9/19/2013 2:00 PM ET|
Facts about outsized US health care spending
The rising cost of medical care is chewing up an increasingly large share of the economy, especially when compared with other advanced countries.
By virtually any measure, America spends far more on health care than any other country in the world. Yet the outcomes here are not necessarily better.
For example U.S. life expectancy is well below that of Japan, Canada, Israel and most Western European countries, according to the CIA’s World Factbook.
Similarly the U.S. infant mortality rate of 5.9 per 1,000 live births is higher than the rate in dozens of countries including Japan, which has a rate of about 2.2 per 1,000.
With the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, kicking into high gear in October, many consumers are looking more closely than ever at the high cost of health care and the wildly disparate prices charged by different providers for similar treatments.
Click ahead to see more details about our health care costs and how they compare with those elsewhere in the world.
A rising share of GDP
U.S. spending on health care has grown steadily from 4.4% of gross domestic product in 1950 to 17.9% in 2011, and it is expected to keep rising. By 2021, health care could consume $1 of every $5 produced by the entire economy, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 was motivated by a decades-long concern about the rising cost of health care, but it is far from clear whether the law will do much to stem the increase. Some experts say the increasing transparency of medical costs could put growing pressure on providers.
Theoretically, reducing the number of uninsured Americans and providing more preventive coverage also could slow the seemingly inexorable rise. But the jury is out, and experts say it will be years before the impact of the law on the cost of health care will be known.
Outspending the world
On a per-capita basis, Americans spend twice as much on health care as most Western Europeans do, and up to four times as much as residents of some less developed countries do. Yet even less developed countries such as Greece and Jordan boast longer life expectancy than the United States.
A World Health Organization report, published in 2000 then discontinued due to complexity, ranked the United States No. 37 out of 191 countries assessed for overall quality of their health care systems.
Critics say any such comparisons are biased and that all countries wrestle with the cost of increasingly complex medical treatments and procedures.
A puzzling price model
Many eyes have been opened recently by government data highlighting the incredible disparity of pricing charged by different providers for similar medical treatments and procedures.
NerdWallet has built a Web tool that allows consumer to compare the average cost of a procedure at providers in various locations.
For example, the hospital charge for a typical knee replacement in the Cleveland area ranges from an average $15,465 at an orthopedic center in Akron, Ohio, to more than $50,000 at the renowned Cleveland Clinic. The service, powered by government data, can be a useful tool for consumers, especially in the case of elective procedures.
The disparity is even greater when prices are compared with markets overseas. For example, a New York Times story in June focused on colonoscopies, which typically cost insurers more than $3,500 in the United States, compared with much less than $1,000 in many developed countries.
More on Obamacare and you from MSN Money:
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One big problem is drug companies are geared toward treating symptoms and there is little incentive to cure a patient. We have an aging population and Alzheimer's and diabetes is reaching almost epidemic proportions. I personally believe much of this is due to the way we consume frankenfoods that our bodies were not designed to assimilate. Obesity among Americans is a problem for many, and and we spend more time in passive activities with the digital age we live in, myself included.
I worked at a major hospital for over 30 years. Every step in the process is geared to make money. For profit hospitals, insurance companies that need to make profits, unbelievable waste, and the list goes on. The other bloggers here make excellent points also. No one has the political will to do much about this, let alone our spineless politicians. All I can say is good luck!
Why does your employer have anything to do with your health insurance anyway? You don't get employer-subsidized group trash collection plans, do you? How about group fire rescue plans? Group police protection plans? Group education to the 12th grade plans?
How can you shop around for the best price on health care when hospitals/doctors won't show their prices? If your son falls from the monkeybars and fractures his wrist, are you going to start calling around, while he's screaming in pain, to various orthopedists to see which one will set his fracture at the lowest price? What kind of a parent are you anyway?
Why are teeth (dental) and eyes (vision) considered separate entities? If you fracture your tooth, you have to use dental insurance. If you facture your ankle, though, you don't have to use separate orthopedic insurance, right? What's next? Separate insurance for your skin? (Dermatological plan)
Price control (socialize) necessities like fire rescue, police protection, education to the 12th grade, trash collection and, yes, health care. Leave the free marked to luxuries like BMWs, in-ground pools, lawn care and trips to Europe.
Remember, you choose to buy a car (luxury). You don't choose to undergo an appendectomy (necessity).
November 28, 2012 from dailymail.co.uk by Sue Reid and
Now sick babies go on death pathway:
Doctor's haunting testimony reveals how
children are put on end-of-life plan
One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to
death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.
To begin to fix health care:
1. Cut out the middleman by shutting down all health insurance companies. (rip-off admin costs)Save 10%
2. Limit doctor pay (they are not celebrities). Save 5%
3. Ban for profit hospitals Save 5%
4. Some services and drugs must be paid 100% by patients: viagra, new joints, wheel chairs, diseases caused by their lifestyle, etc. Save 10%
5. $1500 deductable for everyone. Save 5%
6. Lower the patent period drug companies get on new drugs to 5 years. Save 3%
That's about a 38% savings right there and I'm sure another 12% could be found easily to make it an even 50%.
October 31, 2012 from telegraph.co.uk by John Bingham
NHS millions for controversial care pathway
The majority of NHS hospitals in England are being
given financial rewards for placing terminally-ill
patients on a controversial “pathway” to death, it
can be disclosed.
Think about the day your 'health' is dependent upon the governments debt and deficit and waste. And keep in mind, not just any government - OUR government!
Around 50% of US healthcare costs go into the last 6 months of life, often without real benefit (except pain control) to the patient. Unnecessary tests (CT scans every 2 months for terminally ill patients with metastatic cancer, etc, because that is the "protocol"...) In my particular medical field (radiology) about a third of what I do is really indicated, necessary and useful, about a third "justifiable" and possibly useful but not really "necessary", and about a third total waste, often generated by fears of lawsuits if the 1-in-a-thousand happens. (And, unfortunately, I have no control over whether the tests are performed or not.) And, by the way, for those of you who have been charge $500-1000 for a CT scan (as an example) the radiologist who interprets the exam (which may have 400-2000 individual images nowadays) will get paid $20-50; the rest goes for overhead, depreciation, indigent/no pay care, etc...oh, yes, and institution profit...nearly forgot about that part.
Personally, I think many physicians, if they had the chance to finish their training (at 30 years old, typically) wihtout 200k debt, would be very happy to be in a single-payer system with rational income and work hours and auxiliary personnel to handle the paperwork, red tape, etc. Personally, when I was in the military (Army) and, later, working as a civilian for the Air Force, I was the happiest with my job...sure, less money than in private practice, but a pleasant environment, others to handle the paperwork and, thus, allow me/us to practice medicine the way we felt best...which we did, very efficiently and capably.
As to those who think doctors make tons of money...sure, a few do...but compare those few to celebrities who make millions just by "being a celebrity", top-level athletes, etc...no comparison.
It doesn't matter if my out of pocket expense is 8000 compared to 4000 out of pocket and taxed another 4000, either way the full 8000 is coming out of my pocket one way or another.
i think we do need to get rid of the middle man in healthcare though. the insurance companies are hugely profitable. if you are going to force me to buy health coverage then you better make sure i can buy it without having to go through 3 different organizations that each are taking a share of my money!
August 25, 2009 from money.usnews.com by Rick Newman
Why Health Insurers Make Lousy Villains
February 24, 2011 from washingtonpost.com by Ezra Kline
Health-insurance industry: Still not that profitable
Dr. recalls every three months for fallow up checkup. There is no positive
result of it. Instead ask them to call every 4-months.That will save government,
Insurance companies, medicare, medcaid and patients 25% over all.
Tell GOP this is real cost reduction; rather sequester.
December 12, 2012 from telegraph.co.uk by Laura Donnelly
Half of those on Liverpool Care Pathway never told
The study suggests that in total, around 57,000 patients a year
are dying in NHS hospitals without being told that efforts to
keep them alive have been stopped.
It also reveals that thousands of dying patients have been left to
suffer in pain, with no attempt to keep them comfortable while
drugs were administered.
Before all the conservative trolls and/or Obama haters pipe in, examine these facts:
1) The individual mandate is, in fact, a conservative idea, hatched by the Heritage foundation and endorsed by many Republicans during the congressional debates on the ACA.
2) By and large, Republican members of Congress DID NOT WANT a single payer system and DID WANT private insurance companies to be involved. They INSITED that the single payer option be taken off the table. This option would have had the best chance of controlling costs.. The Democrats heeded both these requests, but the Republicans reneged and didn't vote for the bill.
3) Prior to President Reagan, Health Insurers had to be not-for profit. You can see what has happened to costs as a percentage of GDP since.
The result is we have an imperfect bill, far less inclusive than the one Pesident Nixon offered and our only hope is that the government can brow beat providers into charging world market reasonable prices for their services.
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