Sunday, January 26, 2014

Health Care Cost Rising — Causes — How to Control

Can't Talk About One-Payer System 
(It Probably Would Solve the Problem)

I offer an answer this key question – one haunting us for years: Why is it that in the United States we continue to spend a greater percentage of our wealth on health care than any other industrialized nation?

For example as of 2011, our total health care spending reached $2.7 trillion. That is an average of $8,680 per person. So, why - what are the causes?

A great set of answers is here on this one-page summary from Johnson & Johnson.

Additionally, here is a great 36-page report from California.

The “why's” are more complex and extremely personal to each and every one of us, in part from the J&J report:

1.  People in developed countries are living longer and requiring more health care services and products as they age. 
2.  People over the age of 65 typically need four times more medical services and products than younger people. 
3.  Chronic diseases such as asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease are on the rise in both developed and developing countries. 
4.  In the U.S. alone, chronic diseases are responsible for more than half (56 percent) of the $200 billion rise in health care spending in the United States from 1987 to 2000. 
5.  In emerging markets, chronic disease is also increasing, as newly middle-class people adopt less healthy lifestyles.
6.  Another reason why health care costs are rising is simply that new medical technology is making it possible to treat many more diseases than in the past.

Which one of these impacts you or your family directly? 

Which ones would you gladly give up (see the other reasons on the list)?

The idea of reducing health care costs while providing great health care services is as old as man and especially over the period mentioned in the California report (1960-present projections).

Not an easy problem to solve, witness the turmoil over the ACA (Obama-care). Recall, however, the resistance about Medicare and Medicaid ever since 1965 or even the battle head off Social Security. Both have served the people well, so will ACA, given a fair chance. 

However, cost is still a huge issue. A one-payer system would help solve a lot of costs related to the total delivery of health care for all of us.

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