Tuesday, July 29, 2008

you are getting screwed

PCBE: Transcripts (June 26, 2008): Session 3: Ethical Questions in the Reform of Health and Medical Care: "And the US is already spending -- these are figures from a couple of years ago -- by far the most of any nation on earth on healthcare. The US is on the bottom. On the top I've listed total health expenditures in other developed nations. For the US at the bottom I've listed total per capita health expenditures divided into the publicly funded and the privately funded share.

And in publicly funded I've included not just Medicare, Medicaid, VA, but also the benefit cost of public employees like schoolteachers and FBI agents, also, so-called tax subsidy to private health insurance. And when defined in that way, I want you to just look and see where that yellow bar ends. Look where the yellow bar ends.

That is, we are already through our taxes paying the full price of national health insurance in this country, and then we take an additional $2,500 out of our pockets and pay privately, and we still have the circumstance of 47,000,000 uninsured people, millions more forced into medical bankruptcy.

Now, what do we get for the extra money? And in this set of slides I've got the US in yellow, the other countries in green. What do we get? We do not get longer life expectancy compared to other nations.

We do not get lower infant mortality than other nations. In fact, our infant mortality is twice that of the world leaders.

We don't get more days in the hospital. We send patients out of the hospital quicker and sicker. We don't even get more innovation, more science. And I know one of the speakers brought that up earlier.

When you look at medical journal articles on a per-capita basis (and you get the same results if you look at total scientific output on a per-capita basis_, the United States is not a world leader. So our extra spending is not generating more in the way of science when we look at it on a per-capita basis. That is a myth.

Even for certain high-technology treatments such as bone-marrow transplants, the United States is just in the middle of the pack. Where we do lead the world is in our insurance overhead and our administrative costs. And this is expressed on a per-capita basis for every man, woman, and child in the United States .

We lead the world in insurance overhead. We lead the world in difficulties getting care. This is people are asked, percent, finding it extremely, very, or somewhat difficult to get needed care. We lead the world. This is just the English-speaking world.

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