U.S. healthcare costs now 800% higher per person than in 1960, even when adjusted for inflation

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    According to one recent analysis, compared to 1960, Americans today are suffering through an 800 percent increase in premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses and overall care. As documented by Global Research, a Canada-based think tank, in that year healthcare as a percentage of total gross domestic product (GDP) was just 5.1 percent. That figure had grown to 15 percent by 2002, but had risen further still to 17.9 percent by 2011. Estimates put it at 20 percent of GDP by 2020.
    Further, the think tank noted, between 1960 and 2009, the average annual increase of healthcare spending rose from $147 per person to $8,086, or a 55-fold increase. If adjusted to 2010 dollars, the annual increase rose from $1,082 to $8,218.
    In 1980, a normal hospital room in the U.S. cost $127; today, prices are many times higher and the figures just get worse from there.
    • This year alone, Americans will spend nearly $2.8 trillion on healthcare. By 2019, it is estimated that Americans will spend $4.5 trillion on such care.
    • Despite Obamacare’s “reforms,” the U.S. spending spiral on healthcare continues to streak upward. The U.S. spends more on healthcare than do Japan, Germany, China, France, the UK, Canada, Spain, Brazil and Australia combined.
    • If the U.S. healthcare system were its own country, it would amount to the 6th largest economy on the planet.
    • Nearly 60 percent of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. are due to outstanding (and massive) medical bills – again, something that was not supposed to happen in Obama’s new era of “affordable healthcare.”
    http://fiscalpost.com/2016/08/cost-...was-in-1960-even-when-adjusted-for-inflation/
     
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    One reason we might have a “health care crisis” due to rising medical costs, and the world’s highest physician salaries is that we turn away 57.3% of the applicants to medical schools. What we have is a form of a “medical cartel,: which significantly restricts the supply of physicians, and thereby gives its members monopoly power to charge above-market prices for their services.
    from:
    http://wallstreetpit.com/5769-the-medical-cartel-why-are-md-salaries-so-high/
     
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  5. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    There is no doubt about it, that is a significant reason for higher healthcare costs. But that isn't the only reason. Because the healthcare industry has largely been an oligopoly, it has been incredibly inefficient. Only recently and under force of law, has the industry adopted automation of such mundane things like record keeping.

    The way drugs are sold in this country also increases healthcare costs. In the US the patient has remarkably little control over their healthcare. If they have a chronic condition which requires maintenance drugs, they must get an ongoing series of prescriptions from their physician and that requires more office visits which is an inconvenience and expense for the patient, but it benefits the physician. And then their are patent protections which are abused and then their are other laws which prohibit drug pricing competition e.g. Medicare Part D.

    The costs of training physicians is arbitrarily too high compared to other nations. In the US it takes 8 years to become a physician. In most other countries it takes 6 years, and it's not like those extra years are spent studying medicine, because they aren't.
     
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    In 1997, the Clinton administration supported a program that paid medical schools to train fewer doctors

    ..............
    How many hundreds of millions of dollars was spent on this ill conceived plan?
    What became of that nonsense?

    http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9708/24/doctor.glut/
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/arch...ew-ones/f0514eed-3e43-4a19-8f09-6264acafd9a5/
    http://articles.courant.com/1997-08...pitals-train-fewer-doctors-residency-programs
    http://articles.philly.com/1997-08-..._doctor-glut-fewer-doctors-teaching-hospitals
     
  8. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Both parties are responsible here, a Republican Congress wrote and passed the law. Clinton didn't do that.

    And this is why is why we need to take special interest money out of our elections and Washington.
     
  9. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    How?
     
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    As always with the editorial pages (as opposed to the technical pages) of the Murdoch press, the numbers don't add up:

    http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/WorldStats/HNP-physicians.html
    In 1960, the US had 1.1 physicians per 1000 people. In 1980, 1.6. Now, around 2.7 and rising.

    The number of physicians per capita has grown since 1960, not shrunk. It has grown especially rapidly since 1980. The supply of doctors has been greatly expanded, not restricted, since 1960. Furthermore, provision of care has become much more efficient - so the overall availability of a physician is much, much higher now than in the past. There are many more docs available per sick, and more sick treatable per doc, than in 1960. The multiple is on the order of 5 or 6, maybe even higher. That is not how one drives up prices by restricting supply.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/average-physician-salary-by-decade.1139365/

    According to the essay linked there, the supply of physicians grew rapidly at the exact same time that their salaries grew rapidly - mid 80s. He also points out that changes in Medicare compensation criteria in the 80s (Reagan), along with a large expansion in private medical insurance as the after-tax profits of that business increased (Reagan again - seriously, take any problem the US has now, nominate Reagan's administration as a primary cause or origin of it, you'll be right 90% of the time) correlated with large increases in physician remuneration.

    Which has since been dialed back a little: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/09/doctors-complain-history-physician-income.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    We can start by reversing Citizens United which allowed huge sums of secret money to flow into our election process. But we need more than that, we need publicly financed elections. Elected and appointed officials should have but one loyalty and that is to the nation, and they need to be free of conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest. That isn't the case today. Ethics reform is needed. The revolving door between government officials and the industries they regulate needs to stop. Favors for family members needs to stop. And to do those things, we will need to amend the Constitution. If congress just passes a few laws, congress can later change and weaken those laws when people aren't watching and become distracted or the courts could overturn them. So the solution needs to be etched into the Constitution.

    Republicans have been steadfast against any of those changes. Democrats have been for and have pledged to overturn Citizens United, but with the exception of Bernie, they haven't gone much further than that. Corporations often require their employees to sign conflict on interest statements every year, our elected officials and senior government officials should be required to do the same. Public officials shouldn't be allowed to hold office if they or members of their families are lobbyists e.g. Virginia Thomas or socialize with lobbyists. And public officials shouldn't be allowed to become lobbyists after leaving office a la Billy Tauzin.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/under-the-influence/
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...ion-made-him-highest-paid-health-law-lobbyist
     
  12. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Part of this problem isn't only because of the greed of the healthcare ''system,'' but because many people simply aren't taking care of themselves, and expect health and wellness to come in the form of a pill. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, cooking one's own food, trying to eat organically as much as possible, and regular exercise is a lot of work, and many people don't want to do that, so they'll sacrifice time on the front end, for time in the doctor's office. Your health will demand your time one way or the other. Health and wellness needs to be a lifestyle, and if we look at the obesity rate in the US, it's not hard to figure out why healthcare costs have skyrocketed. This isn't the only problem, but too many people in the US point outward at the doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and big pharma. All of those factors contribute to the rising healthcare costs, absolutely. But, the strain on the healthcare system is due to too many people not caring about their health, and thinking that it's someone else's problem but their own. Of course, not all diseases are self-induced, but obesity will cause a myriad of health issues over time, if someone stays obese for many years. (to name one example)

    The average woman today weighs as much as the average guy did back in the 1960's. There's a problem that goes way beyond the mere cost factors that politicians tend to dwell on.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...-how-much-weight-weve-gained-since-the-1960s/
     
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    I'm suspicious, to the point of dismissal until proven, with any explanation of a health problem (or any social problem) that focuses on sudden, dramatic, continent-wide changes in the prevalence of human character flaws.

    If we have an obesity epidemic, and we do, I very much doubt it's because people became lazier all of a sudden. My money is on an identifiable cause, or set of causes, that have little to do with laziness.
     
  14. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    It wasn't ''all of a sudden.'' 1960's to now isn't ''all of a sudden.'' (according to that article I linked) The problems with the rising US healthcare costs didn't happen overnight. But the US has a very reactive healthcare system - there are exceptions and awesome doctors out there who don't want to just offer drugs and symptom relievers to their patients - but it's largely, reactive. Once the healthcare system becomes more proactive, we will see a shift in healthcare costs, because people won't be sick as often.

    This is just one piece of the puzzle, but it's a piece, nonetheless.
     
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    That's very quick, for a society wide change in basic human nature, creating a major health problem. But maybe it happened.

    Dismissal barring proof is just my initial reaction - I've seen too many such explanations covering up the real factors, and interfering with necessary responses. Could be this time is the real one - it's just not how I bet in these situations.
     
  16. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Okay, that's fair.

    Laziness actually isn't a main reason why people are obese. It can be, but for many - they just have a lot going on in their lives. Americans work incredibly long hours, have few vacations, and spend a lot of time NOT exercising. Maybe they're too tired, from working so much. Maybe they're stressed from not working enough, and trying to make ends meet. Food is a comfort for many, and so emotional eating might be the culprit. My point isn't to only focus on obesity, we could focus on people who smoke and then wonder why after 25 years of a smoking habit, they now have cancer. And our food supply is contaminated with antibiotics and chemicals. I'll confess that I'm a bit of a tree hugger/holistic type, but I just see so many areas that we could all work to change things, together, in a more natural way.
     
  17. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think that is fair. Blaming the ill isn't at all fair or honest. I don't know of a single person who wants to be obese or unhealthy. What you are doing is like blaming a drug addict or an alcoholic for their addictions. I've never met a drug addict or an alcoholic who really wanted to be addicted either, and I've known many. We all have our faults. We all have our weaknesses. It's not as simple as you would have it be.

    Thanks to advancements in science and medicine we can now treat more people. That was something we couldn't do years ago. For instance, we can now cure hepatitis. That was something we couldn't do even a decade ago. The cure requires a pill that costs $1,000 a day for 24 weeks. Before the pill, the disease was not curable and people died. New treatments, treating new diseases and new technologies are expensive as they are always accompanied with a patent which allows for monopolistic pricing.

    Monopolistic pricing is rampant throughout the American healthcare industry and that is a problem. American healthcare is more expensive and it's less effective compared to virtually any other country in the developed world. That's classically symptomatic of a monopoly/oligopoly.
     
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  18. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not blaming the ill. Don't put words in my mouth. It's far more responsible (and caring) to teach people how to get free of drugs and symptom relievers, and live a healthful life, than it is to just let them wallow in a medical system that doesn't honestly care about them. But many doctors don't do this for their patients, if they did, big pharma wouldn't be so rich. Giving people a chance at least to experience their best options towards good health, is what the goal should be. Staying sick, not getting to the root cause, and masking symptoms isn't an effective approach. It's one though that makes a lot of money for the healthcare system, though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  19. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with this. But, one of the reasons American healthcare isn't ''effective'' is because it's largely reactive. The goal should be to get people healthy, free of relying on prescriptions. Some prescriptions are needed, yes. But, there are so many people who if they invested some time in more natural methods, they wouldn't need all those drugs with all those nasty side effects.

    I have a friend who developed diabetes. Her doctor had her on a prescription. She decided to start limiting her sugar intake, and exercising regularly. Her BMI lowered substantially. She eventually went off her meds, and she no longer needs them to control her disease. It can be done, but many in the medical system don't want you to know that. She did that on her own with the help of a nutritionist and personal trainer. Why didn't her doctor tell her that? She often would go to the doctor, have a ten minute conversation with him, and he'd write her another prescription.

    I'm not saying all doctors are like this, but many are. That's why these big pharmaceutical companies are making incredible amounts of money. There is another way, and it's not to keep giving more money to this broken system. That's all I'm getting at.
     
  20. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Well, it's not about teaching. I worked as an EMT in a big city EMS system. I saw a lot of patient during my time as an EMT. I've seen a lot of diseased people including alcoholics and drug addicts. Some were frequent fliers. Education didn't cure them. That's not to say that there isn't a role for education. There is, but it won't cure every ill. It might not even cure most ills.

    The reasons people become obese, drug addicted, or alcoholic are many and there is no single cure. If education could do it, it would have done it a long time ago. Not everyone grows up in a healthy family. Many people grow up in bad environments. Many people are abused in childhood as well as adulthood. Education isn't going to fix those people.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  21. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    I don't disagree, but there has to be a better way to help people get healthy. There are no magic bullets, certainly. But, educating patients is vital. It may not work for everyone, but it's just not happening enough now, so it would be worth a shot. There are too many people getting rich off of people's illnesses, that is just so wrong to me.
     
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    3,434
    I don't see doctors as the problem with the health care system other than their role in inflating health care costs.

    If someone has diabetes, that can sometimes be corrected with diet and sometimes it can't. Most any doctor does advice their diabetic patients of this. They can't make them do it however so medications may prove helpful.

    The system could be much better regarding prevention of course. Medications are helpful to many people. Much high blood pressure and high cholesterol is genetic.

    The biggest problem with the system is cost as compared to most anywhere else.

    The biggest issue with obesity is the fast food industry. No one is forced to eat fast food of course but once people get hooked on it, it's hard to not eat it.

    Just reducing the amount of soda consumed would put a big dent in obesity. Without sugar their would be no obesity.
     
  23. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    Obama Care is an example of crony capitalism, where laws are made so certain aspects of the private sector get special treatment, in exchange for campaign contributions and golden parachutes. A free market approach does not lead to crony capitalism and monopoly looking cost increases. This is part of the pay-to-play schema, like Hillary is being accused of. In the future, watch were Obama gets donations to his Foundation; golden payoff.

    I also heard, that the real goal of ObamaCare, was for it to fail, so the people will complain and force the health care system to default to a government controlled one payer system. This system can then be used as a front to regulate and control all aspects of people lives, by equating everything to health care costs. This will allow even more crony capitalism. For example, Washington can say the wrong shoes are leading to increases costs due to foot problems. Therefore you will be required to buy all your shoes, from one of their buddies, who just gave a large sum of money as a campaign contribution.
     

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