A Few More Interesting Health Care Statistics...

@anniepa (27280)
United States
March 2, 2008 10:20pm CST
OK, I'm well aware there are some of you here who are opposed to universal health care and that's that; I respect your opinions and I'm sure you have your own reasons for feeling as you do but I think for many who oppose it it's because they feel it will cost them more financially and it will take away their personal choices when it comes to health care for themselves and their families. Also, I know some people are scared away but some claims about various plans by current candidates, that of Hillary Clinton in particular. For the sake of this discussion I'm not talking about any specific plan by any specific candidate nor am I saying I think we have to have a plan run totally or in part by the government. It's just that this is an issue which I feel very passionately about for personal and family reasons so I'm always looking for more information on the subject and I found an article with some interesting statistics I thought I'd share here. http://www.consumercal.org/issues/healthfacts/ Here are a few of the facts listed here: The U.S. spends more than 3 times what France does administering health insurance, as a percentage of overall medical spending. Fewer than 20 percent of U.S. doctors use electronic medical records, among the lowest rates in industrialized countries. One-third of American adults have outstanding medical debt. Prescription drugs in the U.S. cost 30% to 60% more than the exact same medication sold anywhere else in the industrialized world. Almost 1/3 of every health care dollar goes to CEO’s, stockholders, marketing, duplicative claim processing, and insurance companies generally fighting patient claims. This compares to just 3.2% overhead costs for U.S. Medicare, a single payer system that virtually all seniors agree should be maintained. Each year, one million families go bankrupt because they can’t pay their medical bills. 18,000 Americans die every year because they lack health insurance. U.S. infant mortality rate is the highest in the industrialized world, 9.8 deaths per 100,000 births. For Canada, the number is 3.4. About 80% of uninsured Americans are employed. Those who receive health coverage from employers could continue to lose benefits and coverage as premiums continue to rise. In fact, job-based coverage, considered the primary source of health coverage for Americans, has eroded over the years, with fewer employers providing benefits and others requiring employees to pay a greater share. The percentage of non-elderly working adults with children offered health insurance through their jobs fell nationally to 66.8 percent in 2005 from 69.2 percent in 1997, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The World Health Organization ranked the US health care system 37th in overall performance. I know there are disagreements among us about how much should be done to fix our current system and how it should be fixed, but can't we start by agreeing we certainly could and should do better? I don't want to be told what doctor I can see any more than anyone else here does and I don't want to have to spend or pay money I can't afford for health care insurance, although I'm one of the lucky ones who is insured and therefore wouldn't be affected. However I will tell you this - I'm sick and tired of the insurance company rather than my doctors deciding what care I can or can't have. Do you agree or disagree with me and what do you think should be done for starters? Annie
3 responses
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
5 Mar 08
One glaring issue that stuck out (besides my having to hunt again for the statistics for confirmation) is that there is no mention of liability insurance. Thats one major factor in the destruction of medical care and healthcare provisions (just look at some states like Illinois for example, 4x expensive compared to surrounding states). Its liability insurance, but it did jack up during the 90s and the present (gotta love that sue-crazy feeling eh... -_-) Also profit is thrown around as a redherring, as if profit is always bad. Its actually not, but hey whatever you all want to believe on that. If people are willing to pay for products, they'll pay and thats part of the profit. Maybe products could be less expensive, but the market usually prevents gross abuses from occuring (if the product was too expensive, ridiculously expensive, very few would consume it, and the producers would have to adjust price). Eh, just thinking outloud I guess, pay no mind. You're sick and tired of the insurance company rather than doctors deciding what care you can have? Same here, and its been going on since the 70s, when Congress under Teddy boy (Ted Kennedy) tried their hand at "solving" healthcare. HMO is mentioned in your stats but not the complete story. And remember, under HMOs the physicians have more power on who gets advanced care plus the insurance companies had more ability to challenge the claims. If anything government helped break medical care, with the other culprits, under the guise of trying to fix it (when in reality it was to limit individual choice in the matter). Plus its a gouge and scam, since the companies make HMO and care plans lucrative to employers and not for the employees (that entails limiting choice and options whereever possible). In the present some of the same things are being said again and a similar solution is being proposed by some in power (or seeking it). I thought I had mentioned this earlier on the lot, but its been quite a time. Anyways, just another thing to consider when dealing with stateside government opting for government '(in)efficient' healthcare.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27280)
• United States
5 Mar 08
YOU - annoying, Pro? NEVER!! Where do I begin, or should I begin since I know we're never going to agree on this subject, which is fine, heck a lot of people don't agree with me on this subject. OK, first I will say I'm not in favor of the government running health care and I don't think anyone is proposing that at all and if they are I've yet to see any evidence of it. Next, you're right, I did neglect to mention liability insurance. I know it's a part of the problem but once again, I blame the insurance companies for charging good doctors outrageous premiums when they've never been sued along with the lawyers who bring "frivolous" cases to court. I don't think a person or their family's right to sue if they're injured or even die due to a health care professional's mistake or neglect should be taken away. Our former esteemed U.S. Senator from my state of Pa. Rick Santorum, who spoke out constantly against lawsuits and trial lawyers was hard-pressed to explain his own wife's suit against a chiropractor. http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=1300271 Somehow, although he'd sponsored two bills calling for a $250,000 cap on non-medical expenses awards in lawsuits he "supported his wife" and testified for her in court when she sued for $500,000. Seems the poor guy had to carry laundry up the cellar steps for her and her weight gain had made her ashamed to accompany him on the campaign trail. Excuse me while I cry a river for him... OK, I'm done bawling... As for this going on since the seventies, I remember the seventies very well and things were nothing like they are now. Of course many advances have been made since then but if someone needed care they got the best care that was available regardless of how much money they earned. There were some totally stupid things insurance companies insisted on that made no sense - for example, when I had my tubal ligation I had to be admitted into the hospital for a minimum of 18 hours, so even though it was a simple procedure and I was able to go home a few hours after it was done I had to go in and spend the night for my insurance to pay. That was stupid and cost them more money than it would have had to but nobody suffered because of it, except for my husband who had to change his own TV channels one night...lol (Yeah, that was before the remote control was universally used. It existed, but many of us didn't have one yet!) Here's an example of today's HMO - I have a really screwed up back and hip. I know it, my primary care doctor knows it, my chiropractor knows it. My doctor wanted me to have an MRI a few years ago but before my insurance would pay for it I had to go through a series of physical therapy, which did me more harm than good because they were putting me through these exercises and stretches to the point where I was walking in and almost crawling out. Finally the PT said he couldn't help me anymore and I had the MRI. Last year, my doctor decided I should have an other one done because my problems had worsened and stopped responding to treatment and medication as well. This time he decided to send me to a specialist instead of the PT because the specialist could order an MRI without as many preconditions. I went to the specialist's office, they took an x-ray, he pushed a few spots on my back and set up an appointment for an MRI. I paid him $25 for that and my insurance paid him $300. I guess none of this really "solves" anything, does it? Statistics and figures can be skewed to serve anyone's purpose and I can't disagree with some of what you've said. My feelings are - and, yes, they are feelings because these are people who are dying needlessly in my opinion, whether it's really 18,000 or slightly or a lot more or less - insurance is too expensive, health care services are too expensive, there are many reasons for it including greed and people who get services for which they can't pay, passing the costs along to those of us who can, and people are suffering and dying, not to mention losing their homes and going bankrupt. Too many are finding out too late they have a serious condition that could have been treated much more quickly and less expensively and some are dying because of it leaving spouses and children not only without their loved one but also in financial trouble due to loss of income and unpaid medical bills. To me this is a moral issue and an economic issue. Annie
@theprogamer (10539)
• United States
27 Mar 08
I did mess up and lumped government run healthcare with the universal (since I've seen some differences here and there). You are correct on that, please excuse the slip (it happens). I'll add this then I've said my peace for now. Its not completely an economic issue for me either. Its also one of the most complicated of problems to solve (I still rake my brain over it from time to time). Even with some solutions I've been thinking about, the implementation escapes me. Plus I realize implementing such change is far more difficult that imagined. (This doesn't mean I give up!) I'm just restating some of the difficulty in the problem. Of course the main issue is that many citizens are really hurting over this either financially or morally. No matter the stance... something has to be done here.
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@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
4 Mar 08
The problem is so multiheaded that there is no easy solution. We're not in Germany, France, UK, or Canada. I'll try to give a rudimentary rundown of the problem Doctor's visits cost too much, because insurance costs too much, because too many people commit insurance fraud, because doctor's visits cost too much... The government is so heavily in the pocket of big business that you can't count on any politicians to dig us out. I'm afraid that if the government had as big a hand in health care as they do in Germany then we'd be making appointments with hospitals the way we do at the DMV. Ever made one of those appointments? I haven't because the appointment line is longer and moves slower than the walk in line. Our system sucks. My parents travel alot and buy their prescription medicines in India. A student of mine flies to China to see the doctor and get surgery when necessary because even with the flight it's cheaper to go there. The Universal health care might provide free health care to people listed as beneath poverty level, but people like me, who earn just enough to get by would get nothing from the government while being forced to pay for insurance. If I could pay for insurance I'd already have it. Since insurance can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 a month, it would kill me to spend that and certainly wouldn't leave me any room to pay the deductibles if I actually had to go to the doctor.
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@anniepa (27280)
• United States
5 Mar 08
"If I could pay for insurance I'd already have it. Since insurance can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 a month, it would kill me to spend that and certainly wouldn't leave me any room to pay the deductibles if I actually had to go to the doctor." Believe it or not, since I'm pretty much "on the record" as being in favor of universal health care, I totally know where you're coming from and - sorry to use an old cliche - I "feel your pain" for real! From what some friends of mine have told me, $150 to $500 a month is a bargain compared to what some pay for health insurance, depending on how many people are covered or the type of coverage, of course. I still don't understand where anyone is getting that it would be free for the poor but the rest of us would have to pay the same or more than what most pay now. The idea is to make it affordable for everyone, and it's not about putting the government in control it's about putting us in control instead of the greedy, corrupt insurance companies. Annie
@Taskr36 (13923)
• United States
5 Mar 08
The problem is that forcing us to pay for health insurance means we have NO control over it. I have no control over my auto insurance. I have a car, so I must have insurance. By the policies proposed, I am alive, so I will have to have health insurance. At least with car insurance I can choose not to own a car. Being alive is a much different situation.
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@4ftfingers (1313)
4 Mar 08
Being from the UK where we have universal health care I am a strong supporter of it. But it would definitely be hard to manage in a country as big as the US. Maybe you should have individual state universal health care. That way if a state is failing and the people in that particular state aren't receiving as good health care as others, it can be scrutinised and they can work out what is going wrong, eg poor management. The only thing I don't like about universal health care is that they tend to splash money around when there is no shareholders to satisfy. I used to work for an electrical firm who were subcontracted to do work for our health service (the NHS). The company I worked for charged ridiculous prices for the work that we did because whoever managed the accounts at the NHS were to lazy to do their research. It's annoying when you see yours and everyone's tax money going down the drain like that.
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