The US health care system is in shambles. It is probably the most inefficient health system in the industrialized world. But the challenge is there are massive amounts of excess profits being made at your expense. Its called rent seeking and the majority of professionals within the the US health care system are guilty of it in some form or fashion.So the UK enjoys a great health service but not great health, a puzzle that the conference participants never fully tackled. One who tried was Liam Donaldson, the former chief medical officer. “I think it strains credibility to say we have a world class service,” he said in response to Osborn’s presentation. “I don’t think it is.”When I first read that, I thought that the NHS must be making tradeoffs. The system is dirt cheap. They’re kicking butt in access. It’s not surprising that quality might suffer. But then I got to thinking. They’re “second worst” now in terms of amenable mortality? Who’s the worst?This kind of stuff drives me a little crazy. I have no idea if anyone in the US will cover this story. If they do, however, I bet it will be along the lines of the title. Sure, the UK does well in terms of access, but their outcomes are terrible. Do you want that to happen here?What will be missed is the fact that the outcomes are, perhaps, terrible, but they are worse here. So “would I want that to happen here”? If you mean that we could spend less than half of what we do on health care, see access improve massively, and see our outcomes go from worst to second worst? I could live with that.For the record, using 2010 data, the UK would have moved up a spot. The US would still be last.
Who has been spending the most money lobbying politicians to capture as much profit through bending the rules to their wishes? Why the health care industry! Pharma/Healthcare/HMO, the total lobby dollars spent between 1998 and 2012 was $5.3 billion
For those who like to fixate on the deficit health care costs is the culprit and a major role in why costs are so high is that there is so much excess profits going to 1%'ers within the health care industry.
The solution to long term fiscal issues the US faces are solely about health care costs.
The Center for Economic and Policy Research has a really cool Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator so you can see what would happen to our long term fiscal outlook if our health care costs were in line with other industrialized nations who have found ways to provide higher quality care much cheaper cost.
Sadly the media is covering Health Care "reform" plans such as Paul Ryan's as ways to save money when in fact that are ineficitent ways to increase the cost of Government provided health care via forcing people into less efficient private health care providers; not to mention throwing large numbers of those currently able to tap in to medicaid out in the cold.. Remember my point above about rent seeking? Yeah, the Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan is a huge champion of wasting tax payer dollars with the single goal of handing it to private sector businessmen for profits. Dean Baker and David Rosnick talk about this in a paper they wrote last year (Representative Ryan’s Trillion Medicare Waste Tax)
“The Ryan plan does nothing to control private-sector waste in health care costs,” said David Rosnick, an author of the report. “As a result of the waste in the private system, beneficiaries will end up paying substantially more for Medicare, in effect paying a hefty new tax on their health care.”
Keep in mind the conservative efforts to defund ObamaCare and not pass expansion of Mediciad in Republican controlled states is quite litterally a death warrent on Americans.The report, “Representative Ryan’s $30 Trillion Medicare Waste Tax,” documents the potential effects of replacing Medicare with a system of vouchers or premium supports and raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 as suggested in the Ryan plan
Richard Kirsch wrote a good post a few days ago over at the Next New Deal about the thousands of Americans Paul Ryan and his Republican friends are proposing be killed Paul Ryan’s Budget Would Kill Health Insurance Programs – and Thousands of Americans:
Its sad that conservatives have taken to trying to de-fund and destroy the health reform ideas that conservatives came up, rallied behind, and tried to implement for a number of years. It wasn't until that radically sane neoliberal conservative Barrack Obama got his hands on their plan and actually got it passed that they decided killing Americans was far more important than any intellectual integrity they might have for their old pet projects (RIP RomneyCare).
By the by if you are looking to learn more about the nuts and bolts of the Affordable Care Act and the history behind its origins you should check out Inside National Health Reform (California/Milbank Books on Health and the Public) which sits, well used, and quite close to my desk, in the study upstairs.