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Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing US (Time Article)

http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/6/

A spokesman at Genentech for the Biogen Idec–Genentech partnership would not say what the drug cost the companies to make, but according to its latest annual report, Biogen Idec’s cost of sales — the incremental expense of producing and shipping each of its products compared with what it sells them for — was only 10%. That’s lower than the incremental cost of sales for most software companies, and the software companies usually don’t produce anything physical or have to pay to ship anything.

This would mean that Sean Recchi’s dose of Rituxan cost the Biogen Idec–Genentech partnership as little as $300 to make, test, package and ship to MD Anderson for $3,000 to $3,500, whereupon the hospital sold it to Recchi for $13,702.

Click link above to read all the rest. It's mind blowing! $24 bill for 1 b vitamin!? WTF!?
 
An article in the local paper here today describes a man who had a life saving liver transplant, and now has difficulty affording his anti-rejection meds to the extent that he likely will need to stop them soon. I know for me, I could not afford my remicade without extensive assistance - even with my insurance co-pay. I saw a television piece on how companies did their pricing, and it was is no way related to what it cost to produce and market. It was based entirely on how much the medical procedure that they were "avoiding" would cost. Not a great business model when people can no longer afford the insurance.
 
This does not suprise me at all! The United States is SO corrupt it stinks! I went to the ER last month and all they did was a simple CT scan, took blood work, and gave me 1 bag on IV fluids and 3 tylenol( which they charged me $279 for just the 3 tylenol alone. Hell I could have bought like 35 bottles of tylenol for that price. Next time I will save myself the money and bring my own!)!!! Well a week later I got a bill for $10,000 for the ER visit!! SO yeah, I am not suprised at all!! That was not even including all the doctors that billed me seperately that came in to see me when I was there. The sad part was that they did NOT really help me at all and I left feeling just as shitty as I did when I went in there and with No answers!

As for the drug companies here in the US, oh forget it it! Big Pharma is in bed with everyone except for the innocent sick people out there. I know a lady who has to take Humira and they charge her $6000 for each infusion! So that is $24,000 a month! It is all about greed here. I mean believe me, there probably is a cure for a lot of these diseases out here today but you will Never see it because they DO NOT want to have cures. Cures do NOT make them money! Sadly to say, this world is run on Greed, not for the good will of the people....








http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/6/

A spokesman at Genentech for the Biogen Idec–Genentech partnership would not say what the drug cost the companies to make, but according to its latest annual report, Biogen Idec’s cost of sales — the incremental expense of producing and shipping each of its products compared with what it sells them for — was only 10%. That’s lower than the incremental cost of sales for most software companies, and the software companies usually don’t produce anything physical or have to pay to ship anything.

This would mean that Sean Recchi’s dose of Rituxan cost the Biogen Idec–Genentech partnership as little as $300 to make, test, package and ship to MD Anderson for $3,000 to $3,500, whereupon the hospital sold it to Recchi for $13,702.

Click link above to read all the rest. It's mind blowing! $24 bill for 1 b vitamin!? WTF!?
 
You speak the truth. It's not even that there is no $$$ in cures. It's that there is 10000% more $$$ I'm disease and treatment of symptoms. I'd just walk away from the ER bill if your credit is already poor. F em. They will write it off anyway and anyone that charges you $175 for 3 Tylenol deserves a beating, not payment.
 
I'm in shock :eek2:
Here in Canada, my five month hospital stay was free, and I have no insurance.
 
Oh yeah, here in the good Ole United States there is No such thing as free. I mean they do have assistance programs, but you have to be practically homeless in order to qualify for them here in this State.

Yeah, I am not kidding, they charged me $279 for just thee tylenol pills. They also charged about the same amount for 1 dose of zofran. Oh, and another thing they were doing at the ER, and this is new because They never use to this. Well now when you go to the ER or hospital you have to wear this wrist band that has a bar code on it. Well everytime they give you anything or a nurse or doctor comes in to see you, they scan this bar code on the bracelet( they charge you!). I even asked the nurse what it was all about ans she told me it was the new way of doing things. I mean it is really sickening.

I mean dont get me wrong, I am grateful that I even have insurance, but even with insurance I still have a $2,500 deductible( for each individual family member). God help us if more than one of us was sick, we would be really screwed.

Tuff: I cannot even fathom staying in a hospital here for that long. They usually kick you out pretty fast depending on your insurance and how much they are going to get paid. A lot of the insurance companies here only have a one million dollar lifetime coverage. Once you meet that million they insurnace company will drop you. I mean a 5 month hospital stay here, well lets see, here the average hospital charges like $2000 per night just to stay in the hospital( that does not include anything else, it is just room and board basically and that is at the low end. I mean I just cannot imagine it. An ex-coworker of mine, well her husband had a ruptured aorta of the heart. He almost died. He had to have two open heart surgeries for it. Well he was in the hospital for like three and half weeks. My friend said when all was said and done she got the statement from the insurance and the charge was like $ 790,000!!! That was just for the surgery alone! Well after that he met his lifetime insurance so they dropped him. I mean it is really crazy. I think health care should be FREE everywhere....
 
You are so right about that!!!






They will write it off anyway and anyone that charges you $175 for 3 Tylenol deserves a beating, not payment.[/QUOTE]
 
Free or close to cost. It's not like they are curing cancer.
They are treating symptoms at best, or patching up holes and broken bones. What was the last meaningful pharmaceutical advancement? Penicillin ?
 
I had a boil lanced at ER. Boom! $2,000+!!!! Of course I didn't pay since my credit was already Fd and anyone asking that much for what they actually did deserves nothing.
 
Canada's health care is not free either. The cost is paid by someone, through taxes.

It may be cheaper, or more expensive, but as long as the general perception is that it is free, it will bring about its own problems.

All healthcare systems in North America suffer from similar problems and that is the artificially high cost. The costs drivers are built into the system, and will remain until the whole system is uprooted and replaced by something that incorporates common sense and largely excludes influence from the AMA, the insurance lobby, FDA, and their masters, the pharma companies.

Anything less than that is not going to substantially change anything.

Dan
 
I got billed 6k for one visit and like 4k for the other. I was told it was so much because I didn't go to a network hospital. However, the closest actual network hospital is about thirty minutes away. I can't even go to the hospital in the city where I reside and work at. It's the most absurd thing I ever heard. Am I supposed to not go to the nearest hospital during an emergency because they aren't in their "network". It's pretty ridiculous you have to fight tooth and nail to even get needed procedures done. I'm not saying I really have an answer but man, it sure is frustrating going from being healthy and debt free to sick and close to ten thousand dollars in debt in less than two months.
 
How much have people had to pay for colonoscopies? Mine was over $5000, but after insurance I "only" owed $2000.

The especially frustrating thing was I'd just had a CT scan that showed significant narrowing in the ileum. Then I was told to get the colonoscopy, but the doctor couldn't fit the scope through my ileum, so the procedure was incomplete. Everything below my ileum looked fine, and above it they still had no idea what that looked like, so I had to go get X-rays to see above it. I felt like the colonoscopy was quite a rip off, because I was charged the full amount for an incomplete procedure that the doctor should have known he couldn't complete by looking at the CT scan. What a racket.
 
I'm not sure, I haven't gotten the bill for mine yet. I did get a bill for the anesthesia which I owe about 166 after insurance. Btw, aloe, I have the exact same problem. My first scan showed narrowing as well and my doc couldn't get scope through either. so now I have to get another CT scan but I don't have a choice... more debt incoming
 
Oh no! I'm so sorry that happened to you too. I really wonder if it's a corrupt as it looks, or maybe I just don't understand.

Now I'm going on Remicade, and my doctor (a new doctor!) said after 4 months I have to have another colonoscopy to see if it's working. I couldn't believe that's the only way they can tell, and I'm bummed to have to go through that again so soon, not to mention another $2000. I hope things like this are better after Obamacare kicks in (I'm self-employed).
 
My doc wanted to start me on Remicade but my symptoms aren't really all the bad, so we're trying Entocort for a bit to see how that goes. He honestly said I'm already so narrow that it looks like surgery in my future. But depending on CT scan and my symptoms, we'll see. I can't even imagine how much a resection will cost lol
Also, best of luck to you!
 
Well, it might not be so bad. My insurance seems to pay more for inpatient procedures than outpatient.

They were going to put me on something milder, but I also had a fistula, so that was why they decided on Remicade (or Humira...I decided on Remicade).

Hope you avoid surgery, and good luck to you too!
 
I got billed 6k for one visit and like 4k for the other. I was told it was so much because I didn't go to a network hospital. However, the closest actual network hospital is about thirty minutes away. I can't even go to the hospital in the city where I reside and work at. It's the most absurd thing I ever heard. Am I supposed to not go to the nearest hospital during an emergency because they aren't in their "network". It's pretty ridiculous you have to fight tooth and nail to even get needed procedures done. I'm not saying I really have an answer but man, it sure is frustrating going from being healthy and debt free to sick and close to ten thousand dollars in debt in less than two months.
What's even nuttier is that if you told them you didn't have insurance they probably would have billed you at the cash payment rate which is 1/3 of insurance rate. I was quoted $4,000 for MRI if I paid cash same day or if they sent me a bill it would be t the insurance rate of $13,900.
 
Oh yeah, that is true. If you are willing to pay cash upfront, they wont charge as much for procedures, but still it would be expensive.

Aloe: that is horrible that they could not complete the scope and you were charged the full amount. Honestly, I dont think my insurnace would cover a colonoscopy that soon after they just paid for one.They do not care whether it was completed or not unfortunately. You might want to check with your insurance company first just to make sure they will cover it again so soon after the first one.

I had an MRE done and they charged over $6000. I also just had a CT scan done when in the ER which they charged over $5000 for it. These tests are sooo expensive. They charge sooo much for these tests that when I first got the order for the MRE, my insurance denied it immediately! My doctors office had to spend like 3 hours on the phone back and fourth convincing them I needed the test. It is all the fault of the hospitals for charging so frickin much for these tests. I mean honestly,I wont do tests unless they are like absolutely nessasary. I could not afford to do test after test.

I am so disgusted with the way out health care system is here. I mean bottom line is, you cannot afford to get sick here in the States. If you do, your screwed! My good friend lost her home due to being sick! She now lives with her 80 year old mom and dad. People should NOT lose their homes because they are sick!! THat is terrible....






What's even nuttier is that if you told them you didn't have insurance they probably would have billed you at the cash payment rate which is 1/3 of insurance rate. I was quoted $4,000 for MRI if I paid cash same day or if they sent me a bill it would be t the insurance rate of $13,900.
 
Location
Ohio
What i don't understand is how it all got to be this way. Less than 75 years ago people did not purchase insurance to pay for medicine. They went to the doctor and they paid him. My dad told me that the bill for my mom to have my brother and I in the hospital was around $300. She stayed several days. I was born in 1968. Medical care is a necessity like groceries. The price of food has gone up but we don't purchase insurance policies for a loaf of bread or have to make payments to the grocery store. Where was the turning point? When did it become impossible for a regular person to pay for a visit to the doctor? Like the article Johnny linked, it's not so much who is paying but why in the world the cost is so impossible.
 
I was born in 1969, and I've wondered the same thing. Did Americans even have to have health insurance before the 70's and 80's? Was the medical system considered "broken" back then? It seemed like it was doing fine before the 80's, but then all of a sudden everything went haywire. I wonder the same thing...what happened? And how did we all get so screwed? I read about how things are for Canadians and Europeans with healthcare, and just want to cry. I wish doctors and hospitals would just reject all the insurance BS, and charge reasonable prices to people without insurance. Then we could all cut out the insurance and go back to the way things used to be before it got "broken." Why don't they do that?
 
Because the system is full of corruption. If you think about it, waaaay back in the day, I mean when people use to pay the local doctor with a meal or even a chicken, well back in that day, doctors actually CARED about people. They were in it for the love of helping people. Dont get me wrong, there may still be one or two doctors out there who actually care, but it is all about the money and greed now. It is so sad. It is like the domino effect. The whole medical system got blown way out of hand. What has to happen is that the goverment has to put laws into effect where hospitals can only charge a certain amount. I mean NO more price gouging. There is NO reason on earth that a MRI should cost over $6000! I mean this is insane.

My sons friend who is 21 years old has crohns disease. He was dx when he was 16. He has not been on any meds for 4 years now. He is doing ok thankfully, but he told me he has no insurance at all and cannot afford to go to the the doctor let alone do any tests. So he is just going along hoping for the best. I mean what esle can he do. He even said it does not matter as he could NEVER afford the meds they use anyhow. I mean remicade here is $4000 per infusion, and humira is $ 6000 per infusion. That is a crock really. I mean there is no way any med is worth that kind of money unless it is made of gold and even then not worth it.

There are sooo many things wrong with this country and world that it is going to take a whole lot for things to change. The one big thing that is fueling our horrible health care system is greed. Everyone wants more and more. They are more interested in money than in the patients sadly. I mean I just wonder how many people have underwent needless tests and even surgeries because they were misled by greedy doctors??? Seriously, it makes you wonder. I have lost a lot of my trust...












I was born in 1969, and I've wondered the same thing. Did Americans even have to have health insurance before the 70's and 80's? Was the medical system considered "broken" back then? It seemed like it was doing fine before the 80's, but then all of a sudden everything went haywire. I wonder the same thing...what happened? And how did we all get so screwed? I read about how things are for Canadians and Europeans with healthcare, and just want to cry. I wish doctors and hospitals would just reject all the insurance BS, and charge reasonable prices to people without insurance. Then we could all cut out the insurance and go back to the way things used to be before it got "broken." Why don't they do that?
 
Oh and also my primary care doctor( she is one of the very few Good doctors that are left I think), she told me that doctors are TOLD to push tests on their patients. They also are in cahoots with the pharmacy and are told to prescribe certain meds to patients( even if they really do not need them). This is sad, but it is true. It is all about the money...These days we have to be our own advocates when it comes to making decisions when it comes to our health. It is not like back in the day where you could actually take your doctors word and know your best interest is their best interest.
 
A main driver for why health care is as costly as it is in the US, is similar to why college has become terribly expensive - easy money policies.

With University costs, decades ago our government decided it would benefit society if there were more college graduates. Back then the program made sense. More highly trained American has led the creation of new inventions, and good economic times for our country in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s. The problem has been with the flush of new students and with it more money, many Universities didn't invest into improving their education services. Instead many have invested largely into ways to attract more students. Expensive frivolities such as pools, golf courses, gyms, etc all cost money to create and run. Additionally University administrations have become bloated. As a result, today, with the high cost of obtaining a degree, around 30% of college graduates have defaulted on paying their student loans. That number is growing.

It is similar with our medical system. With our 3rd payment system, whether with private insurance or with government services such as Medicare and Medicaid, hospitals found themselves swamped with new money. With that, funds were invested into new technology, which costs money to purchase and operate. Additionally, few people shop around comparing prices when payment is being handled by insurance or with a government agency. The end result is a medical system that is not affordable.

The current expensive system that we have created can not last. It will bankrupt young Americans in particular. The most recent person to sound the warning whistle, a top investor for George Soros was warning about this looming issue the other day.

"George Soros’s Top Investor Warns the Young That a Worse Crash Is Coming"

http://blogs.the-american-interest....warns-the-young-that-a-worse-crash-is-coming/

I believe that if we hope to see lower costs, people will need to be given choices when it comes to their medical care, with incentives to shop around and save.

One idea I've seen that has been tried in lowering medical costs was by the retailer Whole Foods. I though it looked interesting. An article on what Whole Foods did ~

"Control Your Own Health Care"

http://www.creators.com/opinion/john-stossel/control-your-own-health-care.html

Additionally, while new technology has added to medical costs. Recent new technology, if used, can lower and improve our health care system. For example ~

"The Doctor’s In…Your Computer"

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/02/14/the-doctors-in-your-computer/
 
I was born in 1954. Drs. cared about patients, they would even make house calls. It was a real profession back then.

I feel the decline in the medical system started to detoriate when Drs. and hospitals began advertising on TV. (I believe the advertising started in the 80's) Also, then the pharmaceutical companies started advertising on TV. At that point the professionalism seemed to go out the window and was replaced with what we have today - a non-professional, greedy system that lacks humanity.

Jac
 
Would be nice if healthcare is cheaper but I don't know if it helps if medicine is cheaper. I think the fact there is expensive medicine, especially for crohn's disease is better than if all medication for crohn's disease was cheap. It allows the creation of different market segments and more research, for example in China they can not afford most of the medication used in the West and since crohn's disease is on the rise there they tend to employ other methods which then creates more research which then benefits the West as a result.

For example, Europe is going through an economic crisis in Spain, Italy, Greece, 40% of young people unemployed, there are people with crohn's disease in those regions, but the state can't afford or carry the burden. So there is pressure from Europe now more than before to create new more effective, safer and cheaper medication for crohn's disease.

The fact some medication is expensive tends to create different market segments, I think it can be a good thing.
 
With high debt levels around the world, we are likely to see new innovations in lowering medical costs. I've seen that mentioned a number of times lately, about this being a growth area. What is likely to happen is with less resources available, special interest groups will be fighting over what is left. We've been seeing that here in the US when cities go bankrupt. I know for government medical funding, the current administration cut out IBD research from its proposed budget. That budget was not approved, but gives a sense of what is going occurring. Additionally, drug creation regulations have become so numerous that it now costs on average over 1 billion dollars to create a new pharmaceutical. There has been talk of finding ways to lower these research costs.

There was an idea proposed the other day that read on eliminating phase 3 trial testing, and instead replacing this with a market system.

"FDA Crushing Pharmaceutical Growth"

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/03/01/fda-crushing-pharmaceutical-growth/

One dietary sight that I'm a fan of, when it comes to heart disease prevention, has been helpful in lowering businesses medical costs. I believe the doctors mention at the end of the article fairly accurate also if we hope to in general lower medical expenses.

"Track Your Plaque reduces healthcare costs 35%"

http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2010/05/track-your-plaque-reduces-healthcare-costs-35.html
 
I am sorry, but it is JOKE that any pharmacautical drug can cost $4000 tp $6000! That is just it, it is NOT just crohns meds either. I was standing in line picking up a prescription a few weeks back and this older lady in front of me was picking up her meds. Well I heard the pharmacist tell her that it would be $470 or something dollars! The lady was like, Oh I have insurance, you need to run it through. The pharmacist told her, "oh we already ran it through, that is what you owe after your insurance covered their part!". The lady was in shock. I mean she tried telling the pharmacist that she was retired and on a fixed income and could not afford to pay that much. I felt so bad for her. I mean it was a heart medication of some sort from what the lady said. She had to leave without her prescription because she could not afford it. I mean who the hell could afford $400+ dollars for one prescription???

I dont think jacking the prices of these meds do anything beneficial for anyone. All it does is lines the pockets of these crooks that are taking advantage of sick and sometimes desperate people!!







Would be nice if healthcare is cheaper but I don't know if it helps if medicine is cheaper. I think the fact there is expensive medicine, especially for crohn's disease is better than if all medication for crohn's disease was cheap. It allows the creation of different market segments and more research, for example in China they can not afford most of the medication used in the West and since crohn's disease is on the rise there they tend to employ other methods which then creates more research which then benefits the West as a result.

For example, Europe is going through an economic crisis in Spain, Italy, Greece, 40% of young people unemployed, there are people with crohn's disease in those regions, but the state can't afford or carry the burden. So there is pressure from Europe now more than before to create new more effective, safer and cheaper medication for crohn's disease.

The fact some medication is expensive tends to create different market segments, I think it can be a good thing.
 
Just an FYI.... nothing is ever "free". lol Also, you can work out deals with hospitals. Hospitals that I work with usually write things off or assist with a charity group if you make too much for medicaid.
 
I'm not saying our system is perfect, but the majority of hospitals in my province are public, government owned and operated institutions, so that keeps the prices realistic. We are automatically enrolled in a free provincial health insurance plan at birth, which covers most things. People with private insurance get their meds, semiprivate, dental, vision etc. that I have to pay for. I think I paid $80 for the ambulance ride, $15 for a cane, and now that I'm home I have to pay for most of my meds. I get some assistance for meds, since I can only work part time now. 60 tabs of Cipro is $265.
Yes, taxes pay for that, but our taxes are not as high as some European countries. We also have a much lower crime rate, good education system, I could go on. It should not cost half a million when you end up in the hospital, that's obscene.
 
Facilities and physicians offices charge whatever they want for anything but most of it gets adjusted off because of contracts. Since fee schedules differ facilities and offices charge a high number to get as much as possible from ins carriers. For example, my office charges $125 for a subsequent hospital visit but if we have a self-pay patient, that charge gets cut to the Medicare allowable fee instead of placing the full balance into pt responsiblity. I suspect that hospitals do not adjust their fees until you ask them to since the volume is so extensive (just my theory as to why). But believe me, I've had patients tell me how their $25,000 hospital bill was cut down to about $2000 because they were self-pay.

Moral of the story: don't ever settle. Communicate with hospitals because they just wanna get paid -- not bankrupt you. Though... I can't say the same for insurance and big pharma.
 
I still remember about 6 years ago I had to have a prodedure ( a cystoscopy with biopsies taken). I was put to sleep for this procedure. Well I got a bill aterwards for about $ 8000. Well my insurnace covered part of it, but I still owed in the end like close to $ 2,800. Well I did fill out that charity thing that some hospitals have. They did take some of the bill off but I still ended up having to pay like $800. Well I called the hospital and told them I would have to make payments monthly ( At the time I could only afford like $75 a month). The hospital actually told me NO, that they would NOT accept that, that I had to pay at least $ 250 a month!!! THey would NOT budge. I was told if I did not pay their amount I would sent to a collection agency! It was awful at the time because we had A lot of other bills. So yeah, maybe some hospitals will work with you, but I did not have that experience. I mean I always thought that as long as you pay something you are ok. Apparently not as I was told they would Not accept anything less than the $ 250. It was ridiculous!

Sorry, but they do NOT care whether or not they bankrupt you. My good friend lost her HOME due to medical bills. They do Not Care! They want their money and they dont care who gets hurt in the long run... I mean it is a sad day when I am having severe pain to the point where I can barely walk( and I have a very high pain tolerance) but in the back of my mind I have to question whether or not I should go to the ER. I cant just get up and go, I know that will result in a bill for over $10,000. I mean sure, our insruance will cover part, but I will definitely be resopnsible for a large chunk of that bill. The hospitals do not usually write stuff off all the time. Yeah, sometimes they do when people wont pay or cannot pay, then yes it gets written off, but that is after they have made sure your credit is in the toilet! It is frickin sad.







Facilities and physicians offices charge whatever they want for anything but most of it gets adjusted off because of contracts. Since fee schedules differ facilities and offices charge a high number to get as much as possible from ins carriers. For example, my office charges $125 for a subsequent hospital visit but if we have a self-pay patient, that charge gets cut to the Medicare allowable fee instead of placing the full balance into pt responsiblity. I suspect that hospitals do not adjust their fees until you ask them to since the volume is so extensive (just my theory as to why). But believe me, I've had patients tell me how their $25,000 hospital bill was cut down to about $2000 because they were self-pay.

Moral of the story: don't ever settle. Communicate with hospitals because they just wanna get paid -- not bankrupt you. Though... I can't say the same for insurance and big pharma.
 
They told you "no"??? Jesus... that's when you ask for a supervisor. It would take you less than a yr with that amt. There's no reason for that. Go to the president if that's what it takes. You should be able to make copies of your income chks to prove that that's the amt you could pay monthly.
 
Yeah, you would think they would have accepted the $75 a month, but no_Oh believe me, I tried talking to the higher up authority but I just got the run around. In the end I ended up borrowing the money from my dad. I mean was ridiculous. I just hate how the medical system treats the people here in the US. It is just awful. I find equivalent to getting robbed, just without a gun..








They told you "no"??? Jesus... that's when you ask for a supervisor. It would take you less than a yr with that amt. There's no reason for that. Go to the president if that's what it takes. You should be able to make copies of your income chks to prove that that's the amt you could pay monthly.
 
We spoke with the hospital over my $2000 colonoscopy bill, but no one was willing to give us any sort of break whatsoever. We probably could have arranged payments though.
 
It's messed up. I've seen so many news segments about how hospitals are being taken over by for-profit corps. which commit all sorts of fraud and consider pts nothing but commodities. There is no reason why hospitals should enslave you. If anyone is in desperate need of help though, please feel free to pm me and I'll do anything I can to help you fight these bastards. After learning the in's-and-out's of all types of med billing, hospitals, and insurance, I'm pretty comfortable with getting what I want.
 
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