View Poll Results: What is the LARGEST cause of increasing health care expenditures in the US?

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  • Increasing Consumer Demand (rising income and population)

    1 2.94%
  • Advancement in Medical Technology

    5 14.71%
  • Cost Insulation from Third Party Payers (Employers, Insurance, Government)

    17 50.00%
  • Employee Based Health Insurance

    0 0%
  • State Mandated Benefits

    3 8.82%
  • Spending on Prescription Drugs

    0 0%
  • Adminstrative Costs (customer service, IT, underwriting)

    2 5.88%
  • Rising Prices in the Health Care Sector

    4 11.76%
  • Aging Population

    2 5.88%
  • Defensive Medicine

    0 0%
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Thread: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    no, life saving treatment would just be out of the reach of more people. most would still probably pay everything they had not to die.

    Lasik means increased convenience over glasses or contacts. cancer treatment can mean not being dead. the two scenarios do not share the same demand dynamic.
    It would still make elastic. And no one would get as rich performing overpriced services, because fewer people could afford them at all, and others would forego them even if they could scrape together the money. But the story never ends there... with everyone dying melodramatically on the streets. People who innovate more cost-effective treatments stand to gain a lot because people will have major incentive to cost-shop, whereas now they have virtually no such incentive. Costs would plummet.

    Innovation in other industries leads to lower prices in every other industry BECAUSE the cost is not socialized in those industries. Cash-only is the antidote to our cost problem.

  2. #32
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by drz-400 View Post
    Please answer the poll and provide some reasoning for your answer if you wish. Note: Please select the LARGEST or most prominent cause for the increase of health care expenditure in the US in your opinion.
    wow. it looks like so far, people get it. i'm impressed.

  3. #33
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    The reason is the United States' healthcare system is drastically inferior in comparison with the rest of the industrialized world. Most of Western Europe spends something like half what we spend, comparatively, and they provide healthcare for nearly everyone, many of them also have better outcomes. Economist Dean Baker has pointed out that in addition to all the other reasons for adopting universal healthcare, it would also eliminate the deficit, in fact; we'd have a surplus.
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  4. #34
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    I think the biggest contributor to increasing health care expenditures is that it is not a sector that adheres to the laws of supply and demand.

    For example, if I want a new TV, I go out and shop around and if I feel the costs of that new TV are out of line, then I choose not to get it. End result - Demand for TVs goes down as the cost goes up.

    If I need a heart bypass, I pay whatever I am told to pay for that heart bypass because if I don't I die. If I have cancer, I undergo cancer treatments even if they are extremely expensive, because if I don't, I die.

    Kind of hard to control costs with that kind of an economic model. That said, I think price insulation certainly plays a role in rising health care costs. Another big contributor is the fact that individuals are largely insulated from the costs of their lifestyle choices. If you are obese, you will pay the same health care rate than if you are fit, even though your lifestyle choice will almost certainly lead to far more health care utilization.

    Finally, we have the highest paid doctors in the world. Frankly, we are probably paying our doctors too much.
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  5. #35
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    yes and no

    1. we pay our doctors a lot not least because there are so few of them (supply and demand as you point out) - we have a shortage - and medical school in the United States costs more than anywhere else in the world. Doctors are also generally overworked due to said shortage and our stupid procedure restrictions.

    2. when consumers have to purchase the product, alternate providers provide same choice factor that you are identifying solely within the buy/don't-buy decision. for example, we all have to eat food - but I can purchase my food from wal-mart, bruno's, the piggly wiggly, a dozen other places. competition is maintained because of multiple providers, between whom I can compare quality and costs. currently we lack any incentive to compare cost - so we don't. the result being if the closer hospital is going to charge us $500,000 for that open-heart surgery, but the hospital down the road would only cost $350,000; we're still going with the closer hospital, because hey, it's closer.

  6. #36
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    yes and no

    1. we pay our doctors a lot not least because there are so few of them (supply and demand as you point out) - we have a shortage - and medical school in the United States costs more than anywhere else in the world. Doctors are also generally overworked due to said shortage and our stupid procedure restrictions.
    The problem with this argument is that we have a shortage of General Practitioners, which are some of the lowest paid doctors. Yet, compared to other nations we have a glut of specialists, which are some of the highest paid doctors.

    2. when consumers have to purchase the product, alternate providers provide same choice factor that you are identifying solely within the buy/don't-buy decision. for example, we all have to eat food - but I can purchase my food from wal-mart, bruno's, the piggly wiggly, a dozen other places. competition is maintained because of multiple providers, between whom I can compare quality and costs. currently we lack any incentive to compare cost - so we don't. the result being if the closer hospital is going to charge us $500,000 for that open-heart surgery, but the hospital down the road would only cost $350,000; we're still going with the closer hospital, because hey, it's closer.
    I agree with this in principle. The problem is that while innovation results in cheaper food, it results in more expensive healthcare services.
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  7. #37
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    The problem with this argument is that we have a shortage of General Practitioners, which are some of the lowest paid doctors. Yet, compared to other nations we have a glut of specialists, which are some of the highest paid doctors.
    the problem with this being "compared to other nations" - as other industrialized nations tend to have universal systems, we're putting apples against oranges due to the alteration between private and public sector compensation. we have a glut of specialists compared to Britain because Britain has an even worse shortage than we do.

    I agree with this in principle. The problem is that while innovation results in cheaper food, it results in more expensive healthcare services.
    that is not true - consider the drop in price that has occurred along with the increase in quality of laser eye surgery. the difference between food and most healthcare, however, is that we care what we pay for food, but we don't care what others pay on our behalf for healthcare. many procedures (setting a broken arm, for example) remain virtually unchanged over the last two or so decades, yet the price for them has skyrocketed along with everything else in healthcare, despite the relative lack of "innovation". because it's not the innovation - innovation tends to increase quality and decrease prices. it's the market distortion.

  8. #38
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Blue Cross Blue Shield tradional plan was the best of all of them....It had a deductible that everyone had to meet before the insurance kicked in and everyone paid 20% over a certain cost number. That plan could have been tweaked as it went along to increase the deducticles for people that could afford it....BUT
    The insurance companies basically KILLED that program and forced everyone into HMOs and PPOs...which have small copays and no deductibles for the most part...I have to believe that in some way the insurance companies benefited and made more money by forcing the switch.

    There are some that clamor than any changes for the common be good be based on free market and capitolism...I read a long article recently from a capitolist who believes in our system...who also believes certain aspects of our life that are absolutely necessary should be profit FREE..
    He mentioned health care in the insurance sense...not for services....and another example he used was Utilities...he said its absurd that profit is in the cost of electricity which is a must have today....Of course the rich will vehemently oppose that and label the guy a communist...but it does have merit whether you would admit to it or not.

  9. #39
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Well, the way things are going with our insurance giants, I'd actually be willing to relinquish a little private sector control and let "gubmint" give it a shot. Preferably not Obama, but I'd be willing to give it a crack if I had to.

    And this is from someone who has always been a proponent of the single-payer system.

  10. #40
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
    Well, the way things are going with our insurance giants, I'd actually be willing to relinquish a little private sector control and let "gubmint" give it a shot. Preferably not Obama, but I'd be willing to give it a crack if I had to.

    And this is from someone who has always been a proponent of the single-payer system.
    Thanks for being honest about it gipper...I personally have cadillac health insurance..part is paid for I pay the other half and its NOT CHEAP...I am not on medicare yet....but anyone thats willing to be honest...knows that obscene profits in the health care industry is a big part of the problem.
    Just like electricity if we took the profit out of electricity it benefits EVERYONE...from big business to small to the guy that makes minimum wage...the guy in the article made so much sense to me...he said no one should profit on anything that fellow countrymen need to survive...and I agree...there so much more to get rich on...without the few basic necessities..

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