BURLINGTON – Facing intense scrutiny from the state legislature following the discussion around bill S.31, the University of Vermont Medical Center has admitted that, were the bill to pass, it would have no effect, as numbers and prices are assigned arbitrarily.
Opening their books and systems to the press for the first time, UVM Medical Center representatives attempted to explain the vast price discrepencies for almost an hour before sighing, turning to each other, and asking, “Should we just tell them?”
According to a new statement from the state’s largest health care provider, numbers and prices are imaginary concepts, a human attempt to control a larger universal truth that can never be truly understood by our feeble brains. Citing chaos theory, probability matrices, uncertainly principles, and strange attractors, the statement suggests that looking for a final, set price for any medical procedure is a fruitless task more suited for philosophers more comfortable with an acceptance of their own powerlessness, rather than for state legislators who often feel that problems ought to have solutions.
“I think they’re exactly right,” said BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont spokesperson Chaya Maveth. “Take a look at this one procedure here. We have the price the medical center has set. Let’s call that Price A. Then we have here the price that we say they are allowed to charge, that’s Price B. Over here is then the price they actually charge, Price C. Over here is the amount the patient is actually billed, Price D, and then there is the amount that was actually taken out of their HSA when it was paid, Price E. All of these prices are different, and there is no correlation between any of them. How are they decided? Well, I think ‘decided’ is a pretty strong word for what happens in the health care system.”
Most Vermonters initially supported the push for transparency in medical costs, however a large percentage of those who have actually seen how the system works in a deeper way are now reporting that they wish they had never seen behind the curtain, and several of them are being treated for severe existential ennui. Lawmakers have promised to never try to understand health care ever again, but at this point some are wondering if it is already too late, and if the damage of seeing our actual heath care costs can ever be undone.