Health-care costs consuming our national future

In fiscal 2013, the federal deficit is projected to be 5.5 percent of GDP, a level that according to many in Washington threatens our basic solvency and that must be addressed by any means possible, as long as “any means possible” does not include tax increases.

Meanwhile, Americans spend 17.6 percent of GDP on health care, more than three times our deficit. Much of that money is of course considered well-spent, keeping ourselves and our loved ones alive and healthy. But here’s the problem:

By any measure that you care to use, U.S. health-care spending vastly outstrips those of our competitors in the industrialized world. Here’s the comparative data, as compiled by a new report by the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health-insurance companies:

healthgdp

If we reduced health-care spending to the level of the average member of the 34-member Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, we would offset our deficit entirely and free up another half-trillion dollars a year to invest in other needs, including economic growth.

If we could merely manage to reduce spending to the level of the second highest spender — socialized, union-ridden, supposedly inefficient France — we would still more than offset our entire deficit and have hundreds of billions in cash left over.

But we can’t. The reason that we can’t is reflected in other charts contained in the IFHP report:

hospital

Note that the U.S. cost figures are expressed three ways: as an average, as the 25th cost percentile (meaning that 75 percent of daily hospital costs are higher, and 25 percent lower), and at the 95th percentile.

Let’s look now at comparative costs for the most basic and straightforward of surgical procedures:

appendix

How about the cost of something more complicated, involving the highly profitable medical-devices industry?

hip

Finally, with a pollen-laden Atlanta spring facing us, let’s take a look at the prices paid for a commonly prescribed allergy drug:

nasonex

The IFHP report contains a slew of other charts as well, covering additional procedures and drugs. If you have the stomach for them, they’re available here, but they all tell the same story.

Now, the obvious question is why, and the answer is equally obvious: In the United States, health-care providers enjoy a combination of economic and political pricing power that they enjoy nowhere else on the planet. That advantage is clearly reflected in the charts above.

For example, when drafters of ObamaCare tried to create a panel of experts to recommend the cheapest way of providing health care, the effort was transmogrified by the political process into “death panels.” When the Bush administration passed the Medicare Part D drug program, it did so only under the condition that it contain provisions barring Medicare administrators from trying to negotiate lower drug prices. More recently, in an effort to recover some of the exorbitant costs charged by medical-device suppliers in this country but nowhere else, ObamaCare levied a 2.5 percent tax on those devices. But under intense lobbying by the industry, the Senate — with considerable support from Democratic members — voted earlier this month to abolish that tax.

It should be noted that because Medicare and Medicaid do have some pricing power over the American health-care industry, they pay prices on the lower end of the scales depicted above. Private insurance companies, which have less pricing power than the government agencies, pay considerably higher rates. And the uninsured, which have little to no such market power, pay the highest rates of all.

That ought to raise serious questions about the solution favored by conservatives, which is to push individuals out of government- and employer-provided insurance programs and turn them into individual purchasers of health care, thus supposedly enlisting market forces to lower costs. However, that approach makes sense only on the purely theoretical level, because it assumes that a 70-year-old heart patient has the time, know-how and market power to drive a harder bargain with his surgeon and hospital than a private insurer or a government agency.

It just ain’t so. But that’s the kind of foolishness that cripples efforts at cost containment and drives prices sky-high in this country, putting us at a considerable and growing economic disadvantage.

– Jay Bookman

(h/t Ezra Klein at Wonkblog)

529 comments Add your comment

Peadawg

March 27th, 2013
9:20 am

Doggone/GA

March 27th, 2013
9:21 am

Is it some kind of triumph to be first with nothing to say?

Real Scootter

March 27th, 2013
9:21 am

Real Scootter

March 27th, 2013
9:21 am

Granny Godzilla

March 27th, 2013
9:22 am

This will be fun to read…

My darling Mr.G getting new knees this year, thank heavens we have health care.

Real Scootter

March 27th, 2013
9:23 am

Is it some kind of triumph to be first with nothing to say?

It is for me Doggone! :smile:

Joe Hussein Mama

March 27th, 2013
9:23 am

Dadgum, Scootter, you’re up early this morning.

Or is it just that you haven’t gone to bed yet? :)

Brosephus™

March 27th, 2013
9:25 am

Jay

I read Klein’s piece last night, and it should be quite sobering to people. Had I bothered to play the PowerBall and won that $300 Million, I would have invested in a few Congressmen. It seems that the wise business man buys a few seats in Congress and use that to exponentially grow their business and reap the profits without paying the taxes or doing the actual labor necessary to grow their company.

Americans are getting the invisible hand job, and Congress explicitly legislates it into law.

Real Scootter

March 27th, 2013
9:25 am

Doggone,

I wish I could make a good post on the topic but the charts are too confusing for me. :sad:

Welcome to the Occupation

March 27th, 2013
9:26 am

MOTHER. OF. ALL. DEATH. PANELS.

The US Health care system.

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:27 am

gosh – the US spends twice as much as the UK and yet has a lower life expectancy. whoda thunk.

yes, it would be SO HORRIBLE to be like Europe.

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:28 am

Why are people so darn stubborn about this issue? The solution is simple and plain as day, but then you get the grumpy Confederates and their “nanny state” declarations. And we just sit here as a nation, held back by ignorance.

Real Scootter

March 27th, 2013
9:28 am

Good morning JHM,

Yeah,I’m up early cause I got chores to do! (hate when that happens) :grin:

moonbat betty

March 27th, 2013
9:28 am

Well, once all the old white guys die off things will get better, right?

Joe Hussein Mama

March 27th, 2013
9:29 am

Jay — “That ought to raise serious questions about the solution favored by conservatives, which is to push individuals out of government- and employer-provided insurance programs and turn them into individual purchasers of health care, thus supposedly enlisting market forces to lower costs.”

I can tell you from personal experience that this is *very* hard to do. I spent the better part of an entire day some years ago trying to get my health insurer to tell me what the cost of an elective surgical procedure would be and what my portion of the cost was likely to be. You see, I wanted to make sure we had enough in our FSA to cover the cost or else we were going to have to account for it elsewhere in our budget.

As it turns out, you can’t get the price unless you know the code number for the procedure (which, apparently, surgeons don’t know), and then, having gotten the code number, you could have any one of a passel of different costs depending on who your insurance carrier is and what your specific coverage plan handles.

Long story short, IMO it’s not *possible* to be a ‘good consumer’ of health care services, as Republicans would like, without more transparent pricing.

Maximum_Bob

March 27th, 2013
9:29 am

A nation of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations …

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:30 am

Y’all mother####ers need Socialism.

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:31 am

And corporations are now people, yet gay people can’t marry.

Aquagirl

March 27th, 2013
9:32 am

thank heavens we have health care.

It’s not heaven, you have health care because you deserve healthcare, unlike the uninsured takers who choose to not have insurance.
/sarc

F. Sinkwich

March 27th, 2013
9:32 am

What’s the moral to your story, Jay? Nationalization of the health care industry?

As long as health care consumers have no visability to the true cost of the care they receive, demand for those services will necessarily skyrocket. As a consequence, either costs will rise or services will be reduced.

Let’s see what happens with a true free market approach before we dive into the socialist cesspool.

skipper

March 27th, 2013
9:32 am

More than likely, these other countries do not have NEARLY the number of attorneys we have……by the time hospitals, doctors, etc. pay malpractice insurance it gets passed on. I will have to get exact numbers, but besides being a son-of-a-gun, I am also the son of a doctor (now retired.) It is automatic to sue for anything, and the medical field is a main target. This would be one way to help……..send the lawyers to Afganistan……..

Welcome to the Occupation

March 27th, 2013
9:32 am

By the way I should use quotes when I say US “health care” system, as this system which is there first and foremost to enrich private insurance companies doesn’t really deserve the dignity of being called a system for actual health care.

ATL Tiger

March 27th, 2013
9:33 am

And the “Affordable” Care Act that was passed does nothing to bend cost curve down (which was a selling point).

Regnad Kcin

March 27th, 2013
9:33 am

“And corporations are now people, yet gay people can’t marry”

When gay corporations want to marry, we’ll see some legislative action PDQ!

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:34 am

“Well, once all the old white guys die off things will get better, right?”

well, more colorful, if nothing else.

indigo

March 27th, 2013
9:34 am

The long political process in America of getting elected and re-elected has resulted in making running for office a very expensive proposition. This has enabled Big Business to own most of our politicians. This, in turn, has enabled the Medical Industry to make huge amounts of money off the backs of the American people. Lawmakers do nothing about this in return for large election and re-election funding from this industry.

At some point, these costs will break the camel’s back. When that occurs, it’s unclear what will happen next.

Whatever happens, it’s clear the Medical Industry will have squeezed every last dollar possible out of the American people.

Only in America.

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:34 am

Funny, my cousin in Canada loves her health care system, and her company even offers free supplemental insurance to cover the difference so it’s completely free (except for med copays). Definitely not a “sesspool of socialism.” It’s a system that works.

Maximum_Bob

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

Faux Sinkwich – How do you propose we have free market health care, when affordable access is largely restricted to limited employer options?

Gale

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

This is so depressing. How can anyone see the numbers and still scream that America has the bestest health care system in the world?

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

LOL @ Regnad!

Thomas Heyward Jr

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

In Stalin’s Statist Centrally-Planned economy, the “experts” couldn’t even get the price of a loaf of bread right.
.
Comes now Bookman…………..wanting Government to set the price of colon-noscopies and Debridement schedules.
.
lol and sigh.

moonbat betty

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

If the American people would unionize and go on strike against health care, we could take down this evil enterprise.

Come on! Reject healthcare all together until they are forced to lower their prices!

Rise Up! Who’s with me?

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

JHM, add in the trick of going to the ER and while in the same hospital for the same visit supposedly with 1 co-pay, it turns out that when they send you to a difference area of the hospital, it suddenly is a separate co-pay, etc.

Loretta Paraguassu

March 27th, 2013
9:35 am

We are left — as citizens — with the reality that we are completely powerless against the money bags who buy up government power. How is it that people in other countries manage to come out ahead and we don’t? The great democracy — right.

Thomas Heyward Jr

March 27th, 2013
9:36 am

Although I’m so sure Paul Krugman could set the right price.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 27th, 2013
9:36 am

Well, it takes a lot of money if you want to have the 25th or 30th best health care system in the world.

If God had of wanted you to have both cheap and real good health care, you would of been born clutching a little insurance policy in your hands.

Besides, it takes a lot of money to support real American health care. You got your doctors in their gated communities, your drug cos. that need to squeeze out profits, and even your shysters like Thelma Doom needing to sell policies so they can blog all day and then relax at a bar with a blonde bartender.

I don’t know about you but I’m proud to die a few years early to support this kind of Free Innerprize. You should be too unless you’re a Commie Socialist.

Have a good Hump Day everybody.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:36 am

Subsidize practitioner training so that folks don’t have to incorporate/over-specialize/overcharge when they go into practice.

Institute a single-payer health insurance plan that everyone pays into covering most of the stuff people need (including dental).

Negotiate drug pricing (and while you’re at it, ban pharma advertising–the people who work that field can find work digging for earth-worms.)

It’ll take awhile, but that’s what needs doing. And we all know it, so let’s dump people who are in the way and elect people who will make it happen. Is it really that hard?

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:36 am

@ATL Tiger, progressives wanted at LEAST the public option, but preferably Medicare for all – but hey, we had to opt for the beast that is Obamacare thanks to the Conservatives. It’s a giveaway to private healthcare, a Republican idea (all the way back to Nixon), but YOU guys fought ’cause you hate Obama soooooooooooo much.

Seriously Folks

March 27th, 2013
9:37 am

Well, the correlation here is also that when companies look to invest capital into new facilities, health care is a “cost of doing business.” I read a few years ago that when Toyota opened a new truck plant in North America, they chose Canada, simply because 30% of their cost was cheaper…providing health care to their workers. Because, believe it or not, there are a few firms that really do care about their employees being healthy enough to work…and if the US cannot get its collective head out of its arse, (which I am sure has a HUGE deductible!!! lol) then we will continue to see the decline in our economy.

Thanks Jay for bringing this topic up. I will now sit back and begin my “head shaking in disbelief” when our conservative friends show up with their, “but…but…long lines…sub-par healthcare”….

MrLiberty

March 27th, 2013
9:37 am

And the government has been manipulating the healthcare industry since the early 1900’s with their protectionist legislation on behalf of the AMA over the alternative medical practices of the day.

Now the government has their hands on 50% of every dollar spent on healthcare.

The government destroyed the free market in health care and now controls half the money (well, actually thanks to the Federal Reserve’s money making machine, they control ALL of the money).

The high cost and government involvement are NO coincidence.

Generation EBT er

March 27th, 2013
9:38 am

Yous guys might need to fret over the cost of “MEDIGEDDON”
but thanks to our beloved President’s promise(and I believe him)
not to raise the medical costs one nickel, EVERYTHING’S FREE!!
Thank God for ‘bamacare. Let’s see how long this can be sustained.
Keep the checks comin’ Barry.

moonbat betty

March 27th, 2013
9:39 am

“Have a good Hump Day everybody.”

Please don’t say that anymore, RC.

Last Wednesday a bunch of poster’s legs got wore out!

Jay

March 27th, 2013
9:39 am

“And the “Affordable” Care Act that was passed does nothing to bend cost curve down (which was a selling point).

It certainly does too little, and it does too little largely because every effort at putting effective cost-containment provisions into the law were undercut by those either ideologically or financially opposed to such measures.

Regnad Kcin

March 27th, 2013
9:39 am

As long as the major purpose of the American health care system is to generate profits, there is going to have to be a “profit margin” built in. Anyone disagree?

Since we have the only health care system based on profit motive, not health outcomes, OF COURSE we pay stupid-high health care costs.

Welcome to the Occupation

March 27th, 2013
9:39 am

F. Sinkwich: “What’s the moral to your story, Jay? Nationalization of the health care industry?”

For anybody with any sense and any sense of moral responsibility.

Even though it’s viewed with horror by people like you.

Gale

March 27th, 2013
9:39 am

100% with you, dB.

JamVet

March 27th, 2013
9:40 am

Take the biggest crooks and paper shuffling bunglers out of the equation – SINGLE PAYER NOW.

Everybody in, nobody out.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:40 am

I will now sit back and begin my “head shaking in disbelief” when our conservative friends show up with their, “but…but…long lines…sub-par healthcare”….

We just need, oh, another seventy million or so to join you and we’re there.

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:42 am

When I hear my friend who works in the pharmaceutical industry talk about how much money their company is making, their employees are making, it makes me sick. We should not be profiting on peoples’ health and well being. Why are Americans are hell bent on propping up the very few of us that are so wealthy while 99.9% just dream about being wealthy, and somehow think that one day…one day…they will be wealthy too.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:42 am

In Stalin’s Statist Centrally-Planned economy, the “experts” couldn’t even get the price of a loaf of bread right.

We’re not Russia. (Or Greece.)

Grasshopper

March 27th, 2013
9:44 am

Yes, the Us has a serious problem with health care costs.

Something that the Frankensteinian Obamacare plan does nothing but make worse. Just wait and see. As more companies reduce employee hours to the under 30 per week level and more companies jettison their plans, Obamacare will be revealed as the true monster that it is.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:44 am

When I hear my friend who works in the pharmaceutical industry talk about how much money their company is making, their employees are making, it makes me sick. We should not be profiting on peoples’ health and well being.

Sure we should. Nothing wrong with profits. Just so long as they’re pumped back into the economy efficiently, to pay for the training and such I was speaking of.

Pharma can still make a ton of money. Just not so much. It ain’t rocket science, other civilized nations have figured this out, we can too.

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:45 am

I’m hoping that Obamacare gets “reformed” to the point where it becomes Single Payer. One can only hope.

In the middle

March 27th, 2013
9:45 am

Instead of the “tired old kneejerk rhetoric” of “everything is the fault of conservatives. Why not do some actual journalism. Look at all of the reasons costs are so high. Why is it that a family doctor has to charge 125 for a 15 minute visit. What contributes to the overall cost structure. It is more complex than simpletons try to make it out. Everybody in the UK and Canada love their healthcare for routine medical procedures. However when it comes to leading edge medicine there is a line at the border. What is the pricing power, is it with the insurance companies, we all know they like to pay more because they just hate making money. Is the pricing power with the feds, if that were the case, why didnt the democrats fix it when they had control of the house, senate and POTUS. It is almost a waste of time to read Jay anymore. There is no critical thinking, just inuendo. I am bored.

0311/8541/5811/1811/1801

March 27th, 2013
9:45 am

Jay:

Some thoughts.

1) You left out the part about doctors leaving in droves (or students deciding NOT to be doctors) because of OBAMACARE !

2) Anyone who thinks our bloated government can manage our massive healthcare problem efficiently, effectively and fairly needs to make sure they have adequate MENTAL coverage !

3) Remember the movie where Groucho Marx (playing a doctor) asked his patient:

“Does it hurt when you do that?”

Patient, “Yes!”

Groucho, “Well, don’t do that!”

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:45 am

“by the time hospitals, doctors, etc. pay malpractice insurance it gets passed on”

actually, not really – the biggest problem with med mal insurance isn’t lawsuits it’s the bond market.

Insurance companies are required by law to invest any money they receive via insurance premiums in secure investments – bonds. When the bond market does well, insurance premiums stay low. When the bond market does poorly, insurance premiums rise.

F. Sinkwich

March 27th, 2013
9:45 am

“yes, it would be SO HORRIBLE to be like Europe.”

I agree.

Scratch It

March 27th, 2013
9:46 am

So what are you trying to say Jay. It seems your trying to shift blame for the skyrocketing costs of healthcare from obama and the dems to the healthcare companies.. Is that all you people on the left do jay. Blame?? The Republican’s will surly take the Senate next year when obamacare is completely implemented and the middle class continue’s to be destroyed by it. So in a way. Thanks voters. You insured new leadership in the Senate….

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/study-health-law-raise-claims-cost-32-percent-070021624–finance.html

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:46 am

“You left out the part about doctors leaving in droves (or students deciding NOT to be doctors) because of OBAMACARE !”

yes. he did leave that out.

because it ain’t happening.

Regnad Kcin

March 27th, 2013
9:46 am

“In Stalin’s Statist Centrally-Planned economy, the “experts” couldn’t even get the price of a loaf of bread right.”

Cone on! Where’s your belief in American exceptionalism?

Mary Elizabeth

March 27th, 2013
9:46 am

Well analyzed. Thank you for this article, especially at a time when criticism of Obamacare’s financial cost to citizens is being touted throughout the nation. This article gives the underlying reasons for America’s high health care costs. Single payer would have been preferable, even to Obamacare, but conservatives would not support it.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:46 am

Is the pricing power with the feds, if that were the case, why didnt the democrats fix it when they had control of the house, senate and POTUS.

Because Democrats are mostly owned by the same business interests as Republicans. Jeez.

Peadawg

March 27th, 2013
9:47 am

The problem with single payer is how do we pay for it?

sweet loretta fat she thought she was a cleaner but she was frying pan

March 27th, 2013
9:47 am

single payer now. single payer tomorrow. single payer fo evah.

Scratch It

March 27th, 2013
9:47 am

Jay

“And the “Affordable” Care Act that was passed does nothing to bend cost curve down (which was a selling point).

It certainly does too little, and it does too little largely because every effort at putting effective cost-containment provisions into the law were undercut by those either ideologically or financially opposed to such measures.

Can you name which dems done this jay. Remember Republicans had absolutely no input in this monstrosity….

zeke

March 27th, 2013
9:47 am

So take away all the money spend on R&D for new medicines, procedures, equipment, then remove jury award and give that duty to the judge, and, you might get our costs down to the rest of the world! Fact is that the USA is the only country funding and doing R & D and then the rest of the world uses the results and puts it into action years before the FDA allows it here! Is the cost of our health system high? Yes! But, we have the most advance technology, the most advance systems and we research and develop almost all of the medicines,and equipment, the best medical schools! So there is a trade off. Do you want the best in the world? Or do you want cheap?

Jefferson

March 27th, 2013
9:48 am

Insurance companies profits are soaring, follow the money. To blame anyone other than those getting rich on sickness is politics.

Seriously Folks

March 27th, 2013
9:48 am

Maybe if every male in the US went ahead and bought a new car everyday and drove around with an erection, we could eliminate advertising on television which would cut the costs? Its a start! (just dont drive around for more than four hours…you will cause a wreck!!!! LOL)

ATL Tiger

March 27th, 2013
9:49 am

“It certainly does too little, and it does too little largely because every effort at putting effective cost-containment provisions into the law were undercut by those either ideologically or financially opposed to such measures.”

True cost-containment provisions need to be addressed in respect to Medicare, since one of the main drivers of healthcare costs is that we are getting older as a country, more baby boomers are retiring every day becoming eligible for Medicare which happends to be our largerst payer of health insurance. We have to radically change our deivery of healthcare to preventitive, proactive care rather than acute/reactive or the whole thing comes down.

Peter

March 27th, 2013
9:49 am

Well how many folks eat correctly would be the key to all of this stuff ?

We are a nation of fast foods, fried foods, BBQ, and meat.

Folks think they can take a few vitamins and eat what ever they want, even though most American’s eat food that will kill them.

How many on this board get regular exercise, both heart and bone healthy exercise ?

Bottom line is folks make choices on taste, being in a hurry, or desire, not on their future health.

Welcome to the Occupation

March 27th, 2013
9:49 am

Thomas Heyward Jr. : “In Stalin’s Statist Centrally-Planned economy, the “experts” couldn’t even get the price of a loaf of bread right.
.
Comes now Bookman…………..wanting Government to set the price of colon-noscopies and Debridement schedules.”

You have Jr. in your name, are you an adolescent by chance? You sure sound like one, with that Ayn Rand-ish belief in these free market fairy tales.

Brosephus™

March 27th, 2013
9:49 am

And we all know it, so let’s dump people who are in the way and elect people who will make it happen. Is it really that hard?

That IS the hard part. You have people that would vote against Jesus Christ himself depending on whether he had a (D) or (R) behind his name. Ideology has done more to dumb down our society than any educational cuts have.

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:49 am

“I agree.”

as you don’t have the first clue, I’m sure you do.

TBS

March 27th, 2013
9:50 am

Scout

Like that Muslim women and TSA garbage you haven’t substantiated, where do you get your information?

“1) You left out the part about doctors leaving in droves (or students deciding NOT to be doctors) because of OBAMACARE !”

Washington, D.C., October 23, 2012—With the nation facing a shortage of 90,000 doctors over the next decade, the number and diversity of students applying to and enrolling in medical school saw healthy gains this year, according to data released today by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).

More than 45,000 students (45,266) applied to attend medical school in 2012, an increase of 3.1 percent. First-time applicants, considered to be a barometer of interest in medicine, set another record, increasing by 3.4 percent in 2012, for a total of 33,772 applicants. First-time enrollment at the nation’s medical schools grew 1.5 percent to 19,517 students, an all-time high.

“Medicine continues to be a very attractive career choice for our nation’s best and brightest,” said Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., AAMC president and CEO. “Given the urgent need our nation has for more doctors to care for our growing and aging population, we are extremely pleased with the continued growth in size and diversity of this year’s entering class of medical students.”

https://www.aamc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/310002/121023.html

It is not an understatement to say you need to bring more factual information to the table………..

Thug

March 27th, 2013
9:50 am

Book is becoming very boring.

Jay

March 27th, 2013
9:51 am

“In the Middle,” explain to me what these other countries are doing that we aren’t. Why are they able to do it and we can’t?

Name me a single country that has managed to control health-care costs using the methods advocated by American conservatives. Just one.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 27th, 2013
9:51 am

Jay, I am sure you looked at it but Time’s Bitter Pill issue had some interesting graphs that showed other countries are in fact getting better outcomes with low spending. Higher life expectancy, lower infant mortality. CEOs of the 10 largest nonprofit hospitals each make over 2 million (the CEO of the Red Cross only makes $561,000)

Caz

March 27th, 2013
9:51 am

Not sure if it’s been mentioned yet, but Stephen Brill’s excellent piece in Time Magazine about why our healthcare costs are so high does a very good job of explaining why we pay so much. One big reason is giving too much care (unnecessary CT Scans/MRIs, lab tests, etc for routine doctor visits) as a lot of doctors and hospitals are weary of any possible litigation. Another reason is the simple fact that insurance companies are unable (or unwilling) to bargain with hospitals/medical device makers/drug companies in order to get better pricing for patients (Medicare does a good job of this, and Medicaid even better, but our congress is quickly trying to dismantle both of them). I know it may sound sacrilegious to some, but until the government steps in and enforces better pricing models (including getting rid of the hospital chargemaster), we’ll most likely only see these costs rise.

JamVet

March 27th, 2013
9:51 am

People like Andy, EBT and other Wayward Thomas McCarthyites will never admit the obvious – the true free market health insurance system of the past forty years has been a ruinous experiment and colossal failure of American fascism.

Free choice of doctor, hospital and pharmacist without Kaiser, Aetna and United Healthcare skimming off of the top.

To hell with The Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Heritage Foundation. Their lobbyists wrote much, if not most, of what is in that legislation.

They are completely corrupt and self-serving and they are a huge part of the reason we have the debacle known as Obamacare in it’s current form.

Once again, Mr. President, I implore you to grow a pair in your second term and stand up to these thugs…

Aquagirl

March 27th, 2013
9:51 am

yes. he did leave that out. because it ain’t happening.

Are you questioning the veracity of his wacko websites and forwarded e-mails? Clearly the overseas European socialism has ruined your brain.

guy

March 27th, 2013
9:52 am

I really don’t understand the health care system or obamacare. I think there are many like myself who are confused. We will see. Have a good day,all!

Gale

March 27th, 2013
9:52 am

How do we pay for single payer? Taxes. It is never free. But compare the added tax to the HC premiums I already pay? I expect it to be the same or less.

Regnad Kcin

March 27th, 2013
9:52 am

” It seems your trying to shift blame for the skyrocketing costs of healthcare from obama and the dems ”

Because health care costs were pretty stable before that, right, Mr. Scratch? Man, you just make up any old scenario in your fantasy world, don’t you?

Joe Hussein Mama

March 27th, 2013
9:52 am

zeke — “Fact is that the USA is the only country funding and doing R & D”

Fact is, please be quiet if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pharmaceutical_companies

Steve

March 27th, 2013
9:52 am

As someone on Kyle’s column posted, “Just lower the Medicare age to 0 and be done with it.”

Jay

March 27th, 2013
9:53 am

And to all of those with no reaction other than “OBAMACARE!!!”, these astounding numbers have nothing to do with ObamaCare.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:53 am

The problem with single payer is how do we pay for it?

You know those insurance premiums that you and/or your employer are paying now? Well, we’d be paying those in some progressively structured withholding system, if I had my way. You’d net out with about the same pay as you have now, only we wouldn’t be bleeding so much red ink down the road, we’d all be healthier, cats and dogs living together, etc.

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:53 am

“Book is becoming very boring.”

there’s this thing called the interwebs – you can find all sorts of things to read.

and it even has cats!

ATL Tiger

March 27th, 2013
9:55 am

“Name me a single country that has managed to control health-care costs using the methods advocated by American conservatives. Just one.”

Name me a single country that provides innovation in medical devices, imaging machines, produces the highest trained and educated physicians, new treatments, drugs other than the US?

Brosephus™

March 27th, 2013
9:55 am

2) Anyone who thinks our bloated government can manage our massive healthcare problem efficiently, effectively and fairly needs to make sure they have adequate MENTAL coverage !

Our government, under the ACA, basically sold the healthcare system out to the private sector. Anybody who thinks our system is being managed by our government needs to seek help in that very medical system.

Anybody who thinks our government is bloated also needs to seek help in that same medical system. Our government budgets roughly $30 a day per person in this country. Where else can you get defense protection, safe drinking water, safe air travel, educated, and everything else this government provides for that amount? :roll: :roll:

That rhetoric is soooo tired…

Welcome to the Occupation

March 27th, 2013
9:55 am

zeke: “Fact is that the USA is the only country funding and doing R & D and then the rest of the world uses the results and puts it into action years before the FDA allows it here! Is the cost of our health system high? Yes! But, we have the most advance technology, the most advance systems and we research and develop almost all of the medicines,and equipment, the best medical schools! So there is a trade off”

Good god kid, step back and listen to yourself.

You’re saying that the US serves a structural role as the motor of medical R&D world-wide and that that enables citizens in nations around the world to enjoy high quality and reasonably costed health care, but leaves Americans facing soaring costs and an increasingly unstable financial system careering towards eventual collapse?

That really makes a lot of sense.

What sort of a weird masochistic view of America is that, the idea we are the guinea pigs so that the rest of the world can reap the benefits of advanced medical R&D, the idea that the US citizens are the drug industry’s sacrificial lamb.

And you claim to be a conservative?

I though conservatives favored things that put the interests of American citizens on the same level at least, if not ahead, of those of foreign nations. Weird.

AmericaShrugged

March 27th, 2013
9:55 am

“It should be noted that because Medicare and Medicaid do have some pricing power over the American health-care industry, they pay prices on the lower end of the scales depicted above.”
Actually Medicare and Medicaid through CMS have complete pricing power in that they determine what they will pay for a procedure irrespective of what the provider charges. Unfortunately, the providers do have some input, as they constantly lobby CMS to estsablish higher rates that will allow them to stay in business.
That being said, how does forcing everyone into Medicare (single payer system) make things better?

Regnad Kcin

March 27th, 2013
9:56 am

“Do you want the best in the world? Or do you want cheap?”

Zeke – it’s not the best in the world if you can’t afford it. So the question becomes, “do you want the best in the world for the rich? Or do you want really good for everybody?

RB from Gwinnett

March 27th, 2013
9:56 am

“we would offset our deficit entirely and free up another half-trillion dollars a year to invest in other needs,”

THis ^^^^^ is just liberal speak for “we can spend the money on some other liberal causes”. Simply not taking the money from the people in the first place is never part of the discussion.

Jay, how much of the cost of that appendectomy and hip replacement is to cover the cost of the uninsured people who show up and receive services without paying a dime? Also, how much of the total is for tests the doctor orders to cover their arse in court if things go wrong; a situation that doesn’t exist in other places? As usual, Jay only tells the part of the story that fits his agenda.

Erwin's cat

March 27th, 2013
9:56 am

So much for the ballyhooed ACA!
Are we blaming the right for it’s short comings?
I blame Pharma and the Insurance companies…and the gov’t

Instead of the left getting what they wanted, they caved and got what they could get which supposedly is better than nothing…even though they got nothing ..Get Insurance companies out of healthcare

Single Payer!

USinUK ... donde esta SPRING!!!???

March 27th, 2013
9:56 am

“Name me a single country that provides innovation in medical devices, imaging machines, produces the highest trained and educated physicians, new treatments, drugs other than the US?”

the UK

you’re welcome.

Grasshopper

March 27th, 2013
9:56 am

“Insurance companies profits are soaring, follow the money. To blame anyone other than those getting rich on sickness is politics.”

What? You mean Obamacare didn’t sock it to those evil insurance companies? I guess that makes Obama a minion of Kaiser and Aetna then.

jose

March 27th, 2013
9:57 am

“Obamacare” did little to control costs. It was legislation to expand access to health insurance coverage but did nothing about actual access to health care services nor did it control costs. Only one third of the loaf. But, we don’t need a panel to tell us why health care costs are high. We already know: Obesity, smoking related illness, aging population, poor preventative care, and severe shortages of health care professionals. Instead of creating panels and more govt bureaucracy, I just wish he had focused on the real issues. Ken Thorpe over at Emory has written extensively that by addressing obesity alone would save many billions in future medicare spending.

Jay

March 27th, 2013
9:57 am

Welcome, the same can be said of defense. We provide military protection for most of the industrialized world, at a very high cost to US taxpayers, while other countries use the money they save on defense to outcompete us economically and provide services to their people.

stands for decibels

March 27th, 2013
9:58 am

What sort of a weird masochistic view of America is that, the idea we are the guinea pigs so that the rest of the world can reap the benefits of advanced medical R&D, the idea that the US citizens are the drug industry’s sacrificial lamb.

Well on the other hand, we do fight ‘em over there so we don’t have to fight ‘em over here. So there’s that.

/cheap-shot