Though we didn’t have government health insurance until recently, the stat said the US spends the most money on healthcare; -in the entire world.
The closest competitor to us was Switzerland. And even though you wouldn’t expect to see people dropping like flies in a “rough” place like that, we still spent more.
So in this video, John Green of Vlog Brothers and Mental Floss fame turns some research into a newer, more internet-ified picture of why it costs so much here…
There’s A Lot To Consider:
-And unfortunately, the conclusions are tough.
Considering everything from:
Costs From Drug Companies
Rules For Getting Insured
Costs From Those Who Aren’t Insured Anyway
Malpractice Insurance For Doctors
“Defensive Medicine” Procedures
Individual Practitioners & Specialists
Inpatient + Outpatient Care
Disease & Obesity Rates
Failure of Government To Negotiate Lower Prices
And The Tendency To Spend More If You’re a +/- “Rich” Country
[ed: delete a few of these for later articles, like $4500 stitches by Wired]
-John walks us through many of the complicated, hidden, under-advertised & counterintuitive details why it may be so pricey.
We Don’t Follow The Spending Curve, We Defy It:
And the funny thing is that even when compared to ratio of money that other countries have vs. how much they spend,
Our taxed, employer-provided, & out-of-pocket spending is STILL not even close to the trend-line that every other developed-country follows.
It’s at least double under most metrics.
Oh yeah, and even better than that?…
We Are No Healthier and Don’t Live Any Longer than they do; -actually even a bit less.
We Are No Healthier For Spending $200 On A Specialist vs. $20 On A “Chemist”:
And at $40 a visit and $20 or less per prescription, neither my friends, family, nor I saw anyone dropping-dead on the streets of Europe when we were there.
-Heck, in the UK, you don’t usually even go to a doctor first.
You go to a “Chemist”, who is like 1/2 Physician, 1/2 Pharmacist and tries to sort you out first before you ever go near a hospital or specialist.
And even though most of the conclusions seem to point to just plain-old Everything being more expensive,
There Are one or two interesting stats:
There Are Many Factors, But At Least 2 Stick Out:
The greatest share (about 20% of Total or 75% of Unexpected (about $500 Billion)) of our outsized spending goes to Hospitals, Specialists and Private Physicians (in the form of Inpatient+Outpatient care).
And unfortunately, healthcare is one of the few areas of American commerce that is not a Free Market with much competition or transparency at all.
You have what Economists call “Inelastic Demand” for the services most of the time.
Your need is really a “must” than a “should”; it’s not that negotiable. -Especially by you as a single, tiny individual.
Healthcare Is Not The Free Market We Know Elsewhere In The US:
So neither is the price, and the providers, especially Hospitals & Emergency-Rooms will charge as much as they possibly can.
And if anything out there says “American Healthcare System”, it’s the stories of $3 pills of Aspirin, $1,600 Bags of Saline, $4,300 Single X-Rays, $8k CT-Scans, $100k+ Hip-Replacements, and beyond…
Great video that’s worth a look, as are the rest of the details at the Links:
Video, “Why Are American Health Care Costs So High?”, by the Vlogbrothers
Graph, “Health care spending per capita, adjusted for purchasing power”, by McKinsey & Company, based on data by OECD
Graph, “Actual Vs. Expected Health Spending In The US”, by TIE and McKinsey & Company, based on data by OECD
• Source: Incidental Economist-What Makes US Healthcare So Expensive?
• via: YT-The Vlog Brothers
• More Coverage: Wired-Actually, Mr. Brill, Fixing Healthcare Is Kinda Simple
• Source Studies: TIE-Expected vs. Actual Healthcare Spending By Category | HealthAffairs-U.S. Health Care Spending In An International Context | Commonwealth Fund-Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality