Skip to comments.Is U.S. Health Care Truly 'Broken'?
Posted on 10/24/2010 3:36:08 AM PDT by Scanian
There are reasonable people who question whether our health care system is, in fact, "broken," as opined by President Obama. (This is one of the few conclusions he makes with which I agree. Of course, ObamaCare is very clearly not the solution.)
Objective, evidence-based analysis of the U.S. health care system leads to the well-worn doctor joke: "I have good news and bad news." Every assertion below has "hard" scientific proof. What follows is fact, not unsubstantiated opinion.
First, the good news
Americans have better health care outcomes than most others: better survival rates for common cancers than Europeans, better preventative cancer screening than Canadians, better access to chronic disease treatments, greater and much faster access to new technologies, less waiting times for care than in either Great Britain or Canada, and higher patient satisfaction here than in most European "universal health care" countries.
By any measure you choose -- patents applied for, new drugs or procedures, Nobel prizes, and more -- the USA is the most medically innovative country on the planet.
American-trained providers are considered the best. The super-rich fly from all over the world to the USA for their medical care. They do not go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for the weather.
Now, the bad news
The "bad news" is financial difficulty, provider shortages, and outcomes.
The U.S. spends more per capita on health care ($4,631) than any other nation. Interestingly, eight countries have annual increases in national spending greater than ours. Until the recent U.S. real estate collapse, medical bills were the leading cause of personal bankruptcies.
Forty-five million American residents (13% of our population) have no health insurance. Interestingly, 24% are uninsured by choice: they qualify for government assistance programs but refuse to sign up. .
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
Unsurprisingly, there are very few liberals in the industry.
While some aspects of the US Healthcare system could have used a little tune-up, I don't think it was broken.
I'm self-employed, a great-grandfather too young to qualify for medicare and too "rich" to qualify for public assistance--IOW, I pay my bills, but carry catastrophic health insurance to take care of anything really big. Thankfully, I'm fairly healthy and not generally accident prone. While I cannot say I have always been satisfied with individual physicians, I'm still here.
In addition to its financial woes, health care has personnel issues. There are not enough doctors and nurses for our current health care needs. What will happen when (if) ObamaCare adds 30-45 million more people to the rolls of the insured?
To get rid of administrative overhead:
1) Make the health care insurance market more competitive by allowing purchase across state lines. Competition should help squeeze out waste.
2) Remove the tax breaks for health care. Tax breaks on mortgage payments and health insurance have made home and health over-sized portions of our economy. Young people saving for their first home overpay for the home because of increased demand for that home due to tax breaks, and have overpowered health care plans pushed at them with government backing.
3) A friend in the medical industry made a good point to me: with 1/2 the population insured to the hilt it makes sense for the industry to develop treatment programs that cost hundreds of thousands or even a million dollars. Amounts that only the very few can afford. If there was not this over-insurance, the companies would develop more affordable treatments that they could actually sell. Cars are not built like super-safe luxury tanks. Who could afford them? Obama's program goes in the opposite direction: everyone must insure. Costs will go through the roof or it will be rationed. Standard treatment policies at a lower cost could be written to stop the risk of a 700,000 cost for one illness in the family; rationing made in a cost/benefit decision by the family itself. The policy makers would have to look at what regulations or dynamics is stopping this market innovation. HMO's have not succeeded since they are doctor based restrictions, not treatment based restrictions, on this one.
4) Charity. A kid, a young mother, a young dad, get caught flatfooted and under-insured. With a properly sized government, private charity should step in. There is a hospital that treats children for free for everything they are not insured for, St. Jude. Ronald McDonald houses put up parents for free when they have children in need of extended housing needs. With a less intrusive government, charities would step up to the plate and we would give to them.
5) Preventative care, routine operations, and testing are the most common needs people have. They should be able to insure for those alone instead of the extreme need situations.
6) If you save $200,000, you may have your retirement, college fund, etc., plans wiped out by an illness if you are not insured to the hilt, but you've got the savings. Government forcing us to put our savings in different buckets through tax laws (and then charging a penalty or simply not allowing us to spend when we need it (IRA, pre-paid college, Social Security etc.) are travesties.
I'm blithering, and not an expert, so I'll stop with my ideas. But I'm saying there are free market solutions.
Health care is great. The Federal Government is what is broken. It is beyond repair. A Con-Con is needed. We only need 34 states to call for it and this spider web of failure can be eliminated. They will not fix it themselves..ever. Even if they wanted to it is impossible.
I disagree. We need to have at least one party that is patriotic and for the citizens rather than the big businesses and big government before we could even consider a Constitutional Convention. You want the Olympia Snowes and Linda Murkowskis and Jerry Browns and . . . working on our Constitution?
There is no problem with our health care. It is the envy of the world, we have the finest Doctors, the best facilities, the most advanced technologies in all related fields, the best access to services.
To say our health care system is broken is a lie.
There is a difference between 50 million peoples not having access to health care services and not having insurance.
The true problem with having the best health care in history is it is expensive.
The reason it is expensive is because the bills are paid by other peoples money, ie: Insurance companies, and public assistance. Thus, there is no incentive for competitive pricing. The average consumer feels they avoided financial destruction by paying thousands of dollars every year in premiums.
In other words, if you dont want bad things to happen to you, then you better pay up.
Its called the protection racket and its the second oldest way to make a living. Its also called extortion.
The entire problem with the health care system is not with health care, its insurance. To mandate that everyone has insurance only serves to make matters worse. Like trying to put out a fire with buckets of gasoline.
The true solution is to establish a system that ensures lowering costs while encouraging even more advancements over our already lofty standards. The only way to achieve the desired results is by injecting the patient with the only proven formula that reduces costs and increases quality. The name of this time tested, undeniably successful panacea, is free enterprise.
The average family of four taking home around fifty thousand dollars a year after taxes, spends twenty percent of their after tax money on extortion payments. If a medical crisis occurs every twenty years, then they have spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on paying for it. If the event costs 170,000 dollars then the insurance company gets to keep 80,000 dollars. If the event costs 330,000 dollars then the insurance company looses 80,000 dollars. Insurance companies like these odds. In fact, that is exactly how they make so much money.
Over your lifetime, your extortion...um, premium payments will exceed half a million dollars. Whatever is not spent on medical bills, the insurance company keeps. Any sane person feels some resentment in those facts and has no interest whatsoever in being proactive about keeping the costs down, in fact, some feel that, the more those bastards have to spend the better!.
We have a system where the buyer, who gets mugged every month, pays the seller with money from the thief !
Hardly conducive to having a competitive market. In fact it ensures that prices of both health care and health insurance will never go down, instead, it ensures that prices will always go up.
The medicine for this terminal condition is obvious and will have stunning side effects, rapidly soaring the entire economy to heights never before encountered.
Medical care entities bill the patient directly, all invoices will have the option for installments with terms, or payment in full.
Every person could be required to deposit 20% of any gross income into an interest bearing personal health care savings account. The interest calculated is based on the rate of inflation.
This is their money to keep and spend as they like with the provision that if the money is spent for medicinal purposes then it is tax free. Up ton once every year, you may withdraw up to half of the money, but if not used for healthcare care it would be taxed as income.
The action sets to action a new and powerful dynamic.
At first, prices will settle to what the market can bear.
Then, enterprising people will figure ways to dominate the market by lowering prices, making money thru sheer volume as say a Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears and so many others. This will force some out of business but will lower the prices across the entire industry.
Mean while, the consumers will be flushed with capital on hand and a feeling of security and confidence. The economy will grow with unbridled stride. Large ticket items will be in high demand, Finding enough workers, not jobs, will be the major problem and the poor will enrich themselves. It would mark the beginning of a new frontier of prosperity.
What Constitution? It has been ignored for years. That is why we are in this mess with no way out. It is an impossible menagerie of Federal laws, rules, regulations, agencies, and programs and debt that anyone with a calculator that can work with ‘trillions’ can easily figure out. Republicans, 3rd parties nor any party can not repair it. 200 trillions of dollars and climbing is mission impossible. The A-Team could not even figure out a plan. It is time for the States to take action. Take out your calculator and try to work it starting with a two hundred trillion dollar debt. 100% taxes on everyone will not fix it.
In these times, there is no room for compromise.
In war, compromise equals surrender.
Make no mistake, we are at war and we must win. This November I would suggest voting for only those who would support and protect the only one and true American way:
· They support the strict enforcement of the Constitution
· The Constitution is not a living and breathing document, that it not subject to interpretation or change except through the amendment process.
· Czar or Tsar is a communist title and those positions must be immediately eliminated.
· Any Communist or Socialist program or scheme to redistribute the wealth must be rescinded.
· Anyone uttering the words Workers of the World Unite should be immediately deported to a communist nation of their choice.
· The Federal Government is to immediately with draw from any and all programs that have not been specifically granted to them by the U.S. Constitution.
· The Federal Government must issue Shares to all tax paying Americans of all companies that received Federal bailout monies.
· One hundred percent of all Tax Revenue is to be used for defense and border security; all other programs will be eliminated with those personnel transferred to border security. This includes large detainment camps to accommodate all illegal aliens now within our borders. All excess funds will then be applied to the national debt.
· All Departments that are not Defense related will be substituted at State level to be outsourced to private companies with four-year renewal contracts. For instance, Park s Management, Public Works, in fact, all infrastructures can be made into an industry instead of a tax burden.
· All monies stolen from the Social Security system are to be immediately repaid.
· No law will be presented for approval that exceeds ten pages.
This short list of initiatives would restore democracy, cure unemployment, wipe out national and personal debt thereby enabling the freedoms and liberties that were always intended by the founding fathers, but have been relentlessly stolen from we the people.
Every person could be required to deposit 20% of any gross income into an interest bearing personal health care savings account. The interest calculated is based on the rate of inflation.
This is their money to keep and spend as they like with the provision that if the money is spent for medicinal purposes then it is tax free.
Just wow. I was thinking along the same lines, but the idea of savings accounts that are tax free based on how the money is spent is brilliant. Did you come up with it or run across it somewhere?
The Federal government is incapable of healing itself at this point. They along with the Federal Reserve are beyond repair. It is a ‘Clunker’. We should put all our energy and support in to our State Governments and get 34 of them to call a con-con to wipe out the Feds and their schemes. Article 5 was put in the constitution just for this problem.
Constitutions are written and interpreted by men. Which men write and/or interpret are decided by political processes, in every society, always and without fail. If we conservatives cannot win in the political process, we cannot win in a Constitutional Convention. The laws will be written by others, they will be interpretted by others. If we control the politics then we do not need a Constitutional Convention. Amendments would be enough.
For instance, we could pay, on our own, for a broken arm, gall bladder removal, basic heart attack, and maybe even most of the cost of breast cancer...but...we would be wiped out in the event of a very long stay in an ICU.
Also....When we were running our small business, we could have afforded a high deductible health plan for our employees. Yes, it would have left them with a big bill in the case of a horrible illness or accident, but they wouldn't be bankrupt. Because insurance is so highly regulated by our state, this option was not open to us as employers and, over the years, many of our employees lived without any health insurance at all.
It just steams me that our state legislators have put us in the position of having to buy more health insurance than we really need.
There is no health insurance any longer. It is now a monthly tax you pay. Out of that the Feds will determine, in forced collusion with your “insurer”, just how much of what benefits you will get.
We the People in the end, have to take responsibility for the mess in DC.It means getting up from the computer and TV and getting involved.
As far as I know, this is something I contrived here on a FR a few months ago. I keep reposing it in the hopes people will begin to spread the word.
Because we treat and try to save premies that other countries don't even register as live births, let alone try to save? I find it disgusting when a supposed conservative fully subscribes to a liberal talking point without evidence of having knowledge of the subject (did yu know salsa is the most popular condiment in the U.S.?)
Let me be up front about this, I do believe healthcare is broken, and for the reasons you mentioned. But, Just as you can drive a car with a broken radio, so too is our healthcare system broken. And we really do need health care reform. Why are we fixing a perfectly good road for a car with flat tires? I like your ideas; they make sense, but since when does the government do what would make sense? What needed to be done is to focus on the Insurance (and lawsuit riddled) side of things and make people responsible for their actions... GASP! Personal responsibility? It’s not my fault I shot all those people, it was the bully in 3rd grade! erm, the twinkies I eat for breakfast everyday? erm, It wasn’t me on that video! Sure, right, we are conditioned by lawyers to not accept anything as being our fault, always someone or something else at fault. The health care system is the best as you say and for the reasons you mention, I say it is also broken, in much the same way our government is.
Thank you for the thought provoking post!
I would add that the minds of men are formed in schools! If children attend godless government schools that are funded through threat of police action on the taxpayer, they learn three things:
** to think godlessly
** to be comfortable with taking money from their neighbor
** to be comfortable as serfs on the government feudal estate
Conservatives MUST MUST MUST work to shut down government K-12 schooling and work to get children into **private** conservative schools that teach the specific Judeo Christian values of the child's family and our nation's founding principles.
Marxism is our nation's most urgent and dangerous threat. Schools are the Marxists’ **most** powerful weapon against us.
Right. I sure do not have the answers. I do know that we are at the breaking point for the Monster we have created. I also know that Article 5 is probably our last chance to save ourselves from it. It beats food riots in the streets.
I’m with you. I think it is absolutely brilliant. Kudos.
That’s my same situation. I just got a thirty percent inmcrease after getting a twenty percent increase a few months ago. I am beyond livid.
Look at the people we have in Congress. Are those the kind of folks you would trust to rewrite the Constitution?
We elect the “they.” If we can’t win the battle over who the “they” are, we can’t win, period, in my opinion. The Constitutional Convention you picture would be populated by our current crop of politicians, which is a frightening idea.
The state legislatures will be in charge. Read Article 5. The Feds will have no say. Nobody really knows what is in the Constitution for our self defense against a runaway Federal Government. The Founders knew this would happen and gave us an out if it got too bad. Well if it is not bad enough for you yet give em a couple more years.
I am still waiting for someone to tell me how we can pay off over 200 trillion dollars of debt in the next 30 years when the rates go up to 7 or 10%.
Sadly it is time for the states to take action.
I’m not always with the doctors on the liability issue. I’ve seen awful doctors ruin lives.
Health care IS truly broken. The cause is mostly the federal government, which over the course of many years has broken it with a thousand cuts, for the sole purpose of putting in place its statist solution.
Just compare the practice of human medicine to veterinary medicine and the case for personal responsibility is clear.
Vets charge almost as much (or more) for shots and routine check ups. They get paid in cash and are not required to file pet insurance claims.
Pet owners don’t expect anyone else to pay for their pets’ medical care. They pay for what is needed to keep them healthy.
It’s a billion dollar industry!!!!
When and why did we begin to approach our own medical needs with a totally different mindset?
Some of us pay for more expensive insurance on our automobiles than our own bodies (which cannot be traded in)!
There are many legitimate lawsuits. If lawyers thought they might have to pay for filing a frivolous lawsuit, then they would be more selective. With less frivolous lawsuits, the legitimate ones increase in importance.
In 2007, 33.2 percent of all immigrants (legal and illegal) did not have health insurance compared to 12.7 percent of native-born Americans. (Table 1)
Immigrants account for 27.1 percent of all those without health insurance. Immigrants are 12.5 percent of the nations total population. (Figure 1)
There are 14.5 million immigrants and their U.S.-born children (under 18) who lack health insurance. They account for 31.9 percent of the entire uninsured population. Immigrants and their children are 16.8 percent of the nations total population. (Figure 1)
In 2007, 47.6 percent of immigrants and their U.S.-born children were either uninsured or on Medicaid compared to 25 percent of natives and their children. (Figure 2)
Should have made sure that old geezers would still have doctors...oh, I forgot doctors cannot be conscripted to serve in the private sector.
OUST obama clone steve cohen
If I waited until something broke before I fixed it I wouldn't be in the oil business very long. To keep all my wells running at they're peak production takes constant maintenance and a watchful eye. Keeping your oil levels where they're suppose to be, grease your bearings often and replace worn parts before you have a complete failure. The same could apply to health care business that has ignored the demands for pre-maintenance, ignored bad or substandard parts and has let the entire industry's production fall to levels that now need a costly and major rebuild.
So where do you start?
You replace old worn out parts, you service your wells to bring back production and cease certain methods that eat up your profits. Once you have everything running at peak production, you fire the SOB’s that let it fall into such a dilapidated state.
A little grease, oil and a vigilant eye goes a long way.
When I took over these wells our production was 13,500 barrels per month, the same wells now produce over 13,750 barrels per month by doing nothing more than a little preventative maintenance and constantly trying to reduce operating cost. I've since lowered production costs by 10% and raised production by 250 barrels per month.
So I guess I'll have to disagree with the old “If it ain't broke don't fix it” standard.
To keep all my wells running at they're peak production takes constant maintenance and a watchful eye.
..is preventative maintenance, not "fixing". You change the oil in your pickup (maintenance), but you don't tear down the engine (fixing) unnecessarily. There is a difference.
If the voters in this Republic had been practicing preventative maintenance, it wouldn't need fixing--and that holds at all levels. The decline hasn't happened overnight.
Let's start with the most overused and misunderstood issue, infant mortality. It is a slap in the face to those obstetricians, neonatologists, highly trained nurses, and technical staff to not recognize that the US has the most advanced capacity to save sick and premature infants of any in the world. If you, as a parent, were to have a premature child, there is no where in the world you'd be better off at than in the US.
Infant mortality is the number of live-born infants that die within the first year of life. In the US two-thirds of these unfortunate deaths occur within the first month after birth, and are primarily due to health problems of the infant or pregnancy, such as birth defects or premature birth. In many other countries these infants would never be counted as an infant mortality statistic because they wouldn't survive long enough to be consider a ‘live birth’ in those countries. Babies that we try to save are considered non-live births statistically in many countries.
Further, WHO statistics are skewed and it would be foolish to hang your hat on WHO generated statistics as a true measure of health care quality. They are a UN-like organization with an agenda.
Finally, with regards to this single issue (infant mortality), the incidence of premature and underweight births is a problem that reflects societal issues, not medical care. Teen pregnancy, drug use, alcohol, etc. are big contributors to the incidence of prematurity and underweight births. These are fundamental issues that the government has helped to create, not failures of medical care.
There's so much more to be said, but I'm already using too much bandwidth. Sorry.
True. It’s hard to balance though. With the average citizen who has a legitimate claim versus the average doctor and doctor’s insurance company, the citizen is at relatively more risk for the costs of the case. A 50,000 legal bill is small potato’s for an insurance company, and a life altering event for the average citizen. Also, the wealthy party tends to run up costs to increase the pressure on the poorer party to settle when legal fees will be awarded.
“If the voters in this Republic had been practicing preventative maintenance, it wouldn’t need fixing—”
I think we’re both on the same page.
Dusty, I figured we were. (8^D)
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