The nice thing about the out-of-control costs of health care is that, if you write editorials for a living, there basically is a constant flow of horror stories.
So you never have to look very far for a topic.
In October 2010, a front-page story in The Maui News detailed how Hawaii had reached an $82 million settlement with drug companies for overcharging for Medicaid prescriptions from 1993 to 2006.
Now, mind you, the story doesn't say $82 million is all the drug companies overcharged the state - this is merely the settlement amount. The drug companies didn't admit any liability, saying they were settling only "to avoid the uncertainty and expense of litigation."
The story cited an example where the Medicaid program paid $1,480 for an ulcer medicine that was available for $27.70.
Oops, honest mistake. We accidentally charged you 53 times more than we were supposed to. If you bought this newspaper at a store, we hope they didn't charge you $39.75 for it. Or if they tried to, that you at least noticed this mistake.
That is the trouble with our health care system. So many dollars are going through it - and that money is increasing by double-digit percentages every year - that there are uncountable chances for mistakes and fraud.
As the story stated, the cost of prescription drugs in Hawaii's Medicaid program went from $45 million in 1999 to $117 million in 2004. We'd bet it has at least doubled again since then.
Sadly, there is no end in sight. Tonight, we'll all settle in to watch drug company commercials telling us to "ask your doctor" if the newest drug is right for you.
Too many of us will respond and ask our doctor. The turning of the U.S. into a nation of hypochondriacs will proceed, and the waste and fraud will go on unchecked.
(A version of this editorial has appeared previously in The Maui News.)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.