Health-care costs soar at an unsustainable pace

Health-care cost trends in this country are unsustainable and are driving a whole range of major challenges, from our growing federal and state budget problems to the competitiveness of U.S. business in international markets to the decline in the economic power of the middle and working classes.

Take a look. The first chart, below, comes from a Kaiser Foundation report just released today. It found that health-insurance premiums had risen 113 percent between 2001 and 2011, and worker contributions to health insurance had risen by 131 percent. Family health-insurance premiums rose by 9 percent alone in 2011.

healthcost

The second chart, based on the most recent data from the 34-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, documents the disadvantage this country faces internationally. We do not, by most measures, have the world’s greatest health-care system, but we undoubtedly have the most expensive. These trends constitute a major “tax” on our nation’s productivity, competitiveness and quality of life.

Chart by Jay Bookman, AJC

Chart by Jay Bookman, AJC

The countries listed above are representative of trends in most of the OECD. They manage to provide health care to their elderly and their poor, and do so at much cheaper cost. What do they know that we don’t? Are we so handcuffed by jingoism and inertia — an inertia compounded by those who profit quite nicely from the current system, and want no change — that we are incapable of responding?

– Jay Bookman

320 comments Add your comment

dave

September 28th, 2011
11:18 am

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:20 am

IT’S OBAMA’S FAULT!

Just thought I’d get that out of the way. No need to thank me wingnuts.

Gale

September 28th, 2011
11:20 am

One wonders if the stocks of the insurance companies in this country might make a good investment choice. /snark

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:21 am

“What do they know that we don’t?”

That healthcare is a right of it’s citizens and should be paid for by the government.

Just saying.

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:22 am

And people, also just saying…

…THIS is why businesses aren’t hiring.

stands for decibels

September 28th, 2011
11:27 am

Thank you for once again patiently explaining the obvious, Jay.

Joe the Plutocrat

September 28th, 2011
11:28 am

this is one market in which demand (I want to live forever). Americans need to boycott all healthcare and accept death as part of life. accidents happen, and when they do, pay as you go. personally, I don’t participate in this ruse for the same reason I don’t gamble in casinos, or place wagers on football games; the house always wins, and the same holds true in healthcare. when “living” became a for-profit enterprise, Pandora’s box was opened.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
11:28 am

Bosch – When did I get a right to someone else’s time? I wasn’t aware of that. I thought I paid for the privilege of taking some of his/her time. Didn’t realize it was a right.

jm

September 28th, 2011
11:29 am

Jay, at least this one doesn’t stray from the facts….. all true so far.

Rising healthcare costs are a problem for workers (low income growth) and for the companies.

That is the argument for a need to change the system. There is no doubt it needs changing. Only question is how.

md

September 28th, 2011
11:29 am

Yet, the answer seems to be to force everybody to pay the middle man………..

makes sense to someone………………

jm

September 28th, 2011
11:30 am

Related and insightful. Does not blame Obamacare for the bulk of the increase, for paranoid liberals scared to read anything from Bloomberg.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-27/health-benefit-costs-rise-most-in-six-years-surpassing-15-000-per-family.html

larry

September 28th, 2011
11:30 am

Everyone wonders why jobs are being produced overseas? This is one of the reasons why. Companies dont have to worry about health care costs for their employees . Thus, its one of the reasons labor is cheaper overseas.

Maybe one of these days the Repubs will figure this out.

Joe COOL

September 28th, 2011
11:30 am

OBAMACARE’s Fault! lol

Sean

September 28th, 2011
11:31 am

Well.. Its all about personal responsibility. Right? If you dont buy health insurance, then you get NO medical care… if you die you die…

I am sure many republicans think that because they usually have insurance through a job or medicare.

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:32 am

“When did I get a right to someone else’s time?”

Did you attend public school? If your house catches fire, will you put it out yourself?

Halftrack

September 28th, 2011
11:36 am

This is what we get when Journalist and Congress does not vett Bills & Politicians. All this data, except for very recent history was available for those who cared the most and wanted to use it. It’s little things like ” we have to pass it before you’ll know what’s in it. A pig in a poke sack is always a bad deal, its a given basic. Americans are on an unsustainable path on many topics. The next slow down may be a complete bust???

Trotsky Foxtrot

September 28th, 2011
11:37 am

Gotta love that good old free enterprise. It’s obviously working just beautifully (for the Stephen J. Hemsleys of the world).

Big Brother

September 28th, 2011
11:37 am

Not to worry. We’re all going to have free health care in 2014. It’s a change you can believe in! Yes we can and yes we did!

Peadawg

September 28th, 2011
11:39 am

Thank goodness that some of the AHCA previsions have gone into affect! Without Obamacare it would be so much worse!!!

:roll:

Trotsky Foxtrot

September 28th, 2011
11:39 am

Obviously the health market in the United States is proving one basic truth in spades, the fact that the purpose of capitalism is to make the already wealthy — people like UnitedHealth Group Inc. chairman Stephen J. Hemsley — even more fabulously wealthy.

Since when was actually serving the needs of the people its main priority?

So let us not be shocked when the system fails to provide affordable health care and succeeds in lining the pockets of the Stephen J. Hemsleys of the world. It’s no accident.

Butch Cassidy

September 28th, 2011
11:40 am

Wow, how did Obama manage to increase the cost of health care going back to 2001?

Strawman

September 28th, 2011
11:40 am

“We do not, by most measures, have the world’s greatest health-care system, but we undoubtedly have the most expensive. ”

Care to substantiate this claim? Otherwise, your column represents a very simplistic analysis, Jay. Why tackle such a big topic in such a small space? You should know better than that.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
11:41 am

Bosch – Yeah, I attended 3. And if my house caught fire, I might pay them to look the other way, cause that is the only way I’m getting my mortgage paid off. But honestly, I pay for the fire department to come out to my house if it catches fire. Just like right now, if I go to the doctor, I pay for that too. I take responsibility for my own health, and buy my own insurance. If there was the option to opt out of paying for fire service or opting in (like the small town in TN that got in the news a year or two back), I wouldn’t be foolish/naive enough to not pay for it and then expect them to come out and take care of my house anyway. I don’t know, I guess it is just a difference in our beliefs.

duder

September 28th, 2011
11:41 am

There’s a pill for everything these days and doctors that are more than happy to prescribe them…what a surprise that healthcare costs have skyrocketed when people need Rx’s for restless leg syndrome and the like.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
11:44 am

duder – There is also a medical malpractice attorney for everyone too. Could possibly be another factor.

Paulo977

September 28th, 2011
11:44 am

Bosch

“If your house catches fire, will you put it out yourself?”

No of course not, he is GOD’S chosen !

jm

September 28th, 2011
11:44 am

“Chart by Jay Bookman, AJC”

Uh oh. Jay knows excel. :)

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
11:46 am

Oh, and Bosch – my sister would put the fire at my house out. Supposedly she’s good at it, I know I gave her plenty of chances to practice as a child. :)

Joe the Plutocrat

September 28th, 2011
11:46 am

hey, anyone notice the price of gasoline has dropped about 10% (.40/gallon) since whenever? you think maybe the fact that Americans are not driving to work (because they’re unemployed), or because they would rather spend $50/week on food, as opposed to fuel, so they take MARTA, carpool, or bike; might have something to do with this? the problem is; people can’t “choose” to not have an accident, and choose to not require more healthcare as they age; and guess what, the insurance companies and providers know this. I have not been to the doctor since 2005 and I have not had health insurance since 2007. I enjoy my life; I eat right and excercise (’cept when I don’t), which is my decision, but when the grim reaper comes calling; all the CAT scans and meds (’best healthcare in the world’), or even ‘death chambers staffed by burecrats’ ain’t preventing the inevitable.

Strawman

September 28th, 2011
11:47 am

“Rising healthcare costs are a problem for workers (low income growth) and for the companies. That is the argument for a need to change the system. There is no doubt it needs changing. Only question is how.”

Agreed. So what would be useful towards that end is a study of how health care dollars are spent. For example, how much money is spent by physicians for liability insurance? How much money is overspent on overpriced medical goods and services? How much money is spent (at hospital ERs) to treat people here illegally? How much profit do medical insurance companies make? How much money is spent on unnecessary procedures? And so on…

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:47 am

irRational,
We determine, as a society, what we want to pay for with our taxes, we decided a long time ago to educate our children with them, and to build a police and fire force, and so on.

Considering that all people get sick and need health care, it is unfathomable to me, that people do not see the benefit of providing that service to all.

It is unfathomable (I like that word) to me that this industry is not allowed to operate under the basic tenants of economics where the producer of services and the consumer do not determine the price of the products they sell and provide.

It is unfathomable to me that businesses should spend part of their profits providing health insurance for their employees when they could be re-investing it back in their enterprises and using that to expand and hire people.

md

September 28th, 2011
11:47 am

“If your house catches fire, will you put it out yourself?”

Ever wonder why our benevolent gov’t has a problem with houses catching on fire, but no problem during flooding?? For that, they charge extra………………….

Stonethrower

September 28th, 2011
11:48 am

Actually the cost for drugs is going down due to generics. The bottom line for any business or industry is $$$$$. You wanna live then pay.

Libertarian

September 28th, 2011
11:49 am

The rest of us pay more because of the uninsured, illegal immigrants, and the poor. Those of us who have insurance are subsidizing their care. Also, we have insane lawsuits against doctors which contributes to higher premiums.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
11:49 am

Bosch – We both see a problem, but you see government as the solution. I don’t.

Mick

September 28th, 2011
11:50 am

All insurance is becoming unsustainable – homeowners, car, life. If only wages would increase thusly…

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:51 am

“but you see government as the solution”

I do? Where?

No, I really don’t — I don’t see them as the solution to providing the healthcare, just paying for it.

Bosch

September 28th, 2011
11:52 am

In the words of Adam…

…LUNCH!!!

Generation$crewed

September 28th, 2011
11:52 am

Enter your comments here

Strawman

September 28th, 2011
11:52 am

“Considering that all people get sick and need health care, it is unfathomable to me, that people do not see the benefit of providing that service to all.”

I doubt anyone would say that people should not have access decent, affordable healthcare. I personally have a problem with government being heavily involved in providing it, however, because I can’t see where government does much of anything well or efficiently. There’s a number of reasons for that, which I won’t get into now.

Joe Mama

September 28th, 2011
11:53 am

jm — “for paranoid liberals scared to read anything from Bloomberg.”

Come now. Don’t be a jerk. I read Bloomberg almost daily.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
11:53 am

Bosch – That is still using government as the solution.

Strawman

September 28th, 2011
11:55 am

“Does not blame Obamacare for the bulk of the increase, for paranoid liberals scared to read anything from Bloomberg.”

JM, did you not mean to say “panicked” liberals ? ;-)

Southern Comfort

September 28th, 2011
12:00 pm

It found that health-insurance premiums had risen 113 percent between 2001 and 2011, and worker contributions to health insurance had risen by 131 percent. Family health-insurance premiums rose by 9 percent alone in 2011.

Damn, so why is it that a brother has to get the shaft? My premiums have gone up around 280% since 2005. Somebody’s always tryin’ to keep a brother down. :)

Joe Mama

September 28th, 2011
12:00 pm

Libertarian — “Also, we have insane lawsuits against doctors which contributes to higher premiums.”

How dare victims of medical malpractice seek redress through the courts? Don’t they know that they’re just selfishly raising costs for the rest of us? :roll:

Paul

September 28th, 2011
12:00 pm

“We do not, by most measures, have the world’s greatest health-care system, but we undoubtedly have the most expensive. ”

Let the blustering begin!

Health insurance premiums rise by 133 percent. Worker contributions rise by 131 percent. Who’s getting squeezed? Oh yeah, it’s like a tax cut for corporations since they unloaded costs, so it’s a good thing.

“What do they know that we don’t?”

That any time you have two systems designed to deliver the same product, and one system has a third of revenue going to middlemen and the other one doesn’t, that one will be lots more expensive than the other?

Southern Comfort

September 28th, 2011
12:01 pm

Yet, the answer seems to be to force everybody to pay the middle man………..

makes sense to someone………………

Only to the middleman and the campaigns that he funds.

Jay

September 28th, 2011
12:01 pm

Document it, Strawman?

Sure, I’d be glad to do so. Which metric would you care to use?

Unnecessary deaths that could have been prevented with health care? US 15th out of 20.

Infant mortality? Life expectancy? Treatment of chronic conditions? We lag well behind in all those categories.

Waiting time? We’re pretty good on that one, but Canada beats us.

Access to care denied because of costs? It happens here at 3 times the rate in Canada, and 8 times the rate in the UK.

There’s a lot more to found at http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Fund-Reports/2008/Jul/Why-Not-the-Best–Results-from-the-National-Scorecard-on-U-S–Health-System-Performance–2008.aspx

Joe the Plutocrat

September 28th, 2011
12:02 pm

Libertarian, I keep asking you to change your handle. the rest of us pay more because we are willing to pay more; period. I don’t “pay more” because I choose to not be a part of this scam. Let’s say the Braves make the post-season and get into the World Series. World Series tickets are like $500 per (for the same seat a Braves season ticket holder paid $50). Why is this? If you are a libertarian, stop blaming others for your choices in the marketplace.

pat

September 28th, 2011
12:02 pm

Thanks for the obvious. Isurance is a symptom of the problem. The actual care is what is driving up costs insurance costs. We got that creepy health care bill that drives up costs even more.
Solutions any one, or are we just going to blame bush and obama? ‘Cause that will help.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

So Co – Its me. I did it. I called and told them that I needed lower premiums, and I said “put it on So Co’s tab” and they said “will do.” ;) If we’re going strictly on what I’ve paid for my insurance since 2005, mine has gone up an infinite percent, cause my parents paid for it way back then. Now I do. So my increases in premiums have been astronomical.

jm

September 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

Joe Mama – guess you’re not a paranoid liberal then, eh? :)

Strawman – :)

Generation$crewed

September 28th, 2011
12:03 pm

Our health care cost have skyrocketted out of control over the last few years. Many by excesses being allowed to grow under the Bush Adminstration, and now new upticks in cost from fear and/or misunderstanding of the Health care reform that was passed.

However I have an idea why the cost are so low. Refusing or delaying medical services in each of these countries.

I know insurance companies do it here now… that is true only difference is I have the option to change my provider if I am unhappy. While in the countries listed in the graph it is the super wealthy who have a choice.

So yes for cheaper cost if you are for a 1 year old baby not being given a working prosthetic until she is 18 because the gov health care says it is not cost effective to have to replace as she grows. Nevermind the one they provided cuts her arm everytime she wears it.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23988874-nhs-wont-give-my-baby-girl-a-silicone-arm-until-shes-18.do

If you are for an unequal access to healthcare as in Germany where 90% wait for a visit, or even better postponed medical care if quarterly budgets are exceeded.
http://www.patientpowernow.org/2010/06/health-care-germany-rationing-inquality/

Or in Sweeden we should try to be more like. I know I want there to be guards at every doctors office to calm unruly crowds who are forced to wait for hours for medical attention or for a visit. I know I want to see more guards at my appointments…
http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2009/03/04/swedens_government_health_care/page/full/

Jefferson

September 28th, 2011
12:04 pm

At some point you too, Mr GOP know-it-alls will be left to fend for yourself and find it unaffordable. Will you spit it out then ?

Paul

September 28th, 2011
12:06 pm

Sean

“Well.. Its all about personal responsibility. Right? If you dont buy health insurance, then you get NO medical care… ”

Sorry, but…. no.

Stick around. We have plenty of people telling us that if you’re sick you can get free care in the US of A. Free hospitals, free doctors, lab tests, drugs, everything. And even charities are willing to kick in for extras. And people won’t ever get charged ’cause medical people donate it.

‘course, they never, ever say who or where we can get free care, but they assure us it’s there, so we don’t need any socialistic changes.

:-)

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:07 pm

Paul – you could just pay for it yourself, and not leave it up to the insurance companies?

getalife

September 28th, 2011
12:07 pm

When will we join the rest of the civilized world on health care?

That is the question.

moonbat betty

September 28th, 2011
12:08 pm

Raise taxes on the wealthy.

That’ll fix it.

Southern Comfort

September 28th, 2011
12:09 pm

(ir)Rational

So, you’re the one that hit me with the banana in the tailpipe, huh? :lol: :lol:

In all seriousness though, I’ve had the same plan with the same company since 2005. People think that fed workers get diamond encrusted insurance plans and all, but it’s not all things are cracked up to be.

CJ

September 28th, 2011
12:10 pm

Anybody who really cares about the federal government deficits (rather than just pretending to care about them) should care about the cost of health care in this country. We’ll never, ever get long-term deficits under control until we get serious, very serious, about the cost of health care.

duder

September 28th, 2011
12:10 pm

@Irrational

Yes, living in an overly litigious (sp.?) is clearly a factor in upward spiraling healthcare costs. God forbid that a (human) doctor make an error and be sued for 50X the value of their practice.

George P. Burdell

September 28th, 2011
12:10 pm

So when we go to this magical government system that will fix all our ills and provide healthcare to all, are we actually also going to make the 50% that pay no taxes contribute something towards the cost? Or, is the plan for the 50% of us that pay taxes now to foot the bill? There are at least 40 million Americans without health insurance right now which also means there are 40 million people who pay very little towards healthcare except on an incremental basis. When they are added to the benefits, will they actually have to pay something or is the plan to just fold them in and raise everyone else’s taxes to cover them?

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:11 pm

SoCo – I ain’t goin anywhere near your tailpipe with or without a banana.

I’ve shopped around a few times, and I realize this is one of the benefits of my youth, but I’ve been able to keep my insurance fairly cheap. The only time it wasn’t was when I was with Kaiser and didn’t realize what I was paying. Now though, I’ve got pretty decent (according to the Mrs. I don’t understand it) coverage, and pay about $800 a year for it.

stands for decibels

September 28th, 2011
12:13 pm

the 50% that pay no taxes

Bottoms up, everyone! (it’s five o’clock somewhere.)

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:16 pm

duder – Legally, they are held to a higher standard than (most of) the rest of us. But they are still human. Having said that, people should be able to get redress for the mistakes that are made that negatively affect their lives. Suing because the doctor discovered the problem was in the left ear, not the right and went ahead and fixed it without waking you up from surgery for permission is a bit overboard (actual case, but I am not going to try and look it up, but I read it out of one of the Mrs.’s law book).

Adam

September 28th, 2011
12:17 pm

Did I beat anyone to “It’s OBAMACARE’S FAULT”?

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:19 pm

Adam – I’m blaming Bosch and SoCo, might add you to the list just for sh*ts and giggles.

Adam

September 28th, 2011
12:19 pm

Waiting time? We’re pretty good on that one, but Canada beats us.

WHAT WHAT WHAT!!!!???

But…. but…. BEST HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD!

American Exceptionalism!

Let Him Die! (oh wait…)

Jefferson

September 28th, 2011
12:20 pm

What would health care cost if there were no insurance available for anyone ? Would they charge based on the ability to pay ? What good is giving someone a bill, they can’t afford to pay?

Joe COOL

September 28th, 2011
12:20 pm

“Did I beat anyone to “It’s OBAMACARE’S FAULT”?”

nahhh, it was played in the top 10, but doesnt hurt to repeat it!!

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:21 pm

Adam – I didn’t wait last time I went to the ER. Apparently when you come in with your pants leg dripping blood onto their floor, they want to get you out of the waiting room as quickly as possible. At least they did me.

RB from Gwinnett

September 28th, 2011
12:21 pm

“That healthcare is a right of it’s citizens and should be paid for by the government. ”

Spoken like a true communist…

Tell us comrade, what else is a right that should be provided by the “government” (that currently gets most of it’s money from only 53% of the PEOPLE). Food, shelter, transportation, water? Why would you claim everybody is entitled to healthcare, but not those things too?

Peadawg

September 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

“Did I beat anyone to “It’s OBAMACARE’S FAULT”?”

I wouldn’t say it’s Obamacare’s fault. But since some of the previsions have been in place for a year now…it sure hasn’t helped lower costs any like Obama said it would.

Matti's Probiotic Supplement

September 28th, 2011
12:22 pm

I have to put the blame on doctors. They’re business-focused instead of patient focused, and that’s one reason costs are through the roof. None of them want to deal with any body part that isn’t their own specialty part, so nobody is treating the overall health of the patient or conditions that affect multiple parts. None seem to care about cause, cure, or easing the patient’s discomfort, only what test, prodecure, or drug is warranted per the complaint. “Family” physicians who do it all treat NOTHING, but only write referrals to specialist based on what body part is ailing. I know I’m not the only one who has (more than once with different specialties) gone to a physician with a problem I’ve been unable to remedy with diet, otc meds, or time. (Because I hate them, I try everything else first!) They’re all, “Hmmm.. Let’s do some tests..” on their new super-expensive high-tech equipment on which they have lots of payments to make. Five thousand dollars, three invasive procedures and nine vials of blood later, they say, “Hmmm… well, you know these things can fluctuate on their own” or “Would you like a referral to a different type of specialist?” HELLO? WHAT ABOUT MY PROBLEM? “Eh… don’t know. Can’t do much there. Good luck with that. Please pay on your way out.”

HATE THEM. HATE THEM ALL! DIE, DOCTORS, DIE! And take your snotty office bitzches with you!

Can I get a “Amen?”

Joe Mama

September 28th, 2011
12:23 pm

G$ — “I know insurance companies do it here now… that is true only difference is I have the option to change my provider if I am unhappy. While in the countries listed in the graph it is the super wealthy who have a choice.”

Actually, even the workaday folk can — and do — buy supplemental coverage in most of those countries. Even in FRANCE (quelle horreur!)!

“So yes for cheaper cost if you are for a 1 year old baby not being given a working prosthetic until she is 18 because the gov health care says it is not cost effective to have to replace as she grows. Nevermind the one they provided cuts her arm everytime she wears it.”

Same thing happens with commercial healthcare providers. I’m deaf in one ear, and it’s correctable with surgery. My health insurer doesn’t want to pay for it. Would you like to know why?

“If you are for an unequal access to healthcare as in Germany where 90% wait for a visit, or even better postponed medical care if quarterly budgets are exceeded.”

I doubt this, as Germany has twice the medical providers (doctors and nurses) and hospital beds per capita as the US does.

“Or in Sweeden we should try to be more like. I know I want there to be guards at every doctors office to calm unruly crowds who are forced to wait for hours for medical attention or for a visit. I know I want to see more guards at my appointments…”

Last time I checked into Northside (and I’ve been in there several times in recent years), there was armed security present. I don’t know why, but they were there.

Now what?

Jefferson

September 28th, 2011
12:23 pm

Amen, testify !!!

Joe Mama

September 28th, 2011
12:27 pm

(ir)Rational — “Adam – I didn’t wait last time I went to the ER. Apparently when you come in with your pants leg dripping blood onto their floor, they want to get you out of the waiting room as quickly as possible.”

If you look like you might die, or if you have organs hanging out or some other visually appalling injury, they will rush you into the back real quick. I know this from experience.

godless heathen

September 28th, 2011
12:28 pm

AMEN, Matti!!! I guess some docs are ok, but I can’t find them.

Adam

September 28th, 2011
12:28 pm

Peadawg: True. None of the provisions that were front loaded have the cost controls. Most of them are simply regulations.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

Joe – Yeah, apparently the ability to see your “inside your leg” where you missed when you were swinging an ax is one of those visually appalling injuries. Especially if you bring yourself to the ER. Then they look at you like your nuts?

Adam

September 28th, 2011
12:31 pm

(ir)Rational, Joe Mama: I am pointing out that the old argument of “but Canada has longer wait times!” is gone now on facts (not that facts stop anyone nowadays). It used to be a big thing to say in response to anyone saying this or that country has a better health care system, if they attempt to argue on a semi-factual basis. Now, though, I do usually hear the “‘MERICA!” non-argument argument a lot more

Guy Incognito

September 28th, 2011
12:32 pm

“HATE THEM. HATE THEM ALL! DIE, DOCTORS, DIE! And take your snotty office bitzches with you!”

Hate is not a Family Value!!!! Where is your liberal tolerance for everyone?

Oh, one more question. If we would get to a Single Payer System, what would the trial lawyers do? You can’t sue the doctors anymore because you can’t sue the gov’t.

Just like the UAW at GM and Chrysler can no longer strike because of their agreement with the gov’t to get the $$$$

ByteMe

September 28th, 2011
12:34 pm

You can’t sue the doctors anymore because you can’t sue the gov’t.

Not true. Just because someone else is paying the bill doesn’t mean doctors can’t be liable for their mistakes.

(ir)Rational

September 28th, 2011
12:34 pm

Adam – I know. I was just pointing out that not all wait times suck.

Lunch y’all.

Strawman

September 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

“Sure, I’d be glad to do so. Which metric would you care to use?”

Objective metrics, please. Did you think I wouldn’t know that the Commonwealth Fund is a liberal organization, led by Karen Davis? That, of course, doesn’t mean that everything they report is false or misleading. But, you know, the problems we now face in America (like health care) are far too big and important to let ideological leanings blind us to the best and most pragmatic solutions. I really have little use for information that is gathered and packaged to persuade others to a position; that’s just a subtle form of deception. I want to know the “facts” and how they were arrived at (including satisfactory answers to criticisms of any methodology employed). Working from this foundation, reason and wisdom can then arrive at the best solution(s). I am an engineer. I don’t develop software based on my preferences and opinions. I look at the problems that need to be solved, analyze them, look at the available technology that might be used in the solution, come up with a tentative design, create a proof of concept program that tests the validity of the solution, develop the software and fix unforeseen problems as we go along. I don’t start with some hypothesis, get buy-in from co-workers and the start developing the software without being pretty darn sure it’s going to work. But the latter is how lawyers and politicians seem to operate. We cannot afford that lame-brained approach any longer.

stands for decibels

September 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

If we would get to a Single Payer System, what would the trial lawyers do?

dunno… they’d have to work for a living?

Poronda

September 28th, 2011
12:37 pm

Something that would help would be to require physicians to post their fees so patients could comparison shop. The insurance companies could offer a premium discount to the customers who use the lower cost providers. Right now most of us have no idea what the doc is charging, and couldn’t care less long as insurance pays.

Bill Orvis White

September 28th, 2011
12:38 pm

If you can’t afford, don’t use it — pure and simple. What’s not to understand here? I can’t afford it so I take care of myself and my family.I really can’t afford to give it to my workers. Of course, blog posts like this are begging for that socialistic single-payer system that has Canada in bankruptcy.
We need to scrap ObamaCare which will lead to competition and that will prices just like buying cars.
Amen,
Bill

Doggone/GA

September 28th, 2011
12:39 pm

“If we would get to a Single Payer System, what would the trial lawyers do? You can’t sue the doctors anymore because you can’t sue the gov’t”

Doctors would not be “the government” under single payer

Misty Fyed

September 28th, 2011
12:40 pm

Here we go with the charts. What the chart doesn’t say is that the amount’s claimed are for providing the same service. If I drive a Ferrari and you drive Kia, my transportation costs are far more than yours but there is a world of difference in what we are getting.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 28th, 2011
12:42 pm

You can’t sue the government?…..watch! :lol:

Ragnar Danneskjöld

September 28th, 2011
12:42 pm

Part of the large increase in the last couple of years on the chart reflects anticipatory-increases in the costs of medical procedures, a reasonable market reaction to increased government activity in the field. A responsible way to address the soaring costs would be

(1) repeal of ObamaCare. By adding millions to the rolls of regular users, the government greatly stimulated demand, with no foreseeable change in supply. Of course costs went up.

(2) repeal of ObamaCare. By adding restrictions to the ways providers deliver their services, the government ossifies all inefficiencies. Those inefficiencies add to the costs, as they will sprawl where there is no market to correct them.

(3) pre-empt state requirements for insurors. Why does the government require all to purchase coverages they reasonably believe they will never need?

(4) make health insurance deductible for all. Current limitations force health insurance to be an untaxed element of the employment contract. In addition to restricting the free flow of people among companies and industries, the tax laws punish those who purchase a private policy when employers decline to provide coverage, but reward those who work for employers who negotiate policies.

(5) allow insurors to sell across state lines. Free markets deliver better goods at lower prices. There has never been a free market for health insurance in the US.

(6) impose an excise tax of 99% for all malpractice judgments. The same logic there as the one that urges larger taxes for cigarettes – tax policy is a blunt instrument for behavior modification.

(7) prohibit medical providers from charing different rates to different patients. The current system, whereby some subsidize others, corrupts pricing.

(8) prohibit any medical insurance from covering more than 90% of any medical bill. Need to add market discipline; the current system, where patients spend “other people’s money” gives no incentive for cost constraint.

These are politically-possible alternatives to the current system. A real economic solution – a prohibition of health insurance – would do more to restrain medical expenses, but the fears of the economically-illiterate, who do not realize they pay those expenses anyway, prohibit the optimal.

.

FrankLeeDarling

September 28th, 2011
12:45 pm

Single payer plan now!

mm

September 28th, 2011
12:47 pm

Doctors are screwing us. Hospitals are screwing us. Insurance companies are screwing us. Drug companies are screwing us. Medical device companies are screwing us.

Any questions?

Joe Mama

September 28th, 2011
12:47 pm

G. Incognito — “Oh, one more question. If we would get to a Single Payer System, what would the trial lawyers do? You can’t sue the doctors anymore because you can’t sue the gov’t.”

That depends. You might be able to sue the individual physician; I don’t have a problem with legislation that says that such workers are legally liable. Also, even in countries with socialized healthcare, there are usually supplemental policies you can buy. If the doctor you’re suing was treating you under one of those plans, then he/she already wouldn’t enjoy immunity.

However, bear in mind the *legal reason* for malpractice lawsuits. That’s ‘you messed up my (my spouse’s, my child’s) health and we should be made whole.’ Remove the for-profit nature from American healthcare, and the ‘make whole’ part is accomplished through the nationalized healthcare system. One can say that the reason for malpractice lawsuits is to make money at the system’s expense, but if one looks at cases (and I’m counting on (ir)Rational to ask his wife about this), I think one will find that the compensation is intended to be both punitive *and* compensatory in that it’s supposed to be used to mitigate whatever harm the doctor caused. If you’re already getting comprehensive healthcare, then only the punitive angle need be considered.

And if you f**k up too much as a doctor, then perhaps the government healthcare system would ‘encourage’ you to find a different vocation. I don’t really see a problem with that.

Schrodinger's cat

September 28th, 2011
12:48 pm

As it has been pointed out..A lot of those EU folks buy supplemental insurance…can you guess why?

Thulsa Doom

September 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

You wonder why health care costs are rising?

1 we have an aging population.
2- we demand and use more health care than anyone
3- we have more fata$$ people than anyone else
4- We are subsidizing the cost of drug makers
5- and we have more suing lawyers than anyone by a vast margin. But of course the Dems are in the pockets of the trial lawyers so we’re just going to have to put up with the astronomical cost of lawyerin which gets passed on to everyone else.

Most studies I’ve seen have the cost of defensive medicine costing us anywhere between 10-25% of health care costs. In the study below dated today the cost is estimated by the physicians themselves at 26-34%. Interestingly though neither Jay nor the liberals on this blog want to talk about this preferring instead to talk bout them evil ole insurance companies. Interesting indeed.

Defensive medicine adds billions to annual U.S. healthcare costs

September 23, 2011 | Rene Letourneau, Managing Editor

ATLANTA, GA – Physicians estimate the cost of defensive medicine to be between 26 and 34 percent of total annual healthcare costs, according to a new report by Jackson Healthcare. At an estimated $2.5 trillion in annual spending, this means $650-$850 billion is spent each year on medical orders intended to avoid lawsuits rather than treat patients.

In its report, “A Costly Defense: Physicians Sound Off on the High Price of Defensive Medicine,” Jackson Healthcare, a healthcare solutions company, summarizes physician opinions on defensive medicine collected between October 2009 and May 2011 and concludes that the fear of being sued drives physicians to order tests and treatments as added insurance, which inflates healthcare spending.

http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/defensive-medicine-adds-650b-850b-annual-healthcare-costs

Strawman

September 28th, 2011
12:49 pm

“A lot of those EU folks buy supplemental insurance…can you guess why?”

Would it be to buy supplements??? ;-)

Adam

September 28th, 2011
12:51 pm

Thulsa Doom: But of course the Dems are in the pockets of the trial lawyers

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Strawman

September 28th, 2011
12:52 pm

“You wonder why health care costs are rising?”

Thanks for that bit of information, Thulsa. I have seen similar reports, but it is an important piece of the puzzle.