Few individuals or organizations have been as influential as Mitt Romney and Bain Capital in worsening our runaway healthcare costs, causing unnecessary suffering, or accelerating our government's long-term deficit problem. Their highly leveraged investment strategy puts healthcare companies under enormous pressure to increase revenue. They often respond by overbilling -- or worse, by encouraging unnecessary medical treatments that can include anything from non-invasive tests to heart surgery.
I spent many years working in healthcare economics: running health service companies, projecting health plan costs for governments and employers, and analyzing healthcare investments. I've reviewed hospital bills in detail and seen shocking things: Thousands of dollars for bandages and gauze during a surgery; a 12,000-percent markup on ointments; a $250 charge for the lightbulb in a projector the hospital claimed was used during surgery.
I've seen hucksters put red filters over an ordinary flashlight, call it an "infrared" healing device, and charge insurance companies or hapless patients for their use. And I've seen hundreds of cases of human tragedy brought on by unnecessary surgeries performed solely for money. I can't say I was always on the side of the angels, but I can say this: Before Bain, I had never seen behavior that was as consistently bad as we're seeing today.
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