Capitalism’s Unfortunate Downside:
A little while ago, I found a very shocking statistic.
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:
1) Costs From Drug Companies
2) Insurance Companies
3) Rules For Getting Insured
4) Costs From Those Who Aren’t Insured Anyway
5) Malpractice Insurance For Doctors
6) “Defensive Medicine” Procedures
8) Individual Practitioners & Specialists
9) Inpatient + Outpatient Care
10) Disease & Obesity Rates
10) Government Beauracracy
12) Failure of Government To Negotiate Lower Prices
13) And The Tendency To Spend More If You’re a +/- “Rich” Country
-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