Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Why US healthcare is unique

Why Your Stitches Cost $1,500 - Part Two
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

This has to make one pessimistic about reform: such a well-rewarded and entrenched interest group as the medical establishment isn't going to give up its privileges easily, particularly given the political influence of lobbying.


Sean said...

Thus prices are high because the Govt cannot impose price costs! goodness me. Sounds to me like a job for Capt. Competition.

The bit Barry does not tel, is the US is the worlds medical research centre and thus the resulting costs are high and in a way their system subsidises the worlds other systems indirectly.

Or that we do indeed live in more violent times (see casualty on fri.sat nights) and there is a big cost in that.

Barry has also had two years to ban lobbying and he has done SFA.

Hey Skipper said...

Without making any comments one way or the other about US Healthcare, there is much about this that makes me skeptical about either their analytical acumen, or their desire to further prove that liars figure, and figures lie.

When talking about some specific quantity -- dollars in this case -- there is no defending using percentage at one point, and amount at another. Obesity allegedly costs only $25B per year; malpractice 2%. There is no way for a reader to make sense of these figures, regardless of their accuracy.

I followed up on the malpractice amount, and it appears that it based solely upon award payouts. That is either ignorance, or duplicity, of the very first order: it entirely excludes the cost of defensive medicine and the non-medical costs defending against malpractice lawsuits. About ten years ago, the US Congress passed, over vociferous objection from the Trial Lawyers' Association very limited tort reform related to the light aircraft industry (basically, it meant manufacturers could not be sued for aircraft more than 30 years old). That particular arena of "malpractice" litigation was adding over 30% to the cost of each aircraft sold, and had come very close to strangling the entire industry. Since that law's passage, costs have come down, and the industry has revived. Citing mere payouts as the only consequence of parasitic lawyers, or settling for 2% as the total deadweight cost, is idiocy on stilts.

Having multiply insulted numeracy, it then goes further advances the arts of the non-sequitur and invidious comparison.

The US government is less involved in price regulation, so Americans have less power over health care costs. Average medication in the US is 118% more expensive ...

Huh? The US government has no power over car price regulation; therefore, Americans have no power over car prices. Granting their assertion requires granting mine, yet no one who is not, through extensive psychiatric care, measurably increasing our health care costs, would do so.

Then going to cite medication costs requires ignoring, or being ignorant of, the extensive free-riding the rest of the world is doing on the backs of US citizens.

Our doctors are overpaid.

One would think that, having already overindulged in prevarication, they could admit their problem, but no.

The ratio of doctor to patient income has no normative value. Worse, it fails to take into account things like outgo. How much of that income is taken up on malpractice insurance?.

Citing a number of $64B in excess spending on healthcare workers is a sure sign that the authors believe in theft by government, and the consequences of this are never good. Supply and demand is not just a good idea, it is the law.

NB, I do not mean to suggest there are no problems with the US health care system. There are. Laws passed in the late 1940s resulted in employers buying health care insurance for individuals, who enjoy a huge income tax break thereby. Laws prohibit selling health care insurance across state lines. Laws protect the astonishingly parasitic tort lawyers. We spend far too much on medical treatment that has little, or no, usefulness, because consumers are so insulated from the costs of their decisions.

Regardless, I now know of one more organization that cannot be trusted, even if it is only reporting yesterday's weather.