Curiouser and curiouser: monies spent on medical care

Curiouser and curiouser: monies spent on medical care

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Curiouser and curiouser: monies spent on medical care
  #1  
Old 07-30-2019, 01:50 PM
twinklesweep twinklesweep is offline
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Default Curiouser and curiouser: monies spent on medical care

I found this on a trivia website—and just the facts and figures left me wondering. Maybe you too?

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The United States has the unsavory distinction of spending the most money on health care per person in the world. How much? A staggering $9,237 per person! This is according to a study of 184 countries by the Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network. Higher spending does not necessarily mean better health overall, however. Compared to the U.K., which spends an average of $3,749 per person, the life expectancy in the U.S. is actually less — 79.1 years, while it’s 80.9 years in the U.K. In fact, the life expectancy of the U.S. ranks 12th. On the other end of the spectrum, Somalia spends the least amount of all nations at $33 per person.

Source: NPR | Date Updated: July 23, 2019
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2019, 07:33 PM
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GrumpyOldMan GrumpyOldMan is offline
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This is not news, it has been know for years that the US spends double (or more) and poorer results than most industrialized nations.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2019, 10:29 PM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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The only way to reduce health care costs is to require patients to pay a percentage of the cost every time they receive health care. That way they will shop around for lower cost providers and require providers to compete with each other. Insurance is fine, but if the coverage is 100 percent of the cost, there is no incentive for anyone to reduce the cost.
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2019, 06:12 AM
biker1 biker1 is online now
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You must always be careful when citing statistics. Life expectancy probably has as much to do with lifestyle as healthcare. Many in the US have less than ideal lifestyles, especially when compared to other countries, and healthcare can't really fix that. However, when it comes to trauma medicine we are probably the best in the world.

When it comes to healthcare, there are three issues; low cost, universality, and quality. Pick two because you can't have all three. I'll credit Ben Shapiro for saying this but the concept applies to other items/services.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twinklesweep View Post
I found this on a trivia website—and just the facts and figures left me wondering. Maybe you too?

------------------------------------------------------

The United States has the unsavory distinction of spending the most money on health care per person in the world. How much? A staggering $9,237 per person! This is according to a study of 184 countries by the Global Burden of Disease Health Financing Collaborator Network. Higher spending does not necessarily mean better health overall, however. Compared to the U.K., which spends an average of $3,749 per person, the life expectancy in the U.S. is actually less — 79.1 years, while it’s 80.9 years in the U.K. In fact, the life expectancy of the U.S. ranks 12th. On the other end of the spectrum, Somalia spends the least amount of all nations at $33 per person.

Source: NPR | Date Updated: July 23, 2019
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  #5  
Old 07-31-2019, 07:25 AM
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blueash blueash is offline
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Originally Posted by retiredguy123 View Post
The only way to reduce health care costs is to require patients to pay a percentage of the cost every time they receive health care. That way they will shop around for lower cost providers and require providers to compete with each other. Insurance is fine, but if the coverage is 100 percent of the cost, there is no incentive for anyone to reduce the cost.
Now that actually is a testable hypothesis. One could look at first world countries that require patients to pay a significant amount of the cost which in your thesis should be the ones where the total health care spending is relatively lower as requiring payment reduces use. And compare that to countries with say, government provided health care at no direct cost to the patient, which in your thesis would result in high costs. Hint.. you've got it backwards.
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  #6  
Old 07-31-2019, 09:03 AM
retiredguy123 retiredguy123 is offline
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Originally Posted by blueash View Post
Now that actually is a testable hypothesis. One could look at first world countries that require patients to pay a significant amount of the cost which in your thesis should be the ones where the total health care spending is relatively lower as requiring payment reduces use. And compare that to countries with say, government provided health care at no direct cost to the patient, which in your thesis would result in high costs. Hint.. you've got it backwards.
I don't think is would be fair to compare other governments and what they spend for things to what our country spends. We seem to have an unlimited budget for everything, and a 22 trillion dollar debt. We also have much more borrowing power than any other country, so our government can spend more. But, it all boils down to whether or not you believe that competition brings down costs. I think that it does.

Last edited by retiredguy123; 07-31-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2019, 05:12 PM
Quixote Quixote is offline
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Originally Posted by retiredguy123 View Post
The only way to reduce health care costs is to require patients to pay a percentage of the cost every time they receive health care. That way they will shop around for lower cost providers and require providers to compete with each other. Insurance is fine, but if the coverage is 100 percent of the cost, there is no incentive for anyone to reduce the cost.
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Originally Posted by retiredguy123 View Post
....But, it all boils down to whether or not you believe that competition brings down costs. I think that it does.
Competition CAN bring down costs in an 'honest' market—but it doesn't necessarily. For example, we knew a young couple up north who would have to spend $600/month EACH for what amounted to catastrophic coverage: $5,000 deductible EACH per year. Before having a nickel's worth of benefits, in a year they would have to spend $600/month x 12 = $7,200/year x 2 = $14,400 + $10,000 deductibles = $24,400/year! They checked every insurance company within their ZIP code, and their premiums were all within a dollar or two of each other. I would be more inclined to call this 'collusion' rather than 'competition'.... These folks moved to another first world country where the health care is excellent and the cost of it is less than one-tenth of what they would have to pay in the US!

The alternative? My wife was on a medication that required weekly blood testing. It was a stat test, meaning as soon as the blood was drawn, a courier had to transport it from the collection site to the processing lab. There they would determine results, generate paperwork for the physician and for the patient (by special permission), and deal with the insurance companies. The regular charge for this test in those days was $28; however, the insurance companies (plural) had negotiated with the lab to accept $2 (as in TWO DOLLARS) for performing this test. I asked how the lab can stay in business doing what was required for $2, and why call it a $28 test, that is, who pays $28?

Ready for the response? 'Only the uninsured pay $28. We have no choice but to accept the $2 from the insurance companies, or else we would get no business at all.'

No further comment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by blueash View Post
....One could look at first world countries that require patients to pay a significant amount of the cost which in your thesis should be the ones where the total health care spending is relatively lower as requiring payment reduces use. And compare that to countries with say, government provided health care at no direct cost to the patient, which in your thesis would result in high costs....
We just looked at a first world country—the US—where that young couple with insurance had to spend $24,200 before receiving any benefits from their coverage. Keep in mind, though, that 'government provided health care at no direct cost to the patient' does NOT mean 'free'; it's paid for in taxes. Those who object to paying taxes are reminded that another post pointed out that Somalia spends the least in the world on health care, thus low (possibly no) taxes! Any takers?

Whether health or lifestyle or other factors or a combination, I still shake my head at having learnt that on average people in the UK live nearly two years longer than those in the US—while spending only about one-third per person of what is spent in the US on health care. Perhaps we can learn something?

Last edited by Quixote; 07-31-2019 at 05:21 PM. Reason: fix grammatical error
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2019, 05:53 PM
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GrumpyOldMan GrumpyOldMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retiredguy123 View Post
The only way to reduce health care costs is to require patients to pay a percentage of the cost every time they receive health care. That way they will shop around for lower cost providers and require providers to compete with each other. Insurance is fine, but if the coverage is 100 percent of the cost, there is no incentive for anyone to reduce the cost.
Tell this to the mother whose child was hit by a drunk driver and her child was air lifted to the nearest hospital to save their life.

Shopping is almost never possible in emergencies and emergencies are the most expensive healthcare - and they happen to everyone eventually.

Tell the person allergic to bee stings to "shop around" for the pen/injector to save their lives, when a man bought the patent as is the "sole suppler" of a $20 pen and sells it for thousands.

The ONLY way to reduce healthcare costs is to recognize that healthy citizens are a benefit to everyone (do you want to live next door to someone with ebola or measles or the black plague?) - it improves GPD by making businesses more profitable to have more productive healthy workers.

The way to reduce healthcare costs is to regulate the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and treat health care as a right and not a profit center where big Pharma can black mail parents trying to save their children lives.
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