by THOMAS on Dec 10, 2013
Getting your moneys worth out of health care in a “fee for service” type health care system is like pulling weeds with a hammer. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world but we are not getting the bang for our bucks. Virtually every other healthcare system in the world is less expensive than the U.S. when comparing similar services. The reason for the discrepancy is that the European systems are all “outcome” based. That is, you get paid when you get results. The other factor is the fee schedules at the leading hospitals are out of control and the situation appears to be getting worse and and not better. There is simply no justification for the outrageous fees for services that many hospitals are charging. One of the reasons given by hospital administrators is the charity work that is done for the communities in which the facilities are located. However, upon closer examination by leading researchers into healthcare costs, the actual amount spent for charity work rarely exceeded 7.5 %. Not the overly generous figure that was suggested by the healthcare industry.
We have yet to mention one of the principal drivers of healthcare costs and that is the state of health of the general population of the U.S., which in general is not good. When compared to the overall health of the European population, it is pretty bad. The reason is poor diet and lack of physical activities. I believe that a good deal of the blame rests on the processed food industry and their used of refined carbohydrates combined with food additives and chemical preservatives. Yet the federal government has been consistently reluctant to regulate an industry that practices direct marketing of unhealthy food to consumers. You could make a case for the fact that the federal government does actually very little when it comes to making sure our food supply is healthy wholesome and nutritious. How is it that this situation can continue to exist despite the numerous studies that show the general health of the U.S. population continuing to suffer the health consequences of consuming unhealthy food? I think we know the answer to that question and it is MONEY. As long as we have a political system in this country that allows corporate lobbyists the access to our representatives in congress, there will be little change in the health of the general population and thus healthcare costs will continue to rise.