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No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter. Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.
Even under the weaker versions of health care reform now on offer, health insurers would be required to take everyone at the same rates, provide a standard level of coverage and keep people on their rolls regardless of their health. Terms like “pre-existing conditions” and “underwriting” would vanish from the health insurance rulebook — and, when they do, the relationship between the health insurance industry and the food industry will undergoa sea change.
health insurers would be required to take everyone at the same rates
He claims that the salt-sugar-fat combination alters the chemistry of the brain so that instead of satisfying hunger, it stimulates the eater to want more. And the food industry, he says, has manipulated this neurological response to get diners to keep eating -- more than they should or even more than they want. (How many times have you finished a meal and said, Why did I eat all that?)
Originally posted by poet1b
Hitting people where it counts the most, their wallets, would be the most effective way of getting people to change their behavior.
To Cut Healthcare Costs, Let's Start With the Secret Prices
Compared with people in other developed countries, Americans see doctors less often and take fewer medications. They also spend the same or fewer number of days in hospitals, and they already lead the world in expenditures per capita on prevention and public health. Yes, more high-tech care may be given to the sick in this country, and yes, that contributes to higher costs. But whether it's low- or high-tech care, what is achingly obvious is that total costs are a function of prices. Ours are the highest.
Look at a colonoscopy: When paid by Medicare, the fee is roughly $450. Insurance companies secretly negotiate a maze of different prices, generally two to five times that. But as the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans recently reported, patients who have to pay their own bill, because they are uninsured, are seeking care outside of their insurer's network, or their insurer has denied their claim, can face retail charges as shameless as $10,000. And how can it be that Medicare pays $40,000, prix fixe, for the same heart operation, by the same doctor, at the same hospital, that costs patients paying privately $80,000 to $120,000?