The $70 million in bad debts due to the Health Services Authority by 2015 needs to be clawed back from the patients by any means necessary. That’s the view of the majority of respondents to the latest Cayman Compass poll.
Taking patients’ credit cards on admission was the preferred safeguard of 100 people of the 406 in total who participated, or 24.6 percent. Some 89 people – 21.9 percent – went even further and proposed sending in debt collectors to collect outstanding bill payments. Another 71 people (17.5 percent) felt that the way to do it was to charge patients up front for each procedure.
Together, that made 64 percent of the total.
Another way to look at it is to note that 123 people – 30.3 percent – were of the opinion that “Healthcare should be free. Let the government pick up the bill.” That was the highest single option that people voted for.
Completing the pie chart were 23 people, 5.7 percent, who picked “Other.”
Nobody who voted for the credit card option added any comments, but a couple of people who felt charging up front was a good option did speak further.
“It is the only way to stop this big debit from getting bigger than Mount Trashmore,” wrote one of those people.
Another person recounted a long and convoluted story involving nurses, invoices sent to previous addresses, insurances and disputes. In a nutshell, the reader doubted that, ‘They’ll see that money, but they can certainly do things a lot better to ensure that they receive money in the future ….
“I don’t think it’s fair to try and make people pay for something after six months of the procedure. Take a deposit up front. Work out a repayment schedule, and ensure the contact details are current and valid.”
Debt collection agencies were on the mind of a few people.
“Those unemployed people who are fit to work but get free medical care because they are receiving social services, they are your debt collectors. Set them up in a room and give them commission on dollars collected through their work, plus they can pay down their own debt through their debt collection work,” one person suggested.
One person who said healthcare should be free extrapolated that into a taxation question, saying, “Instead of people paying insurance, have them pay into government healthcare instead.”
A respondent who chose “Other,” wrote, “Implement a single payer system as used in the U.K. – we’re a British territory after all, why are we using the crazy U.S. style system where healthcare companies rip us off with premiums, then deny us treatment?”
Another participant expressed their confusion that there was a healthcare debt when everyone was “supposed to have insurance.”
“That seems the gap that needs closing. Better health insurance (national or private, it’s the same in the end).”
Someone else put the blame on tricky providers who they felt were avoiding contractual obligations.
“Collect from insurance companies who deny valid claims,” wrote the respondent.
A final reader wanted more information on the upcoming shortfall of cash, asking, “Are these private citizen debts or government employee debts? How is it possible that it could be that high without someone doing something about it much sooner?”
Next week’s poll question
What kind of television service do you have in your home?
- Cable through C3, Logic, WestStar, or LIME
- Satellite dish or provider
- Internet streaming or service like NetFlix or Apple TV
- Local television through an antennae
- I don’t have television at all
To participate, visit caymancompass.com.