The Bitter Pill expresses the pain and oppression that patients are going through to pay the medical bills. The writer says that the medical bills are killing them to show how high or exaggerated they are as an ironic term. To explain his rage in the medical bills, he uses for rhetorical strategies to portray the extent of it.
Personal case studies explain in depth the extent of the high bill showing how each patient was charged and the turmoil they had to go through to raise the money. In the case study of one of the patients, Janice, her bill is indicated as The $21000 Heartburn Bill. The title itself is ironic and expresses a lot of sarcasm. Who charges such a bill for heartburn except for conmen? Janice is given several receipts with different charges which she does not understand. The writer in this case study explains how the medical bill of Janice is far much higher than what an average citizen can afford. Several case studies including that of Sean Recchi explain the extent of high medical bills which the writer says is going to kill them. The medical bill so high that Seans wife has to borrow money from her parents several times to cater for the bill.
The use of technical and company documents such as the charge master brings out the aspect of unnecessary bills. The charge master is just a document showing the prices of drugs and services which are ridiculously high. Inflated prices on the charge master are not consistent in all hospitals, and the writer finds them irrelevant. In the companys documents, the profits that those hospitals get are way out of this world especially the cancer drug profit chain. The profits are high because they charge more than they are supposed to.
In regard to interviews with medical personnel, it is very obvious they are hidden agendas as they fail to comment on the asked questions. In Janice case study, Orstad, the spokesman hospital brushes off the question on the charge master saying that they are not the real charging rates, whereas Janice is made to pay. That contradicts his statement. He refuses to comment on the specifics of Janice charges on lab works and even changes his tone to show he is not pleased after being asked several questions about charge master. When John Gunn of Sloan-Kettering is asked about the chargemaster, says that the rates charged for the uninsured help them serve the poor which the writer tends to disapprove.
In contrasting these hospitals, they all charge patients very highly, and this explains why they are making unrealistic profits. They all have charge masters who are inconsistent making the patients pay more than they are supposed to. In New York City, hospitals and banks are known to be the best employers. This is because as explained in the bitter pill, the hospitals are overwhelming people with bills.
In conclusion, the four rhetorical strategies bring out how hospitals are burdening people with bills. As expressed in the bitter pill, it is actually a bitter pill to the patients. The taxpayers are not safe as well as the patients; no one is safe, but the government should take action to rescue its people from this shocking reality.
Sloan, John P. A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System Is Failing the Elderly. Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2009. Print.
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