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. #61
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    I think the biggest bang for our buck in terms of curbing healthcare costs, or at least in making Medicare more solvent going forward, would be to make Medicare taxes and premiums, as well as private sector medical insurance premiums reflect the true costs of lifestyle choices. For example, if you are obese, you should be paying higher Medicare taxes and higher Medicare premiums because your lifestyle choices are going to lead to far higher medical costs in the future. The same should be true of private sector plans (many states don't allow this). The same should be true if you smoke as well.

    The system we have now is that you can never smoke, exercise regularly, and eat right, yet get cancer due to your family history, and be uninsurable in the private sector once you go into remission. Yet you can smoke 2 packs a day, be morbidly obese, never exercise and never eat right, and pay the same healthcare premium as your coworkers, pay the same Medicare tax rate as everyone else, and pay the same Medicare premium upon retiring as everyone else even though your lifestyle choices will lead to you utilizing far more healthcare services than others. Until we do something about that, costs will continue to grow unsustainably.

    I have never smoked. I eat well. I exercise all the time. I have 5% body fat, an hdl of 73, and when I get a physical, the doctors tell me I have the numbers of a professional athlete. So why should I pay the same rate as some fat ass that never takes care of themselves?
    I agree in principle, but I don't really see how it could be enforced in practice. Every hambeast in America is going to say that his genes make him fat, rather than the entire box of Oreos he eats. And it would be very difficult for a health insurer to prove him wrong. Beyond a couple basic questions like "How often do you smoke?" and "How often do you exercise?", I don't see any feasible non-intrusive way to check up on people to see if they're actually living a healthy lifestyle.
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  2. #62
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Frolicking Dinosaurs View Post
    The reason several second world countries have better healthcare outcomes, more years of total life and years of healthy life is the lack of preventive care and early intervention thanks to the lack of universal healthcare. The reason the US healthcare costs so much while delivering so little is the unregulated health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are grotesquely overcharging the US populous.
    Says it all. The US system is broken. I knew this while living there, but it did not become such a vivid reality until we moved overseas. Not only is the system broken, most people don't seem to care or realize it and the solutions such as OBamaCare are a joke.
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  3. #63
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    This is why I think the government needs to mandate some standards of coverage for ALL health insurance policies (both public and private). It's simply too much of a hassle for every insurer to individually negotiate with each hospital, and for each customer to be expected to individually determine what is and isn't covered under his insurance plan.

    Essentially the government could mandate that all health insurance plans must cover X, Y, and Z in order to exist at all, and to market themselves as "Basic coverage." Then they could mandate that health insurance plans must also cover A, B, and C if they want to market themselves as "Advanced coverage." And then they must cover all of that plus D, E, and F if they want to market themselves as "Deluxe coverage" or something like that.

    This would allow consumers to more accurately compare policies. As it stands now, the few consumers who even HAVE a choice on what insurer to pick usually pick the wrong one, because the information is simply too complex for the average person to figure out.
    If the coverage were focused on catastrophic care, I'd certainly be inclined to agree.
    I've posted this before, but Singapore has the best balanced system, in my opinion.

    Universal, means tested catastrophic insurance, publicly mandated HSA accounts, with the option to purchase additional coverage through the market.
    Their medical spending compromises 3% of GDP and their outcomes are as good as anywhere else.

    Healthcare in Singapore - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  4. #64
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Bodhisattva View Post
    Says it all. The US system is broken. I knew this while living there, but it did not become such a vivid reality until we moved overseas. Not only is the system broken, most people don't seem to care or realize it and the solutions such as OBamaCare are a joke.
    Obamacare at least brings the US more in line with the policies that have proven successful in other nations. To be sure, it's grossly inadequate compared to those other policies, but it's at least a step in the right direction. I'm of the school of thought that we can pursue innovative cost-reduction strategies once we have one of the BEST health care systems. But for now, we're nowhere near the best so we should follow the examples of nations that have done well.
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  5. #65
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Obamacare at least brings the US more in line with the policies that have proven successful in other nations. To be sure, it's grossly inadequate compared to those other policies, but it's at least a step in the right direction. I'm of the school of thought that we can pursue innovative cost-reduction strategies once we have one of the BEST health care systems. But for now, we're nowhere near the best so we should follow the examples of nations that have done well.
    I have to respectfully disagree Kandahar Obamacare is a mess...it was conglomeration of wishs and hopes all just stuck in a big pile of papers...and in the end no one including the authors had a clue what was in it....it was a huge mistake and it sang the death null for the democrat house..
    It was done all wrong...pelosi just glared and gloated at the american people and said...we will have healthcare...and america did not want it...nothing was explained to the people as it went along...all we saw was Mafia tactics...making offers they couldnt refuse for votes...buying votes...threatening and even telling them to vote and then retire so it didnt matter...it was the most disgusting display of abuse of power ive seen...and obviously im not the only one who feels that way...the democrats were devastated....If the Supreme Court throws out obamacare...this country wont see any move toward universal healthcare for two decades....
    They not only screwed up the bill...they screwedup any chance of getting another anytime soon

  6. #66
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by liblady View Post
    how do you think insurance companies make money? by sitting on cash? no....they invest their cash, our premiums.
    I know exactly how insurance companies make money. Yes, they invest a certain amount of our premiums, and thank goodness they do, so that they will remain strong and stable and able to pay claims. They also have to maintain a healthy amount in cash reserves.

    But that's not the issue. You hinted that insurers raise health care rates to compensate for their low stock prices. Is that what you really believe, or have I misunderstood you?
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  7. #67
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    I agree with cost insulation as well, but it has to accompany direct reforms on the insurance sector. All the free market shills are going to get on my case about that, but we desperately need it. Consumers are being taken for a ride, and sometimes if they are in grave condition and need the funds, it becomes more of a nightmare trying to access them. This is why Obama's health care bill failed to deliver. Optimists were hoping for a universal health care system that reduced costs; instead we have been presented with a sharp hit to tax payers, on top of them still having to buy insurance from the private sector anyway, and not at reduced cost?

    Our system is so bloated, it is practically caving under its own weight. Can we please just decide if we really want an effective health care system or not, and if we do, actually proceed craft one that works? What annoys me the most are the half-measures. Just piss or get off the pot already.

    Cost insulation is the key to changing this whole game, but to do that we need to directly regulate the private sector, because I can't think of any other economic incentive we could offer them to want to reduce health care costs without trying to scam their customers.

  8. #68
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Helix View Post
    an elective procedure with a much less expensive alternative (glasses / contacts) that it must compete with. hospitalization for your two year old who has serious pneumonia and can't breathe is something else entirely. would be pretty hard to "shop around for the best price."
    not really. firstly, emergency stabilization is different from continued care, planned surgery (if necessary), recovery, monitoring, followup treatment, etc. I live in Japan right now - but my home of record is Birmingham Alabama. I can think of at least three hospitals offhand that would all be competing for my business just within my city, to say nothing of the surrounding 'burbs.

  9. #69
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Obamacare at least brings the US more in line with the policies that have proven successful in other nations. To be sure, it's grossly inadequate compared to those other policies, but it's at least a step in the right direction. I'm of the school of thought that we can pursue innovative cost-reduction strategies once we have one of the BEST health care systems. But for now, we're nowhere near the best so we should follow the examples of nations that have done well.
    It is much more in line... but it is far too complicated and has a long way to go. It is a mess that is just not as bad as the previous system.
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  10. #70
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    Re: Increasing Health Care Expenditures

    Most of the studies I have seen single out technology as the driving force behind increasing health care costs; pushing up costs by up to 50% or higher. Here is just one study from the Hasting Center.
    Health Care Costs and Medical Technology - The Hastings Center

    A real world example of this, is the da Vinci robot which allows a surgeon to use a robot to conduct various surgeries. While it is beneficial in allowing a surgeon to conduct surgeries in far away places, often times the surgeon is just several feet away. It comes with a cost. A da Vinci robot costs $1.5 million, and every time it is used in the operating room, some $2,000 worth of parts must be replaced (for safety reasons). It takes a surgeon 12 to 18 months to learn how to use the machine, and a da Vinci operation usually takes longer than a hands-on procedure. Consequently, a University of Maryland study estimates that the robot adds about $8,000 to the price of bypass surgery.
    Behind Rising Health-Care Costs

    Another reason that was not on the poll, is the lack of market mechanism in the health care industry. The health care industry is one of the most regulated industries and there is something fundamentally wrong when two aspirins cost $30 dollars at a hospital while you can get 100 for $5 at a store. In addition, there is also something fundamentally wrong when people require insurance for non-emergency visits. Insurance is supposed to protect one from catastrophic loses, not to allow someone to go to the doctor over a common cold in order to get a prescription drug relief.

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