Why Is U.S. Health Care So Expensive? Some of the Reasons Turn Out to Be Myths

The meat of the article:> There were two areas where the United States really was quite different:

> We pay substantially higher prices for medical services, including hospitalization, doctors’ visits and prescription drugs.

> And our complex payment system causes us to spend far more on administrative costs.

> The United States also has a higher rate of poverty and more obesity than any of the other countries, possible contributors to lower life expectancy that may not be explained by differences in health care delivery systems.

Which is amusing, because people who argue against single-payer tend to argue that

a) single-payer would lead to an inefficient government bureaucracy handling billing and administration, rather than the status quo of “efficient” hospitals and insurance companies; and

b) private health insurance that requires everyone (or their employers) to pay for their own healthcare encourages more healthy living and more efficient pricing due to a more direct awareness of the costs.

Administrative overhead accounts for most of our costs. Everything else is round off errors.https://drkevincampbellmd.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/the-rise-…



I believe, but cannot prove, runaway administrative costs are caused by insurance company driven blame shifting and profiteering. Though I am open to the notion that insurers may just be amoral bureaucratic beasts feeding on people.

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy by David Graeber http://a.co/6olvPDM

Source: Healthcare IT. Everyone inside the beast knows single payer is the correct answer.

Buffett Won’t Boycott Gun Makers, ‘That Would Be Ridiculous’

Warren Buffett said it would be “ridiculous” for the conglomerate not to do business with gun makers, noting that he doesn’t want to impose his political views on Berkshire’s investment decisions or business operations.

.. “I think what the kids are doing is very admirable, but I don’t think Berkshire should say we’re not going to do business with people who own guns,” Mr. Buffet said on CNBC. “I think that would be ridiculous.”

.. The companies could pare health-care expenses 3% to 4% through negotiating power alone, but the initiative intends to go further. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and JPM CEO Jamie Dimon are perfect partners, he said, because “we can make things happen. Our companies are big, yet we can still make things happen. We don’t have the bureaucratic problems or the constituency problems” that other large companies have.

The tech industry thinks it’s about to disrupt health care. Don’t count on it.

But the tech companies that have excelled at disrupting industries, from bookstores to taxis, have typically done it by improving and transforming the consumer experience. Efforts to upend health care in the same way face a major challenge: Most consumers engage with the system infrequently and, when they do, patient choice tends to be superseded by health insurance plans and doctors.

.. compared being a patient in the traditional American health-care system to going to a restaurant with a rich uncle who pays, while the waiter chooses the food.

.. The patient may get to pick the restaurant, but the rich uncle is the insurance company and the waiter is the doctor, who is motivated to keep bringing more entrees and expensive wine.

.. When you go out to dinner, you can be booking airfare — you go to Travelocity, you try to get a good deal. That hasn’t been there in medicine

.. when members are trying to make a decision. … They don’t say, ‘I have a question or issue — let me go to Anthem.com.’ ”

.. change will come from employers and health plans that alter how the system pays for care.

.. policy and benefit design and insurance drive more change in health care, more than anything. It’s not a consumer market in the same way

The religious right carries its golden calf into Steve Bannon’s battles

At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right effectively declared its conversion to Trumpism.

.. A time to live and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to uproot. A time to mourn and a time to embrace angry ethnonationalism and racial demagoguery. Yes, a time to mourn.

.. Evidently the Christian approach to social justice is miraculously identical to 1930s Republican protectionism, isolationism and nativism.
.. Rather than confidently and persistently representing a set of distinctive beliefs, they pant and beg to be a part of someone else’s movement. In this case, it is a movement that takes advantage of racial and ethnic divisions and dehumanizes Muslims, migrants and refugees.
.. If Christian conservatives are loyal enough, Bannon promises that they can be “the folks who saved the Judeo-Christian West.”
.. All that is required is to abandon the best of the Judeo-Christian tradition: a belief in the inherent value and dignity of every life.
.. It means that the primary mission of Christians in public life is not to secure their own interests or to defend their own identity. It is to seek a society in which every person can flourish. This is the definition of the common good — which is not truly common unless it includes the suffering and powerless.
.. If there is a single reason that Republican health-care reform has failed, it is because party leaders could not make a credible case that the common good was being served.
.. Who would now identify conservative Christian political engagement with the pursuit of the common good? Rather, the religious right is an interest group seeking preference and advancement from a strongman — and rewarding him with loyal acceptance of his priorities.
.. They are associating the teachings of Jesus Christ — a globalist when it came to the Great Commission — with ethnonationalist ideology. This should be a sobering prospect for any Christian. But few seem sobered. Instead, the faithful give standing ovations to the purveyors of division and prejudice.
.. When anyone or anything takes priority over the faith, there is a good, strong religious word for it: idolatry. And the word is unavoidable, as religious conservatives carry their golden calf into Bannon’s battles.