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Medical Costs More in US: Overpriced or Better Care?
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Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
This debate comes to you from member FCL --

This Washington Post article outlines the differences in the cost of certain medical treatments in other countries compared to the U.S. In most cases, the same procedures in the U.S. cost significantly more.

Read the story and tell us what you think. Do we just overprice the care here or do you think the care is better? Other thoughts?
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CanadianDyanne responded:
Having lived in the USA and Canada I can honestly say, imo, the USA is extremely! overpriced and its just a 'game' within the system. Ins companies, government, hospital owners. Its very very sad.
 
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jenlewi responded:
In the U.S., medical care isn't just the price of the doctor, the drugs and the equipment. It's the cost of insurance company executives' fancy cars and timeshares, the cost of lawyers' kids college funds, the cost of politicians custom-made shoes, the cost of lobbyists' fur coats and rescue animals....

Basically, the system has become so bloated with non-medical leeches making their millions on the health-care industry that medical costs in this country are spiralling out of control.

Real reform is nearly impossible, because of the vested interest in keeping as many levels of leech as possible between your doctor and yourself. No politician is going to pass a law fining ambulance chasers for filing frivolous lawsuits. No insurance company is going to let the doctor decide how to treat a patient without the oversight of someone armed with a book of covered expenses and no medical training. No lobbyist is going to turn down a big payday for pressuring the FDA to approve a new drug before it's fully tested. No law firm is going to turn down the option of filing a class-action suit against a drug company that has to recall a drug after a few short months on the market.

The problems are easy to identify, but the solution doesn't seem to be so easy to find.
 
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butterflygarden responded:
I think that between medical device producers, insurance companies and lawyers they have pushed our health care and procedures costs here in the U.S. over the top.

I have back pain, so I went in for an MRI several years ago, and I asked the gal at the window when I paid why it costs so much. She told me that it was because they have to pay for not only the machine but the expensive maintenance on it. I looked at all the folks lined up in there to have MRIs and thought, "Geez, that machine must have cost a billion dollars."

I just don't buy any of those excuses. Capitalism is one thing. Ripping people off is another.

Butterfly
 
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dollbug replied to CanadianDyanne's response:
AMERICA is nothing but a game....with everything...especially the government run agencies...everything has become a political arena...and I do not think anyone knows what to do to fix it...I blame the Washington leaders who have allowed the country to get in the shape that it is in...they are only warming their seats in Washington...and collecting salaries, benefits and perks along the way...they live in a world of their own...and have no idea what the rest of the country is doing...it is sad...we, the people, should DEMAND BETTER...it is the middle class who is footing everything....

The rich have all kinds of loopholes...and the poor have nothing to give...Washington needs to be cleaned out...from top to bottom and in between....they all need to go....we need to put people into office who have new ideas and ways to improve our country....

With the people there now....they are NOT going to FIX anything....as THEY ARE THE PROBLEMS...Washington needs to reduce their own salaries, benefits and perks...and this must start right there in WASHINGTON first....if something is not done soon...we will soon not have to even worrry about it...as we will become a very poor country...we are already at the bottom of the pit...sinking fast..and we know that the Washington leaders are NOT going to do this...so the country is stuck...between a ROCK AND A HARD SPOT...with no place to go...

The high medical costs are due to so many people not having any insurance...so they make up the loss on those of us who are lucky enough to have insurance...

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer...I have heard this all my life....and something needs to be done about all of this...before it is too late...



 
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bob249 responded:
Ditto jenlewi 's post.


In addition, it is outrageous that insurance companies can negotiate deep discounts from Providers while the uninsured are billed full price. Why do I say that? Insurers take at least 30 days, sometimes much longer, to pay. Uninsureds don't get a discount even if they pay in cash immediately. That's unless the uninsureds have to negotiate for themselves - who reading this has negotiated with a Provider?





From the Washington Post article ,


"The players sitting across the table from them — the health insurers — are not so profitable. In 2009, their profit margins were a mere 2.2 percent. That's a signal that the sellers have the upper hand over the buyers."

That IS misleading, for the reasons given by jenlewi .
Their profit margins may be "a mere 2.2 percent", but their executives are some of the highest paid in the world. And those SAME executives have already obtained waivers to the Affordable Care Act. Their employees WILL have annual caps on the amount that can be paid for health care. Guess they don't want to chance having to take a million or so a year pay cut...
http://ezinearticles.com/?Waivers-to-Affordable-Care-Act&id=5251038




I believe a big part of inflated health care charges occur because Providers assume they will have to apply huge discounts that insurance companies negotiate.



I hope everyone reading this takes the time to read the hotlinked article.



Many of us recognize that health care costs are a HUGE problem. And many of us cannot see how it can be brought under control because of the influence of health insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies.
( at the rate of 24 MILLION dollars a month!)




Also from the article:
"They do this in one of two ways. In countries such as Canada and Britain, prices are set by the government."
Yet another government bureacracy?
Generally Not a good idea. However, the mere threat might bring about a bit of pricing sanity...



How to reduce the influences ....






Hmm ......................................






Term limits could do it!






That's been proposed and discarded in the past.






Well, WE can do it without the legal system.






Regardless of party affiliation or presumed past performance, do NOT reelect ANY congressman! NOT ONE.






Make being upset COUNT.


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