Much of the rising cost problem is in the mirror. I.e. people tend to think that more care is always better care, even though some common tests and procedures have been shown to have very little or no effect on survival rates or healthier outcomes (even disregarding monetary costs).
When the USPSTF says something about the dubious value of mammograms for <50 normal-risk women, or PSA screening for normal-risk men, there is a big outcry from people complaining about someone trying to ration their medical care (even though private and government insurance companies already ration medical care for all but the very rich self-pay people).
In addition to the above, which is certainly an issue, you have the administrative costs associated with medicine in the US. These are huge expenses that aren't "sexy" or hot topics, but along with the issues mentioned thus far, contribute to a large proportion of what people pay for medical care. Frontline ran a great story about healthcare several years ago and it was quite clear how much of a burden administrative costs are vs pretty much every other system of care out there. Not to say that universal healthcare-type systems don't have drawbacks because they do, but administrative costs are quite a bit lower in many places with this type of healthcare system. Of course there's also the contribution of costs for various drug and device therapies, which can be outrageously expensive. The fact is, that as people get older, they have more and more health problems and are receiving more and more drug or device therapy to manage their problems. As the US population gets older, this will be an increasingly significant problem.
The problem is, fixing things like malpractice or pay without touching anything else will only scratch the surface of addressing the healthcare problem in the US. The capitalist, "for profit", nature of many elements of the healthcare system, and the related consequences of such a system, represents a significant challenge for ourselves moving forwards. There is no healthcare magic bullet out there, unfortunately.
True again for the "system." However, I will say that there is a magic bullet for the average person. Just eat fresh unprocessed foods. Keep the sugar and animal proteins down. Cut out the processed foods. And exercise. Many of our chronic issues would disappear.There is no healthcare magic bullet out there, unfortunately.
Easier said than done when the first option presented to the average medical system consumer is some new fancy drug. So being an informed consumer is part of the process. Not doing so means you will win the Darwin award.
It sucks that healthy people have to pay for unhealthy and stubborn people who refuse to get healthy.
Some docs are only interested in billing and writing prescriptions. Instead of telling the patient what they should do they write meds to keep people alive barely. Oh yea, you can't tell fat people to slim down, it's their right and it's also an insult and that's not socially acceptable.
These are the folks that are taxing our health care costs.
Additionally, and no one talks about it for fear of losing votes, but old people have "Cadillac" health care as far as I'm concerned. My grandparents seem like they live at the doctor. Mostly they're there for bloodwork and follow up appointments (thankfully) and they always gloat about how medicare "picks this up and that up". That has to cost the taxpayers a lot of money. Not saying that they shouldn't have care, they definitely should IMO (Is there even private insurance available to people over the age of 85?) But, there has to be a way to cost cut it but still maintain quality care. Not to mention, that all the tests that seniors have performed on them can't be good for their psyche. Not to sound like a hippie, but if my doctor was constantly recommending tests because he noticed an abnormality, then I would be overly stressed and probably induce sickness.
I guess the real solution is the simplest one - everyone gets healthier...or starts tasking risks (driving fast, mountain climbing, bridge jumping, etc.) j/k
Not to mention the lack of new medical schools and the lack of residency positions. For some strange reason, residency positions are funded by Medicare. Whoever thought of that bright idea should be drawn and quartered.
I really like my current doctor, but I see him like every 2 years. Last time I saw him was to ask for Xanax for airplane flight, and ~2 years before that I got a physical (He didn't request it -I did it for myself out of curiosity).
Quite frankly, I would be fine with a less qualified person (like a nurse) writing me prescriptions or giving me health advice/guidance. It's not like Doctors don't make mistakes. I used to work in a pharmacy as a teenager. According to the Pharmacists there were several cases where a Doctor would write prescriptions for multiple medications that potentially could have had FATAL results if taken together. Maybe it was just Pharmacists talking crap, but i have no reason not to have believed them.
Additionally, the high cost of entry discourages many physicians from entering primary care because they can pay back their loans faster in a specialty. There's a huge demand that cannot possibly be filled at the current rate we're graduating primary care doctors and it's only going to get worse.
Even the AMA is realizing the seriousness of the issue. It's not something you should love at all.
Not sure how it will end, but I think the outrageous costs will eventually force patients to seek alternatives, and when they find out alternatives work better, are safer, and much cheaper, and don't permanently chain them to expensive treatments, they won't return.
The way to lower prices is to increase the number of doctors so there is competition.
Insurance Costs Rise, But More Slowly
by Julie Rovner
If you get health insurance on the job, chances are it cost more again this year.
Annual family health insurance premiums rose about 4 percent to $15,745 in 2012, according to the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust.
Now that's a fairly modest increase by historical standards, and well down from last year's 9 percent. Still, it's more than double the 1.7 percent increase in average wages and way above the 2.3 percent rate of general inflation this year.
"In terms of employee insurance costs, this year's 4 percent increase qualifies as a good year, but it still takes a growing bit out of middle-class workers' wages, which have been flat or falling in real terms," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.
Why the slowdown? One big reason may lie in a general decline in health care use. As the economy sputtered, people tended to be more reluctant to use health care services. At the same time, employers passed more of the costs to workers — in the form of higher premium and cost sharing, making them more reluctant still.
One new finding in this year's survey is that firms that employ mostly lower-wage workers (those earning $24,000 annually or less) are more likely to offer coverage with high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs than firms that have mostly higher-paid (more than $55,000 annually) workers. At the firms with many lower-paid workers, 44 percent of those with coverage face an annual deductible of $1,000 or more, compared to only 29 percent of those at higher-paying firms.
Given that the survey comes in the midst of a presidential election campaign, the natural question will be what impact President Obama's Affordable Care Act has had on the better-than-expected results.
The answer: Not much.
"We're still waiting for a lot of the important provisions to take effect for small firms," said Kaiser's Gary Claxton. That won't happen until 2014.
That didn't stop opponents of the law, however, from blaming it for the increases — or rather, blaming it for not stopping the increases altogether.
"Candidate Obama said repeatedly his bill would CUT premiums by an average of $2,500 per family — meaning premiums would go DOWN, not merely just 'go up by less than projected.' The campaign also promised that that those reductions would occur within Obama's first term," said a release from the Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee.
But the survey did point out at least one clear — and popular — result of one of the health law's early benefits. It found 2.9 million young adults (up to age 26) are currently covered on their parents' plans who otherwise wouldn't have employer coverage. That's up from 2.3 million a year earlier.
That last bit is the part that confuses me...we're going to insure more people under existing policies, but we're going to promise rates will go down? Politicians' logic at its finest! Those policies are going to pay out more in claims because there are more people covered...how difficult is it to recognize the lie?
Sure, we spread the risk across a larger pool, but that pool will include a whole bunch of people who were previously uninsured due to pre existing conditions, who will initially run to the doctor for a bunch of what I'll call "deferred maintenance."
The comments section has some quality comments/discussion.
Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
it will cost more to take your animals to the vet too under the new taxes going into effect in 2013 for Obamacare.
The last straw to see if this all works are the health care exchanges, which I hope the feds setup and effectively enforce.
Originally Posted by Turbiodiesel!
they're steppin' on my rhythm and they're stealin' all my lines
As for the increase, I was surprised because leadership and HR did not think it was going to be significant back in Aug...however thanks to a nice company profit last in '12...my 2013 salary increase offsets this HC increase and the 2% payroll tax increase.
Yea for the evil, capitalist banking industry!
Last edited by tbvvw; 02-07-2013 at 03:15 PM.