by emergency helicopters. Many times it is a life or death flight where every second counts. The service comes with a sky high price tag that often in an emergency we don’t even know that our insurance will not cover the cost.
Air ambulances is a big profitable business. Why? Our government should intervene and make this a public service.   It is not a ride for the  rich  and famous. It is for high trauma cases, heart attacks, strokes and very critical injured patients. Emergency workers call it the Golden Hour which represents the crucial 60 minutes to get medical care for a patient facing death.  If we want to call us the best country in the world then we had better start acting that way for our people. The urgent need to beat the golden hour clock is the time often between life and death. It is nice to boast that we have fleets of emergency helicopters at our disposal in emergencies but who is controlling the price gouging costs to use the service? No one!
We have a hard edge Air Ambulance industry that is free to set any price it wants for a ride. Our citizens are left in a very vulnerable moment and would likely agree to anything in the time of life or death to save someone we love. A patient got charged $47,000 for a 75 mile ride. You are lucky if any insurance company will cover any portion of that expense. Hundreds of families are getting ripped off across the country by these unregulated helicopter companies. Many Americans are now hounded by debt collectors or are homeless because of the hefty charges they didn’t even know were coming at their time of crisis. Some people are forced into bankruptcy.
Patients should not be taken for a ride in more ways than one.  One guy was charged $47,000 for a 20 minute helicopter ride. Does the rides really cost that much to fly? Air Methods is the name of one of the aviation companies charging these types of fees. This is the biggest of the for profit ambulance companies. Should there even be a for profit emergency company? This company has more than 370 helicopters operating in more than 48 states. This publicly traded company published profits last year of more than $100 Million dollars. Where are the ethics? This company making huge profits literally off the last life breath of their customers. Even the insurance companies complained that the bills were excessive.
The CEO Eric Todd earned over $5 Million dollars last year. The company says if everyone paid their fees they could cut an air lift to about $12,000 a ride. So everyone suffers even the insurance companies and folks that do come up with a close to 50 grand fee? Who are they to make up these kinds of rules especially when someone’s life is literally in their hands? Congress needs to get off their buts and impose some state laws or regulations. No company should hold and American hostage. Air Methods say the other choice is to let people die and cut off their services. A not for profit company in Dallas set up by 5 hospitals called Care Flight does not use debt collectors and provides helicopter service to their patients at reasonable prices.
The CEO of Care Flights rightfully says how can you be committed to saving a person’s life then turn around and sue them? With all the riots our newest Presidential Candidates are causing we are going to need more helicopters taking Americans to the hospital.   

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