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Privatized U.S. Health Care Costs More Tax Dollars, Yields Worse Results

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posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 12:16 PM
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I am posting this thread for the purpose of discussing some statistical facts. It is commonly touted that a universal health care system in the U.S. would be unfair to those who don't wish to contribute their tax dollars to such a program. One could similarly argue that they don't want to contribute tax dollars to the expansion of Military-Industrial complex adventures in other countries, or the enforcement of laws which they've never had the opportunity to democratically oppose. Those are fine arguments, but I think it's interesting to step away from those highly volatile and personal positions and instead look at statistical facts related to the money spent and the results gained. What I am about to point out may be controversial, but it's all based on statistical facts compiled through robust study and analysis.

How Much Does the U.S. Currently Spend?

As of today, the per capita expenditure on health care per annum is $6,714 USD. This figure does not differentiate between government spending and private spending. This figure is nearly double what other advanced, industrialized societies are spending. The closest to the U.S. is Canada, at $3,678 USD per capita.

This number represents 16% of the U.S. GDP and 18.5% of U.S. government spending. The only other country covered in this statistical analysis that approaches the amount of government spending in the U.S. is Australia at 17.7%.

So how much of the actual health care costs of U.S. citizens end up being covered by the U.S. government for this massive expense? 46% of them. Once again, Australia is the nearest country, covering substantially more of the people's medical expenses at 67%.

Is The U.S. Health Care System The Best In The World?

Subjective question. Statistically, no. According to the study on which I base this post, The U.S. has the lowest life expectancy of any of the compared countries and their respective systems. The U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate, at 6.9. The U.S. resides on the low end of the spectrum for physicians per 1000 people and on the high end of the spectrum for nurses per 1000 people. It would be optimistic to say that the health care provided in the U.S. is average. Taken on the whole, it is below average by a wide margin.

So The U.S. Spends More For Less?

Yes. The U.S. is currently already spending more tax revenue on health care than any of the compared countries, all of which have some level of universal health care. It sounds counterintuitive, but it's difficult to argue with the facts.

Then Where Is The Money Going?

So what are we really arguing about here? In the final analysis, the question is not whether people will be forced to pay more taxes to support others. The question is whether the health care industry should be grossly profitable. The money is going into the pockets of insurance companies and health care providers. Essentially, this money represents massive profit for corporate interests.

What this suggests is that those fighting against universal health care in the U.S. are in fact fighting for massive corporate profits, not for better health care, and not for lower taxes. I further advance that the punditry suggesting otherwise is guilty of deliberately misleading the people. The elephant in the living room is the massively profitable gateway to health care in the U.S.: the insurance industry. I would suggest, then, that a tax by any other name is still a tax.

Source: www.oecd.org...




posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 12:28 PM
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well put...it is unfortunate that the media works this way...it is amazing to me also, how several hundred citizens can command major and minor media attention for days on end, and given such gravitas...and yet during bush's run-up to the war, when hundreds of thousands of people were protesting in cities all around this nation, the media was literally absent from coverage.

who's in charge should no longer be a question...sadly.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 12:31 PM
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I thought the purpose for this bill was to cover the 50 million people in the US that don't have health care for whatever reason? Now it's to attack big pharma? What the insurance companies need is more competition for services and pricing.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 12:45 PM
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“Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.”

-Even Esar


Your facts are impressive, however your conclusions are wrong.

The US does have the best healthcare in the world, bar none. Any claims to the contrary are refuted by the endless list of luminaries who seek medical care in this country as opposed to their own.

Saying the US doesn't have the best healthcare because people die at a ever-so-slightly younger age in this country says nothing about the healthcare and everything about our lifestyles.

The fact that the US spends more per capita on healthcare is also not reflective of how good or bad the system is. The US spends more per capita on healthcare because the US has a near fully socialized medical system. This bill is the end result of our socialist medical care system continuing on without a way to set prices or ration the care.

Normally, when healthcare is socialized, prices are set by government which works to keep costs down. Of course, because prices are set, this causes an excess of demand and a shortage of supply which leads to rationing of care.

However in the US we have socialized medical care WITHOUT the price controls, which means no need for rationing.

To answer WHY the care is so expensive, we need look no further than the hundreds of mandates that are required by government in insurance packages. You can't get a "bare bones" insurance package that covers only catastrophic illness / injury. Insurance companies are required by law to add in all sorts of other crap that most people don't need insurance for. This drives up insurance costs and distorts the market.

On top of this we have socialized care for the poor in the form of Medicaid and socialized care for the elderly in the form of Medicare.

The "uninsured" population are people for the most part that don't require insurance or are otherwise eligible for Medicaid but simply haven't signed up. Everyone gets "free" emergency care in this country, regardless if you can pay or not. So emergency care can also be considered socialized. It is illegal for a hospital to refuse treatment for emergency care based on a lack of insurance.

To summarize, the reason why costs are so outrageous in america is because of government mandates and socialized care without price controls.

The proper way to get costs down while at the same time improving quality of care is to get the government out of the way.

Health savings accounts coupled with cheap catastrophic insurance plans would be a simple remedy.

No one asks how much anything costs when they walk into a doctors office. This "lack of caring" about costs is the prime reason costs are so high. No one shops for the best price, thus doctors charge the maximum they can get Medicare or insurance companies to pay.

By having everyone on an HSA, people suddenly become very aware of cost, and will begin demanding to know the price of their doctor's services. This introduces competition to keep prices down.





[edit on 13-8-2009 by mnemeth1]



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 01:00 PM
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Actually big pharma is going to profit very well with Obama health care reform.

Now for the OP, answer this question, Americas tax payer pays for already for two entitlement programs in the nation, Medicare and Medicaid regardless of individual needs, Obama is not going to eliminate any of them, so how if he going to fix the private health care gouging when the government is already gouging the tax payer with two entitlement programs, that has been know to be nothing more than a waste of tax payer money due to corruption and mismanagement.

While private health car is gouging and raping the nations at least people have the choice to pay for them or not.

If you work in this nation you pay for Medicare and Medicaid regardless if you have private health care or not.

So see I am not fighting for the private health care profits, there you are death wrong I am fighting for the waste, abuse, corruption that government itself enjoy as well as the private interest.

BTW big pharm will still be reaping benefits, after all big insurance and pharma are the top lobbyist paying in Washington after oil barons, Obama can get away with private insurance but hell he needs big pharma.

[edit on 13-8-2009 by marg6043]



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 01:02 PM
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reply to post by marg6043
 


That's right.

This is about taking our crappy socialist system and turning it into a fascist wonderland.

We need free markets to correct the cost disaster created by our government.




[edit on 13-8-2009 by mnemeth1]



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 01:08 PM
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reply to post by mnemeth1
 


Exactly, people wants to trust the government even when our government has a very good record of corruption, private interest agendas and greed.

How can I trust the same government that brought us Medicare and Medicaid with another program at the expenses of my already depleted pocket.

If my government had a better history of how it manage the nations budget and the nations tax payer money I would be more willing to trust them.

But unfortunately the whole thing while it sounds good to get the profiting private insurance companies for gouging us the consumer we are just changing one crock with another one, but the second one is our own government.

Another question, where the money is coming from for the venture, after all it has to come from somewhere.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by mnemeth1
“Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.”

-Even Esar


Your facts are impressive, however your conclusions are wrong.

The US does have the best healthcare in the world, bar none. Any claims to the contrary are refuted by the endless list of luminaries who seek medical care in this country as opposed to their own.


I think the statistical evidence ways more heavily than the anecdotal supposition, here. Further, it's a game of averages. The US may have some of the best research hospitals for the very wealthy, but that doesn't change the fact that the overall quality of care is substandard compared to similar industrialized nations.



Saying the US doesn't have the best healthcare because people die at a ever-so-slightly younger age in this country says nothing about the healthcare and everything about our lifestyles.


Lifestyle and health care are fundamentally intertwined.



The fact that the US spends more per capita on healthcare is also not reflective of how good or bad the system is. The US spends more per capita on healthcare because the US has a near fully socialized medical system. This bill is the end result of our socialist medical care system continuing on without a way to set prices or ration the care.


No, but the statistics taken in their entirety suggest that a nation can do much more with much less if the precondition is accepted that the goal of a health care industry should not be the same as the goal of Wall Street.



Normally, when healthcare is socialized, prices are set by government which works to keep costs down. Of course, because prices are set, this causes an excess of demand and a shortage of supply which leads to rationing of care.

However in the US we have socialized medical care WITHOUT the price controls, which means no need for rationing.


This is an interesting point, but I don't see any socialized health care for the middle class.



To answer WHY the care is so expensive, we need look no further than the hundreds of mandates that are required by government in insurance packages. You can't get a "bare bones" insurance package that covers only catastrophic illness / injury. Insurance companies are required by law to add in all sorts of other crap that most people don't need insurance for. This drives up insurance costs and distorts the market.


I don't think I agree. The medical sector is grossly profitable by all accounts. If you want to talk anecdotal evidence, I am well acquainted with several doctors who not only agree with that statement but further feel more strongly than I do that national, government subsidized health care is a good idea even if it means sacrificing some of their massive paycheck.



On top of this we have socialized care for the poor in the form of Medicaid and socialized care for the elderly in the form of Medicare.

The "uninsured" population are people for the most part that don't require insurance or are otherwise eligible for Medicaid but simply haven't signed up. Everyone gets "free" emergency care in this country, regardless if you can pay or not. So emergency care can also be considered socialized. It is illegal for a hospital to refuse treatment for emergency care based on a lack of insurance.


That's hardly accurate. That's like saying there are more starving people than there are shop keepers, so every once in a while, the starving people overrun the shops and steal bread. Thus, the distribution of food is socialized. What the periodic overruns actually suggest is the need for a more organized distribution with an eye toward the greater social good.



To summarize, the reason why costs are so outrageous in america is because of government mandates and socialized care without price controls.

The proper way to get costs down while at the same time improving quality of care is to get the government out of the way.

Health savings accounts coupled with cheap catastrophic insurance plans would be a simple remedy.


I would be interested to see any evidence you have which might support this notion that the industry is grossly profitable as a consequence of quasi-socialism sans price controls.



No one asks how much anything costs when they walk into a doctors office. This "lack of caring" about costs is the prime reason costs are so high. No one shops for the best price, thus doctors charge the maximum they can get Medicare or insurance companies to pay.

By having everyone on an HSA, people suddenly become very aware of cost, and will begin demanding to know the price of their doctor's services. This introduces competition to keep prices down.
[edit on 13-8-2009 by mnemeth1]


In the free market, price fixing is a common response to that pressure. It seems very hopeful to me to suppose that the free market will just fix things. Historically, the free market breaks as many things as it fixes.

Let me conclude by saying that I am not voicing support for a particular plan. I am showing the fallacy in the commonly held beliefs that the US has an unimpeachably good system and that national health systems are generally poor. Neither of those statements is true according to overwhelming anecdotal and statistical evidence.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
Actually big pharma is going to profit very well with Obama health care reform.

Now for the OP, answer this question, Americas tax payer pays for already for two entitlement programs in the nation, Medicare and Medicaid regardless of individual needs, Obama is not going to eliminate any of them, so how if he going to fix the private health care gouging when the government is already gouging the tax payer with two entitlement programs, that has been know to be nothing more than a waste of tax payer money due to corruption and mismanagement.

While private health car is gouging and raping the nations at least people have the choice to pay for them or not.

If you work in this nation you pay for Medicare and Medicaid regardless if you have private health care or not.

So see I am not fighting for the private health care profits, there you are death wrong I am fighting for the waste, abuse, corruption that government itself enjoy as well as the private interest.

BTW big pharm will still be reaping benefits, after all big insurance and pharma are the top lobbyist paying in Washington after oil barons, Obama can get away with private insurance but hell he needs big pharma.

[edit on 13-8-2009 by marg6043]


Well, I certainly would not like to see this become even more of a price gouging funhouse for the corporations, though I'm not sure I agree with the characterization of "big pharma". It seems to me that the insurance industry in combination with health care providers have created a hell of a zero sum game in which the benefits accrue primarily to them.

Regarding Obama not touching medicare and medicaid, my understand is that those programs are eligible for consideration to be rolled up into a larger plan. My basic point is that it is not unrealistic (or indeed uncommon) for countries to finance better care for more people with less money than is being spent in the U.S. right now. I'm not so much trying to argue that medicair and medicaid should or will stay as is.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 03:23 PM
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Originally posted by jjkenobi
I thought the purpose for this bill was to cover the 50 million people in the US that don't have health care for whatever reason? Now it's to attack big pharma? What the insurance companies need is more competition for services and pricing.


I think you've jumped the shark a bit, there. The insurance industry in combination with health care providers collect massive profits. In other countries, some of those profits have been sacrificed for the greater good. Meanwhile, greater taxes are not required for that endeavor. It's as simple as that. I'm not sure where attacking any particular industry comes into it beyond suggesting where the greattest savings could be had if those middle men were eliminated by a national system.



posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by mnemeth1
reply to post by marg6043
 


That's right.

This is about taking our crappy socialist system and turning it into a fascist wonderland.

We need free markets to correct the cost disaster created by our government.


[edit on 13-8-2009 by mnemeth1]


The U.S. is not socialist. The existing entitlement programs are not socialist. Further expanding entitlement programs does not lead to fascism. Socialism would advocate an open and unencumbered redistribution of wealth, not particular systems in which people pay to guarantee themselves and others vital services. Failing to recognize the difference might make the argument sound more snappy, but it doesn't help to make things more clear. Fascism is an even further stretch.



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