Here’s an article from the Green Sheet in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning. It recounts the first heart transplant in Milwaukee, way back in 1968.

The procedure, completed by 9:30 p.m. the same day, was the first heart transplant in Wisconsin, and just the 58th worldwide. The operation, The Milwaukee Journal reported on Oct. 22, 1968, made Milwaukee “the sixth or seventh center in the United States where heart transplantation has been accomplished.”

(Betty) Anick went home on Nov. 25, 1968. Exiting the hospital, she was greeted by a score of reporters and photographers.

“I feel wonderful, real happy to go home,” she said, according to The Journal’s Jo Sandin in a front-page story.

We all realized that we were living in an era of a new miracle in medical history…at the time nearly every transplant was reported in the press…now unless it is a celebrity…it goes largely unnoticed by the public at large.

But how far afield have we gotten? Most all of you have had some type of medical procedure performed. Many of you have had friends or family that have visited an emergency room or had out patient or inpatient surgeries performed. Many of you have had children. You know the bills. You know the thousands of dollars involved. You know what you pay and what your insurance company has covered.

What do you think a heart transplant cost in 1968? A procedure that at the time was still highly experimental. One that probably required hours in the operating room and a team of surgeons and support staff? The 58th hear transplant surgery in the entire world? How much?

In December 1968, both papers (The Milwaukee Journal and The Milwaukee Sentinel) reported that all but $252 of the $18,669 hospital bill was covered by John Anick’s Wisconsin Blue Cross from his employer, American Motors.

How far afield have we gotten in the past fifty years on the costs of health care?

18 Responses to Just How Far Afield Health Costs In Wisconsin Have Gotten in 50 Years

  1. Charles Kuehn says:

    Using usinflationcalculator.com, that $18,669 should (operative word) cost $135,435 today. Wanna bet?

  2. Nemo says:

    Not to worry Ed. Just a few years ago, Democrats crafted and implemented legislation that will provide health insurance insure for every American, drive down the cost of healthcare, and allow everyone to keep their current coverage and doctor if they want. The silly Republicans whined and moaned that this would only make the problems worse, but the progressive party unilaterally rammed it through. So relax, they’re from the government and they’re here to help.

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      Bullshit Nemo. The ACA was anything but rammed through. It took months to modify an Republican health care program in a stupid attempt to get GOP buy in…a weak wimpy program that is based on Romneycare. But because it was coming out of the Obama White House the GOP wasn’t going to give it a single vote. Obama was foolish on this…what he should have done is actually ram through a form of Medicare for All and been done with it.

      • Nemo says:

        Ed, “rammed through” does not refer to the speed in this case, but rather the unilateral nature of the process used in crafting this stinker. After a Republican list of modest proposals for the bill were circular filed, the Rs were lectured that “elections have consequences”. Clearly there was no attempt to get A GOP buy in. The delay was to get a moderate Democrat buy in. And they got it. Just enough of it, to ram it through. Harry, Nancy, and Barry are solely responsible for serving us this crap sandwich. The aftertaste of that offering all but guarantees that Chucky, Nancy, and Bernie’s 32.6 Trillion dollar menu choice will be rejected by the American people.

        • Zach W says:

          Ah, Nemo complaining about legislation being “rammed through” is rich considering how willing Republicans have been to “ram through” their legislative agenda unilaterally.

          Hypocrisy is a stinky cologne and Nemo absolutely reeks.

          • Nemo says:

            Ah,Zach I did not complain about the ramming through of Obamacare, I just stated that as a premise. Now that you’ve conceded that the premise is true, you’re halfway there. Because the Dems rammed through legislation that promised to fix what is basically a supply and demand issue in healthcare, they now own it. What I am complaining about is adding over a Trillion dollars to the deficit for higher prices and fewer options. What I am complaining about is getting much less for much more when we were promised much more for much less. All brought to you by a pack of progressive miscreants on March 23, 2010.

  3. Like nothing else ever gets ‘rammed’ through Congress…regardless of which party is in power. But Obama should have just gone with a real healthcare plan instead of this watered down sop that he hoped would get some support from the GOP. I am not a huge fan of the ACA but I refuse to throw it away until there is a universal comprehensive plan to replace it. And that big trillion dollar number is a scarecrow and not a valid inference. That money is being spent on healthcare already. It just isn’t being quantified effectively…but it’s being spent by consumers, employers, health insurance companies, losses by care providers, and deferred healthcare for those who can’t afford it. I want to see it moved from those disparate and inefficient venues and moved to a single entity that can negotiate fees and drug prices. The whole supposed reason for insurance is to build as big a user base as possible to spread the risk…that would seem to indicate the entire population of the USA should be the goal for the most efficient insurance plan.

    • Charles Kuehn says:

      And that, Ed, is the toughest simple argument to get through the thick skull of any Walker/Trump supporter with whom you might happen to be arguing “health care.” They just can’t or won’t grasp the notion that a slight increase in taxes spread over the nation’s population, would be, at worst, a zero sum game with the way we’re currently being robbed by the medical/insurance mafia. When these folks see themselves losing the argument, instead of conceding the slightest point, their default comeback is, “Well, it’s about freedom.” Freedom from what? Being robbed by said medicsl/insurance syndicate? And robbery it is.

  4. Nemo says:

    I don’t think we will ever agree on ramming legislation through congress, so I’ll drop it.

    It scares me when the stated goal of a healthcare system is “efficiency” instead of effective, caring, and compassionate, but I guess that’s just me.

    • Ed Heinzelman says:

      When I say efficient, I am not talking about the quality or delivery of healthcare. I am talking about paying for it. Reducing overhead for payee and payor. I am not interested in how you and your doctor interact or where you want to get healthcare…mainly reduce the costs involved in paying for it.

      • Charles Kuehn says:

        Ignore the Strawman, Ed. Several of his profiles, including that one, have already been banned by WEAU.

        • Nemo says:

          Only have this profile Charles. What are you talking about?

          • Charles Kuehn says:

            You know dam well what I’m talking about. Seems we went through this a couple years ago when you were being “Denis Navratil.” You lost that time too.

            • Nemo says:

              You are mistaken, Charles. I am not Denis Navratil. Never have been. I have met Denis on more then one occasion. He’s a sound thinker and all around good guy. He even bought me a beer, which is more than I can say for you. I’m somewhat flattered that you think my musings reflect his writing/reasoning style. For that I thank you sir.

              • Charles Kuehn says:

                Your denial rings as false as do your multiple persona. You still lose.

                • Ed Heinzelman says:

                  Ok gentlemen. Let’s call this thread a day here. I appreciate both of you and your insights on our posts over the years and you have both contributed to healthy and diverse discussions. But let’s get back to that and leave off the personal stuff! Thank you both!!

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