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The Other Side of the Health Care Crisis


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#1 tarheelpride

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:23 PM

This is a long article, but a good read. A few of the points are below.


Yet those who work in the health care industry and those who argue over health care policy seem inured to the shock. When we debate health care policy, we seem to jump right to the issue of who should pay the bills, blowing past what should be the first question: Why exactly are the bills so high?

What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?

Recchi’s bill and six others examined line by line for this article offer a closeup window into what happens when powerless buyers — whether they are people like Recchi or big health-insurance companies — meet sellers in what is the ultimate seller’s market.

The result is a uniquely American gold rush for those who provide everything from wonder drugs to canes to high-tech implants to CT scans to hospital bill-coding and collection services. In hundreds of small and midsize cities across the country — from Stamford, Conn., to Marlton, N.J., to Oklahoma City — the American health care market has transformed tax-exempt “nonprofit” hospitals into the towns’ most profitable businesses and largest employers, often presided over by the regions’ most richly compensated executives. And in our largest cities, the system offers lavish paychecks even to midlevel hospital managers, like the 14 administrators at New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who are paid over $500,000 a year, including six who make over $1 million.


.......


The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 10 of the 20 occupations that will grow the fastest in the U.S. by 2020 are related to health care. America’s largest city may be commonly thought of as the world’s financial-services capital, but of New York’s 18 largest private employers, eight are hospitals and four are banks. Employing all those people in the cause of curing the sick is, of course, not anything to be ashamed of. But the drag on our overall economy that comes with taxpayers, employers and consumers spending so much more than is spent in any other country for the same product is unsustainable. Health care is eating away at our economy and our treasury.


The health care industry seems to have the will and the means to keep it that way. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the pharmaceutical and health-care-product industries, combined with organizations representing doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, health services and HMOs, have spent $5.36 billion since 1998 on lobbying in Washington. That dwarfs the $1.53 billion spent by the defense and aerospace industries and the $1.3 billion spent by oil and gas interests over the same period. That’s right: the health-care-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.
.......


Unlike those of almost any other area we can think of, the dynamics of the medical marketplace seem to be such that the advance of technology has made medical care more expensive, not less. First, it appears to encourage more procedures and treatment by making them easier and more convenient. (This is especially true for procedures like arthroscopic surgery.) Second, there is little patient pushback against higher costs because it seems to (and often does) result in safer, better care and because the customer getting the treatment is either not going to pay for it or not going to know the price until after the fact.
Beyond the hospitals’ and doctors’ obvious economic incentives to use the equipment and the manufacturers’ equally obvious incentives to sell it, there’s a legal incentive at work. Giving Janice S. a nuclear-imaging test instead of the lower-tech, less expensive stress test was the safer thing to do — a belt-and-suspenders approach that would let the hospital and doctor say they pulled out all the stops in case Janice S. died of a heart attack after she was sent home.
“We use the CT scan because it’s a great defense,” says the CEO of another hospital not far from Stamford. “For example, if anyone has fallen or done anything around their head — hell, if they even say the word head — we do it to be safe. We can’t be sued for doing too much.”


Link.

This does present us with the other side of the Health Care equation: why exactly are the bills so high? Its an angle I never thought of before, even during the health care debate.

#2 carpantherfan84

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:43 PM

This article explains why I could never be a republican. I dont believe that ANYONE should be able to profit over whether someone lives or dies. America has to stand for something other than unabashed/unashamed capitalism. I may not have all the answers as to how to achieve this the right way, but if I had to make a choice I choose to give the beneifit to the patient. Health Care should not be a luxury of the wealthy nor should it be a measure of control used against the poor.

The past practices of the health care system is what happens when profits meets unregulation.

#3 Montsta

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:49 AM

This article explains why I could never be a republican. I dont believe that ANYONE should be able to profit over whether someone lives or dies. America has to stand for something other than unabashed/unashamed capitalism. I may not have all the answers as to how to achieve this the right way, but if I had to make a choice I choose to give the beneifit to the patient. Health Care should not be a luxury of the wealthy nor should it be a measure of control used against the poor.

The past practices of the health care system is what happens when profits meets unregulation.


You may want to start looking at properties in other countries. Because its not about republicans or democrats, America is pure capitalism. It's what we asked for as a country hundreds of years ago, and its what we got. America is about doing whatever you can to make money and get to the top. Nothing else matters. If you aren't ok with that, I hear Ecuador is actually quite nice.

#4 twylyght

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:02 AM

I suppose health care should be free. It seems to work so well for other countries where doctors are paid closer to what janitors make rather than government executives.

#5 GOOGLE RON PAUL

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 03:25 AM

oh america has the highest healthcare costs in the world? WELL I GUESS WE SHOULD JUST MAKE IT FREE THEN HUH LIEBERAL THERE IS LITERALLY NO OTHER OPTION BUT TO EITHER MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO AND FORCE MIDDLE CLASS AND LOWER CLASS FAMILIES TO RISK FINANCIAL RUIN OR JUST MAKE IT FREE FOR ALL AND NOT EVEN PAY DOCTORS RIGHT LIBTARD

#6 Delhommey

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:22 AM

I suppose health care should be free. It seems to work so well for other countries where doctors are paid closer to what janitors make rather than government executives.

In Belgium, they also execute doctors that refuse to give forced abortions.

#7 twylyght

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

In Belgium, they also execute doctors that refuse to give forced abortions.


Don't forget that everyone in England that has health care worth a damn is getting supplemental insurance... because the state-run insurance is doing such an awesome job

#8 Niner National

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

I suppose health care should be free. It seems to work so well for other countries where doctors are paid closer to what janitors make rather than government executives.

Posted Image

While doctors here do make the most money in the world, doctors in most other first world countries are making very healthy salaries as well.

If janitors are making $75-110,000/yr I'm trading in my office for a mop and bucket.

#9 Niner National

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:36 AM

Most hospitals that are supposed to be non-profit institutions do not operate like non-profit institutions. Some run with profit margins as high as 30% and executives that make millions of dollars each year. That is a corporation, not a non-profit.

CMC's CEO makes like $4 million/yr and they have like 5 other execs all making well over a million a year too. Their profit margins and care costs are exceptionally high when compared to the national average.

Medicare and medicaid pay the non-profit cost of healthcare services. Basically they pay the cost of the medicine and the cost of the labor to administer it without markup. Hospitals then charge private insurance several times that for the same services so they can pay out huge salaries to executives AND have a killer profit margin.

#10 twylyght

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:47 AM

Because doctors know how to run a business well enough that they never hired CEOs to run theirs

#11 twylyght

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

Posted Image

While doctors here do make the most money in the world, doctors in most other first world countries are making very healthy salaries as well.

If janitors are making $75-110,000/yr I'm trading in my office for a mop and bucket.


http://www.nypost.co...xzR8m202QAPiVZP

#12 Niner National

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:56 AM

http://www.nypost.co...xzR8m202QAPiVZP

lol, to NY I go then.

#13 twylyght

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:01 AM

This is the world in which we live... truth stranger than fiction. And the writing is on the wall for anyone with eyes to see. The older doctors are going to retire. We will have less doctors coming in because it is stupid to rack up the education bills, malpractice insurance, office overhead, etc and then hope that things don't get worse to get the living you hope for when all is said and done.

When history is re-written for a favorable outlook for those looking back, it will all be the loser's fault for whatever reason.

#14 thatlookseasy

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:07 AM

This is the world in which we live... truth stranger than fiction. And the writing is on the wall for anyone with eyes to see. The older doctors are going to retire. We will have less doctors coming in because it is stupid to rack up the education bills, malpractice insurance, office overhead, etc and then hope that things don't get worse to get the living you hope for when all is said and done.

When history is re-written for a favorable outlook for those looking back, it will all be the loser's fault for whatever reason.


If america has too few doctors than money doesnt work as a motivator because they are consistently one of, if not the highest paid profession around.

From what I've seen, there are plenty of people going to med school, but everyone wants to go into a specialty instead of general practice- cause why go out and treat sick people all day when you can get paid more to read a few scans and run some outrageously priced tests

#15 Happy Panther

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:13 AM

You may want to start looking at properties in other countries. Because its not about republicans or democrats, America is pure capitalism.


I know what you are saying, but we are far from pure capitalism.


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