Obscene hospital bills

In early July I tripped on a curb and fell in the street. Dear Juneau — all sorts of people stopped shortly to help. They called the ambulance and my two daughters, all of whom showed up quickly. I was taken to the hospital’s ER and lay on the gurney for several hours, as the only physician on call that Sunday had, as they said, “12 rooms of patients.” I was seen, had six stitches in my forehead, and after a long wait, was seen by a pleasant doctor. There was also an MRI as well as a plain x-ray. Discharged in the late afternoon, my daughter took me home.


I think you can see why I was staggered to receive a bill this past week for $4,000. Surely there was a mistake — no, Medicare was billed and paid the vast amount owing. I asked for details — I was told by Bartlett’s finance department the cost of using the ER (no separate room, just the ER itself) was $800 and the physician charge was $1,300. That is obscene. At a time when many are howling about the cost of government, how can Medicare be billed for obscene amounts?

Something is badly wrong.

Thank you for listening.

Dee Longenbaugh



  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback






Opinion: Parish’s ‘no’ vote costs Juneau $20M needed for road

I have always been an independent voter. I am also a longtime supporter of the Juneau Access project. To me, this is not a partisan... Read more

Future generations depend on fossil fuel reserves in the ground

Assuming that they survive, how will our great-great-grandchildren look back on the message from Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott in their March... Read more

Stop pretending the national debt isn’t important

I have noticed that when I email Alaska’s three U.S. lawmakers that the topic of national debt is not one of the topics on their... Read more

Alaska natural gas pipeline will be a stimulus for the U.S.

The United States should give us one more stimulus package — to the middle class.

Read more