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The US Healthcare System: Most Expensive Yet Worst In The Developed World

Tyler Durden's picture


One month ago we showed that when it comes to the cost of basic (and not so basic) health insurance, the US is by far the most expensive country in the world and certainly among its "wealthy-nation"peers (in a world in which indebtedness is somehow equivalent to wealth), which in the context of the irreversible socialization of American healthcare, was in line with expectations. 

It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world. Unfortunately, that would be wrong and, in fact, the reality is the complete opposite: as a recent study by the Commonweath Fund, looking at how the US healthcare system compares internationally, finds, "the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." In other words: most expensive, yet worst in the developed world.

From the report:

The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but this report and prior editions consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this report—Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States—the U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity. In this edition of Mirror, Mirror, the United Kingdom ranks first, followed closely by Switzerland (Exhibit ES-1).

Expanding from the seven countries included in 2010, the 2014 edition includes data from 11 countries. It incorporates patients’ and physicians’ survey results on care experiences and ratings on various dimensions of care. It includes information from the most recent three Commonwealth Fund international surveys of patients and primary care physicians about medical practices and views of their countries’ health systems (2011–2013). It also includes information on health care outcomes featured in The Commonwealth Fund’s most recent (2011) national health system scorecard, and from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The most notable way the U.S. differs from other industrialized countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage. Other nations ensure the accessibility of care through universal health systems and through better ties between patients and the physician practices that serve as their medical homes. The Affordable Care Act is increasing the number of Americans with coverage and improving access to care, though the data in this report are from years prior to the full implementation of the law. Thus, it is not surprising that the U.S. underperforms on measures of access and equity between populations with above- average and below-average incomes.

The U.S. also ranks behind most countries on many measures of health outcomes, quality, and efficiency. U.S. physicians face particular difficulties receiving timely information, coordinating care, and dealing with administrative hassles. Other countries have led in the adoption of modern health information systems, but U.S. physicians and hospitals are catching up as they respond to significant financial incentives to adopt and make meaningful use of health information technology systems. Additional provisions in the Affordable Care Act will further encourage the efficient organization and delivery of health care, as well as investment in important preventive and population health measures.

For all countries, responses indicate room for improvement. Yet, the other 10 countries spend considerably less on health care per person and as a percent of gross domestic product than does the United States. These findings indicate that, from the perspectives of both physicians and patients, the U.S. health care system could do much better in achieving value for the nation’s substantial investment in health.

Major Findings

  • Quality: The indicators of quality were grouped into four categories: effective care, safe care, coordinated care, and patient-centered care. Compared with the other 10 countries, the U.S. fares best on provision and receipt of preventive and patient-centered care. While there has been some improvement in recent years, lower scores on safe and coordinated care pull the overall U.S. quality score down. Continued adoption of health information technology should enhance the ability of U.S. physicians to identify, monitor, and coordinate care for their patients, particularly those with chronic conditions.
  • Access: Not surprisingly—given the absence of universal coverage—people in the U.S. go without needed health care because of cost more often than people do in the other countries. Americans were the most likely to say they had access problems related to cost. Patients in the U.S. have rapid access to specialized health care services; however, they are less likely to report rapid access to primary care than people in leading countries in the study. In other countries, like Canada, patients have little to no financial burden, but experience wait times for such specialized services. There is a frequent misperception that trade-offs between universal coverage and timely access to specialized services are inevitable; however, the Netherlands, U.K., and Germany provide universal coverage with low out-of-pocket costs while maintaining quick access to specialty services.
  • Efficiency: On indicators of efficiency, the U.S. ranks last among the 11 countries, with the U.K. and Sweden ranking first and second, respectively. The U.S. has poor performance on measures of national health expenditures and administrative costs as well as on measures of administrative hassles, avoidable emergency room use, and duplicative medical testing. Sicker survey respondents in the U.K. and France are less likely to visit the emergency room for a condition that could have been treated by a regular doctor, had one been available.
  • Equity: The U.S. ranks a clear last on measures of equity. Americans with below-average incomes were much more likely than their counterparts in other countries to report not visiting a physician when sick; not getting a recommended test, treatment, or follow-up care; or not filling a prescription or skipping doses when needed because of costs. On each of these indicators, one-third or more lower-income adults in the U.S. said they went without needed care because of costs in the past year.
  • Healthy lives: The U.S. ranks last overall with poor scores on all three indicators of healthy lives—mortality amenable to medical care, infant mortality, and healthy life expectancy at age 60. The U.S. and U.K. had much higher death rates in 2007 from conditions amenable to medical care than some of the other countries, e.g., rates 25 percent to 50 percent higher than Australia and Sweden. Overall, France, Sweden, and Switzerland rank highest on healthy lives.


The U.S. ranks last of 11 nations overall. Findings in this report confirm many of those in the earlier four editions of Mirror, Mirror, with the U.S. still ranking last on indicators of efficiency, equity, and outcomes. The U.K. continues to demonstrate strong performance and ranked first overall, though lagging notably on health outcomes. Switzerland, which was included for the first time in this edition, ranked second overall. In the subcategories, the U.S. ranks higher on preventive care, and is strong on waiting times for specialist care, but weak on access to needed services and ability to obtain prompt attention from primary care physicians. Any attempt to assess the relative performance of countries has inherent limitations. These rankings summarize evidence on measures of high performance based on national mortality data and the perceptions and experiences of patients and physicians. They do not capture important dimensions of effectiveness or efficiency that might be obtained from medical records or administrative data. Patients’ and physicians’ assessments might be affected by their experiences and expectations, which could differ by country and culture.

Disparities in access to services signal the need to expand insurance to cover the uninsured and to ensure that all Americans have an accessible medical home. Under the Affordable Care Act, low- to moderate-income families are now eligible for financial assistance in obtaining coverage. Meanwhile, the U.S. has significantly accelerated the adoption of health information technology following the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and is beginning to close the gap with other countries that have led on adoption of health information technology. Significant incentives now encourage U.S. providers to utilize integrated medical records and information systems that are accessible to providers and patients. Those efforts will likely help clinicians deliver more effective and efficient care.

Many U.S. hospitals and health systems are dedicated to improving the process of care to achieve better safety and quality, but the U.S. can also learn from innovations in other countries—including public reporting of quality data, payment systems that reward high-quality care, and a team approach to management of chronic conditions. Based on these patient and physician reports, and with the enactment of health reform, the United States should be able to make significant strides in improving the delivery, coordination, and equity of the health care system in coming years.

* * *

It should, although if the government is in charge of it, as it now appears to be, it won't.


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Sun, 06/22/2014 - 07:36 | 4882299 pcrs
pcrs's picture

Maybe that is why the police kills a 95 year old guy who refused healthcare.

It is mandatory grandpa, it's good for your health. fasicism should be called corporatism, as it is a merger of state and corporate power -- Mussolini Selling slaves to the highest bidder.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:05 | 4882406 Stackers
Stackers's picture

From all the horror stories I have read for years now on the U.K. single payer health care system I will have to call Bull Shit on this "study".

UK health system is plagued with wait times, people denied treaments due to cost benefit analysis by the N.I.C.E. board, people dying in ambulance outside waiting rooms so that they are never officially checked in and show up as "wait times" in the system (sound familiar to the VA?) lack of available facilities anywhere in the country (story of how US army doctors and equipment had to be flown in to save a Brit army casualty becuase the equipment needed to save his life was not anywhere in the UK) and on and on.


The Europeans are simply better at hiding their statistics through scandals similiar to the VA secret wait list all geared to make government manditory reporting information look better than it is.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:37 | 4882469 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world."

Well, here's the problem with this whole stupid essay-- the very premise it is built upon is exactly 180 degrees wrong. Since "health" is an uninsurable risk, we would logically expect that every dollar spent on health "insurance" would be completely wasted, and thus would correlate INVERSELY to the aggregate quality of delivered health care.

Which is exactly what we are seeing in this country.

Now, the US still has some of the best doctors-- who typically only accept cash and do not deal directly with the "insurance" system. People come from all over the world to see them. But of course, the fully retarded nature of Obamacare-- which was seemingly developed in a lab to deliver the lowest quality care possible while transferring the hugest amount of money possible to health "insurance" companies and maximizing bureaucratic tyranny-- will wind up frustrating qualified people from entering the medical profession and thus crippling our outcomes even more.

Since "health" is uninsurable, it does not matter whether the insurance premiums are paid via taxes to the government, or via policy payments to private insurers-- it will still be wasted money that will actively degrade the quality of delivered care. Of course, since virtually every western nation has a huge insurance infrastructure built up-- be it public or private-- it is now impossible to compare systems as they are all badly degraded and delivering massively substandard care.

Consider this. If PC technology stopped developing in 1983, and everyone was using some version of the IBM PC, PC XT, or PC AT, there would be small relative differences in shittiness in computing power, but no one would know what actual desktop computing power could look like because progress had completely stopped and no one could imagine anything better anymore.

Until we completely eliminate all forms of healthcare "insurance"-- including Medicare and Medicaid, and all private insurance-- we will be stuck in the dark ages.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:45 | 4882626 Christophe2
Christophe2's picture

No matter what this BS article tries to say with its BS surveys, the Western corporate medical system is TERRIBLE across the board, no matter whether you are in Canada, the UK or USA.

The very science that is supposed to drive knowledge and decisions is so completely perverted by the satanists in charge that they obviously are not ever trying to cure the root causes of illness, but rather treat the symptoms and make the causes linger, so that (ideally) they can keep making money just treating the symptoms.  (And yet the doctors never seem to notice what their patients can see, plain as day!)

The system is so paternalistic and insulting, as well: the 'saintly' doctors are meant to decide all for us, and we are meant just to be 'patients' who blindly trust these profit-driven assholes - after all, they made their hypocrite's oath, right?

As a result, the most important aspect of modern medicine is bedside manners, because studies and practice show that it doesn't matter how much you obviously harm your patients (as a doctor or dentist) - what matters is that you make them think that you care about them and are trying your best, in which case most dummy 'patients' will end up thinking that they got good care and will want to forgive any 'mistakes'!  BS Bedside manner is at least 90% of what drives these reports of 'good care'!!!

The real solution, IMO, is for information to be shared so that people can decide for themselves what treatments they feel are required - after all, when it is YOUR LIFE at stake, you are pretty sure not to have a vested interest in making middlemen rich, but for the time being we are sure to remain in this satanic system wherein adults cannot access life-saving remedies without first visiting these sell-out middlemen 'doctors', and where if you refuse their poisons (for all the cases where you disagree with their 'science'), then they will call the cops on you!

Doctors' visits should be optional, meant just for people who are too lazy or busy to do the research themselves, but obviously no think-tank-funded study will propose measures that massively reduce costs and remove TPTB's ability to abusively control peoples' lives...

When it comes to the types of people I despise the most, I am really not sure which of the following are the most detestable: doctors, cops, lawyers, politicians, bankers - fucking bunch of sell-out, two-faced, motherfucking better-than-thou assholes!

I mean, yeah, bankers are using fraud to make the whole world dirt poor and miserable, but at least they aren't physically poisoning you while pretending to cure you!

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:07 | 4882673 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

The Commonwealth Fund roflmao, part of WHO, and will do and say anything to trample American healthcare.  I deplore Obamacare, which is making things worse, but the WHO will say ANYTHING to make us move to a single payer system.

Anyone who has a brain knows USA has most expensive, but the best healthcare in the WORLD, fuck the lying parasites who say otherwise.

More people come to the States to get the best diagnosis and care available in the world today...I fucking hate liars!!!

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:34 | 4882737 Christophe2
Christophe2's picture

How exactly does the US have the "best healthcare in the WORLD"?

"California to make it a felony for MDs to treat cancer without chemo, radiation or surgery":

The AIDS virus is a MYTH:

And in spite of this and so many other examples of satanic malpractice, people still think that Western medecine is the 'best in the world'!!!  WAKE UP!


Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:48 | 4882766 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

LOL, you are such a dumbass, I cannot even fathom an answer to your silliness.  Get an education first, then a life. Kalifornia is a communist bastion now, so what they do is on them, plus that even solidifies my argument against a one payer fucking wake up dolt.

AIDS is a myth?  You are a myth...

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:25 | 4883036 GernB
GernB's picture

Anyone with a brain who is paying the slightest attention knows the raiting is a lie. They use criteria such as "equity" and "access" in their rating, which are not criteria the average person would associate with "best healthcare" thus it is an attempt to fool the average person into thinking our system achieves worse outcomes for treatment of comparable problems (the expected meaning of "best) when that is not the case. When you're criteria for rating "best health care" are at odds with what people conventionally mean by "best health care" it can only mean you are engaging in a deliberate attempt to mislead people into thinking a lie is the truth.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:27 | 4883052 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

I would say that you are doing a very good job of misleading yourself...

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:36 | 4883087 GernB
GernB's picture

Yes, I'm misleading myself by discerning the difference between honest investigation and reporting and propaganda.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:36 | 4883248 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Or you do what I did, deal with Health care in 4 different countries...

The US is the absolute worst experience by far....

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:09 | 4883344 Occident Mortal
Occident Mortal's picture

This report broadly represents my experience of healthcare in the half a dozen countries I have been unfortunate enough to need it.

The USA was woeful compared to the likes of the UK or France.

For the 0.001% of the population who are dying from very rare cancers the US system might be better, but only if you are also a member of the top 5% of society, with 360deg coverage.

Going to a pharmacy or ER or to see a doctor about some minor ailment (which is about 98% of all your healthcare visits) and the US system is positively half a century behind some countries.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 17:00 | 4883595 snr-moment
snr-moment's picture

Odd, my Italian In-law died of a UTI gone septic.  And, unlike say Spain, where you can buy antibiotics without a prescription, here you can't even buy pseudofed without fingerprinting.  Think that might lower Spain's medical costs?

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 20:16 | 4891399 Ionic Equilibria
Ionic Equilibria's picture

Unfortunately very few medical practitioners know that mannose will cure 90% of UTIs. This is something that sshould be universally taught in medical schools but isn't:

Mannose cures urinary tract infections caused by uropathogenic Escherichia Coli (UPEC).  The sooner these mannosides are available the better.   and more, but you get the idea. Rather than clinging to mannose residues on proteins in the bladder wall UPEC link up with free mannose and wash out, a solution far better than using antibiotics to treat UTIs.  The promiscious use of antibiotics when they aren't necessary has inevitably resulted in huge and ever growing problems of antibiotic resistance.  Anybody with half a brain could have seen this coming at least 5 decades ago.  But wait.  Many people still believe the earth was created 6000 years ago so I suppose they can't be expected to grasp this simple example of evolution in action.
Sun, 06/22/2014 - 17:12 | 4883621 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

This report broadly represents my experience of healthcare in the half a dozen countries I have been unfortunate enough to need it.

The USA was woeful compared to the likes of the UK or France.

If Americans spent a tiny bit of time in other countries they'd recnogize how shit their 'private' healthcare is compared to single payer systems elsewhere.  But whatever, ignorance is bliss right zh'ers? It's all propaganda!!! Only <insert rightwing dumbass here> tells the truth!!
Sun, 06/22/2014 - 19:13 | 4883984 OpenThePodBayDoorHAL
OpenThePodBayDoorHAL's picture

So true. I grew up in the US and of course swallowed the Kool-aid (USA is the world's best!). Then my Dad got sick (in France) and I watched the quality and cost of his care: about 10x better than the US. Private doctor visits to his home; instant reimburse of the taxi fare to the specialist; zero waiting times, etc etc. THEN I moved to Australia. Sorry 'Merkans you guys are getting ROYALLY SCREWED

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 21:13 | 4884229 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

And no doubt the French doctors billed your Dad's U.S. health insurance big time for that extra special care? 

No doubt Australia doesn't have milllions of illegals crowding their emergency rooms and getting free healthcare paid for by taxpayers like the US does? 

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 12:11 | 4885144 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Hee. hee, hee....

Unless you have special (and expensive) out of country travellers insurance, fuggedaboutit...

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:16 | 4883168 Christophe2
Christophe2's picture

The AIDS virus is a MYTH because, like Big Foot, it has never been isolated, since it does not exist:

Decades + billions of dollars + countless researchers experienced at isolating even retro-viruses + millions of liters of 'contaminated blood' and yet all the researchers have now given up and moved on, 'cos THE VIRUS DOESN'T EXIST!!!

Or how about poppers, which wikipedia's corporate-fed BS tells us ( are as safe as alcohol, when in fact they were probably the primary cause of AIDS in gay men during the 80's and 90's:

So yeah, uh huh, I am just a myth, but the satanic corporate medical system that is purposefully lying to us, withholding critical information from us, and making money selling the absolute most poisonous 'remedies' (ex: AZT) to outright kill us - all that stuff that isn't due to "one payer system", that isn't just plain old inefficiencies due to wasteful practices, all that insanity just doesn't exist for these proud American fools.

Trust medicine at your own expense.  ALWAYS do your own research and NEVER believe what they tell you with their smiles and 'expert care'.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:21 | 4883197 JustUsChickensHere
JustUsChickensHere's picture

Idiot ... and I call you that because of first hand knowledge.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 16:19 | 4883513 Christophe2
Christophe2's picture

LOL.  Please tell us about your first hand knowledge at isolating the mythical AIDS virus.  The scientific community doesn't seem to have heard of your results!

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 20:25 | 4891428 Ionic Equilibria
Ionic Equilibria's picture

Such incredible ignorance and paranoia surely merits some kind of prize.  I just love idiotic rants like this.  I need them to keep remindng me of the profound stupidity of our species which I have a tendency to underestimate despite many years of experience.

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 10:39 | 4885480 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

>>the Western corporate medical system is TERRIBLE across the board<<

Every corporate system is engineered to maximize profits for the corporation (and debt to everyone outside the corporation since money is debt!  Ruminate on that principle until it sinks in).

Are you saying that these corporations are not maximizing profits - especially for the insider cartel members?


In fact, their profits are maximized via maximizing covert chronic disease within society...   Think about that until it sinks in, too.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:09 | 4882682 kellycriterion
kellycriterion's picture

The unwashed masses don't even realize that medicine was collectivized in the US long ago. Tax subsidies, mandates, Medicare, combined to make "private insurance more like public collectivism than it already is.

The resulting Hypochondria Care 1.0? Well in a culture like the US, you can count on consumers, providers, middlemen to to grab every penny in the system and then some,especially the pennies of the people currently not using the system. And when those people want to use the system?

Managing the collective always comes back the social compact and voluntary compliance.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:08 | 4882538 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Here in Southern California wait times for specialists can easily exceed 6 - 9 months.  Allergists, 9 months, surgeons, 6 months.  My friends wife needs knee surgery and she is on a 5 month wait list.  In the meantime she is confined to a wheel chair.  The second biggest killer in the United States is now the medical system: MRSA, hospital caused infections, errors, and mis-use of prescription drugs top the list.  U.S. doctors prescribe more medicine than all doctors in the rest of the world and we're paying the price.

I helped develop digital x-ray systems that we exported all over the world.  We sold them for $180K in the U.S. and $60K in third world countries. The price difference was due to FDA approval.  The third world countries get better, more advanced equipment faster and cheaper.  Southern California hospitals very often use thirty year old, high-dose equipment because they can't afford the more modern systems.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:01 | 4882659 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

It's a mess. I grew up with the fellows how are my present internal med doctor and ortho guy. Otherwise they tell me it would take 4-6 months to get in and both of them now limit the types of insurance they accept so if you have a base Obamacare plan or Medicaid or Medicare you're out of luck for these docs. I read more doctors are going off many of these plans this year. I can't blame the docs they had to fork out tons of time for training and tons of money for tuition. imo both patients and docs get screwed in this system. Hospitals, however, seem to flourish and overcharge for everything.


So what good is that insuance if no one accepts it? Sure, some folks can do the out-of-pocket for small issues but for the Biggies you're gonna be out of luck. Maybe moving to Thailand [where costs are 1/1oth of the USA] ain't a bad idea?

Where does that Faber fellow live again?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:41 | 4882752 snr-moment
snr-moment's picture

So just to clarify, you are saying your digital system decreased dose. right?  Because that wasn't our experience at all when we dropped film-screen.  2.5 fold increase.  Ask any tech.  They may have improved since then, but not initially, and I doubt by that much.


Also, want health care to be cheaper?, stop having the US be the primary source of revenue for drug R&D.  No reason we should be paying more than the rest of the world.


Also stop suing ER Docs  who then order COUNTLESS unnecessary examinations (head ct's etc) to cover their ass.  Same goes with OB.  Or keep training your toll workers to deliver.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:53 | 4882922 snr-moment
snr-moment's picture

Oh, and by the way, Quebec had ONE med-flight chopper.  Good way to keep health care costs down.


Just ask Natasha Richardson.


Oh and here are some fun ones:


That last one was the one I was really looking for.  Taking longer every time.  Fucking Pharmaceutical companies!!

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:24 | 4883206 Christophe2
Christophe2's picture

The interesting thing to notice about the legal system's impact on medical (mal)practices is that it fits PERFECTLY with maximized corporate profits.

It is extremely bad for people to take large doses of radiation, especially when their bodies are already sick and traumatized already, but this is very good for the fat profits of all the corporations involved.  More people die AND corporations make moar money...


Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:39 | 4883259 snr-moment
snr-moment's picture

Right!  That Level I retired trauma surgeon never learned anything of value from those MVC pan-CTs.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 20:27 | 4884126 Christophe2
Christophe2's picture

It's kind of amazing that the industry-wide 'legal settlement' that resulted from the lawsuits was for doctors to be legally required to grossly overuse radiation-emitting machines on their patients.  No doctor in America can/could avoid administering these cancer-causing 'tests', even in an emergency, and yet nearly all patients come away feeling special and well taken care of, since the most expensive machines are being used to scan them in some way - so long as it was expensive and flamboyant, they are satisfied.

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 11:31 | 4885653 detached.amusement
detached.amusement's picture

its the entire design of the machine that goes 'bing'....not to mention the most expensive machine in the hospital...

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:55 | 4883455 Excursionist
Excursionist's picture

Tore my meniscus in the right knee, and start to finish, I was sorted out in three weeks.  Biggest wait came from getting X-ray and then MRI results.  Ortho and other services were provided in the People's Republic of Santa Monica, which contrasts with your SoCal experience.

Of course I had a tricked out insurance plan.  You get what you pay for, so don't generalize.

Check out the following from a pro-universal coverage character at the National Institutes of Health:

"Most of the NHS’s dreary features—the rundown hospitals, the chronic shortages of specialists in every field, the long waiting lists—stem from chronic underfunding and undersupply of personnel and equipment. Many universal health care systems avoid these problems. How well a system is designed must always be distinguished from how well it is funded; the NHS is quite well designed but underprovisioned"

In other words, the system design is terrific!  All it needs is more money and everything will be just peachy!

If anyone here believes the Commonwealth Fund's absolutely fuckin' horseshit (and by extension the author of this particular blog post), then I've got a bridge to Brooklyn to sell them.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 16:55 | 4883587 snr-moment
Sun, 06/22/2014 - 21:21 | 4884256 sylviasays
sylviasays's picture

"Here in Southern California wait times for specialists can easily exceed 6 - 9 months.  Allergists, 9 months, surgeons, 6 months.  My friends wife needs knee surgery and she is on a 5 month wait list."  

California, a land where millions of illegals get better medical care paid for by taxpayers than those with private medical insurance? No waits for them--they go directly to emergency rooms for immediate medical attention. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:30 | 4882592 ISEEIT
ISEEIT's picture

The U.K. system is a monstrosity, but then again so is the mess we suffer in the U.S. and obozocare absolutely only has and will only continue to make it worse. Obozocare is, much as was the 'war on terror' a Trojan horse designed to achieve central planning objectives. With the war on terror meme the ultimate objective was the transition to a police state. Obozocare isn't even remotely about healthcare delivery. It's entirely about tightening the noose already around our necks and furthering USG's ability to 'manage' the zoo er I mean...population.

I do believe that access to actual healthcare services ought to be provided to every prisoner of any decent government, but we each have our own responsibilities as well and healthcare for the majority of us begins with good diet and exercise.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:15 | 4883002 Imminent Collapse
Imminent Collapse's picture

Until you stop money from buying Congressmen, you will not reduce the cost of healthcare. I mean, when Big Pharma gets a law passed prohibiting the federal government from negotiating drug prices, you know the end is near.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:53 | 4882642 potato
potato's picture

Exactly. I heard all the time what a shitshow the NHS has become. How can they be No. 1? The impression i get from ZH is that the NHS is among the worst. Would someone please explain what is really going on.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:12 | 4882831 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Statists and central planning addicts prepared and wrote the report, just like every year.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:33 | 4882890 drendebe10
drendebe10's picture

Well, then... it's a good thing Phoenix VA Hospital bureuacratic style quality health care is coming to our neighborhoods to save us real soon courtesy a bigger bureaucratic style and more expensive health care system via obamascare....


"We have to pass it to find out what's in it"  Nancy "botox face" Pelosi, 3/2009

"There ain't nuthin uglier than an old white woman."  Fred Sanford, Sanford and Son.

Dr. Ben Carson for President 2016

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:03 | 4882969 midtowng
midtowng's picture

You are thinking of the U.S.

It is America where people die from being denied needed treatment.

The wait time in the U.K. are for elective treatments. In the UK it is based on need. In America it is based on money.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:08 | 4882417 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Story sound just a bit biased to anyone?  Me, too.  So I clicked through to the source:  The Commonwealth Fund.

They're based in D.C.  Uh Huh.

Mission statement:

The mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.

I'd consider the information in this article be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:12 | 4882554 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

The study on which the article is based completely misses the point.

The purpose of the healthcare system in the US is to rake in as much money as possible via skimming operations of ever increasing complexity. The only connection it has with actual health is that it must facilitate the bare minimum level of treatment required to maintain the thin veneer of "care" that keeps enough people from seeing through the scam.

When viewed in this context, the US healthcare system is the best in the world.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:09 | 4882679 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

ROFLMAO, you fucking stooge, I just flushed your brother down my toilet.  You are a fucking idiot.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:12 | 4882555 doctor10
doctor10's picture

well of course its bad-Hillary and a few more dozen Federal agencies will be required to fix it!!

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:29 | 4882879 rubiconsolutions
rubiconsolutions's picture

I never bought my kids a car when they were old enough to drive. The reason was simple: if they didn't have an investment in a vehicle they would destroy it in short order. It's the same with healthcare. With third party coverage of just about anything imaginable people have zero incentive to take care of their bodies. Smoke? No big deal because later in life Medicare will cover lung cancer and COPD. Obese? No problem because my insurance will cover lap band surgery. Diabetes? Instead of reducing sugar intake we'll just get you on insulin. I spent 25 years in healthcare software and saw costs soar in proportion to government and third party intervention. Unless and until people have to take responsible for their actions then costs will continue to rise. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 07:39 | 4882301 kowalli
kowalli's picture

obamacare will kill you really fast

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:58 | 4882391 FilthyHabits
FilthyHabits's picture

Health insurance is not health care. They are two completely different things.

The most best'ist, amazeballs insurance out there can't give you care.

Insurance is a fucking mafia scam.

Tell Obummer he is a whorebag who doesn't even know what words come out of his mouth from that TelePrompTer.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:18 | 4882573 nmewn
nmewn's picture

But but is a RIGHT! Obama said so!

So again we are confronted with the prospect of the state, putting a gun to the head of a doctor, to extract "my right" from him? Well thats just comforting as hell. Personally, I don't want my surgeons hand trembling in fear.

I only need one belly button even if the second one is freeeee! ;-)

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:18 | 4882840 FilthyHabits
FilthyHabits's picture

That's why this, level 1 Trauma Surgeon, retired early.

I've had hospital administrators explain me, "I needed to operate because that's what pays the bills". Fuck that system, patients and doctors are being abused. Insurance companies are fucking evil and they represent the fear and hope cycle driven by humans misunderstanding of life and death.

We will all dye; the earth with our blood.

Arm Yourselves.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:49 | 4883131 snr-moment
snr-moment's picture

At 47!

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:35 | 4882738 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

ObamaScare would be a more appropriate name.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 07:48 | 4882308 AdvancingTime
AdvancingTime's picture

Healthcare is ridiculously expensive because many people have convinced themselves of  three things: The answers for good health outcomes rest with pills and procedures rather than good diet and exercise. Death at late stages of life is some strange, recent development in human history which justifies and necessitates extreme, exorbitant payouts to delay it for every possible last second.  And last but not least, thinking that mixing all the myriad of "health care" transactions that result from the just mentioned concepts with health insurance as originally conceived to protect a person from unforeseeable, catastrophic events like an accident is a good idea. Just because we can does not mean we should, healthcare is like a tape worm ever ready and always wanting to grow larger. More on wht healthcare is so expensive in the article below.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:37 | 4882364 Escrava Isaura
Escrava Isaura's picture

AdvancingTime...... Great post!

If I might paraphrase ‘add’ Ernst Walter Mayr. It goes something like this:


Most successful species mutate very quickly, like bacteria. Or have fixed ecologic niches, like beetles. As we move up the intelligence scale, mammals, the survival becomes much more hazardous. Intelligence is basically a lethal mutation. The greater the intelligence, the more self-destruction you’ll see.



Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:16 | 4882474 dryam
dryam's picture

This article has some truth to it, but it also is not completely accurate. I don't have time to write a book about this topic right now , but I would offer this in no particular order....

Do not be misled about medical record going electronic. It sounds good in theory, but again Obama fucked this up in its implementation. Yes, all doctors offices and hospitals have to adopt electronic records via Medicare rules. What was left out was the requirement for the gazillion various healthcare providing entities' electronic records to talk to each other. Other countries have systems that are universal & no matter where one might go in that country they can access the records. Thus, the current electronic medical record system is the U.S. is not all that helpful & studies have shown it has not improved outcomes. However, it has greatly assisted ambulance chasing attorneys and thus promoted more defensive styles of medicine.

With no tort reform in the U.S. doctors will continue to practice very expensive styles of medicine. This causes an enormous hidden increase in healthcare costs.

The culture in the U.S. also adds significantly to the cost if healthcare. In most other countries when people are nearing the end of their life it's understood that humans don't live forever and care is transitioned from life saving mode to a palliative mode. In the U.S. some patients, and most family members demand that absolutely everything be done to keep that heart beating as long as possible regardless of the costs. Many of these people never paid a single insurance premium in their life & the could care less of the costs to society because of the good ole entitlement culture of the USA. This mindset also alters the perceived effectiveness of the healthcare system. An 85 year old in poor overall health in another country who gets a bad pneumonia probably won't get treated. In the USA most will get fully treated including being in the ICU on a ventilator and such. Many will end up dying and the statistics will appear more unfavorable to USA for that attempted and failed treatment compared to another country where that pneumonia is never captured in the statistics.

Also, Americans seem to have more entitled views on healthcare. The last thing they want to hear is that they need more physical activity, need to eat more healthy, and God forbid that they are fat (that has actually gotten doctors sued). Like the post above, they want a quick pill that doesn't require much effort to swallow and they don't want to pay for the expensive pill. They demand this route instead of losing 20 lbs. of blubber. This pervasive sense of entitlement adds an enormous hidden cost to healthcare. This is also one reason why healthcare outcomes in the U.S. are skewed to the negative side because poor protoplasm in tends to equal poor protoplasm out (aka, you can't polish a turd).

Another reason for the high-priced insurance premiums is that a large number of medical bills from hospitalizations go completely unpaid, and the people who do pay are making up for these unpaid bills.

One last quick comment, I would always take 'studies' that consist of surveys with a huge grain of salt. The results of surveys are greatly skewed by those answering the survey. Thus, an entitled uneducated American may answer the same survey under the exact same conditions much differently than a socially aware educated person from say Swedan.

If I had to sum up the main causes of all this is that U.S. politicians, starting at the presidency, do not want deal with these issues in a realistic way because that type of tough love is not politically expedient. We will continue to spend large sums of healthcare dollars ineffectively and pander to the uneducated and entitled electorate.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:23 | 4882854 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

No thanks on the centralized medical database, centralized rules and regs, national anything imposed by congress critters and even worse, our unregulated unfireable gone wild central government employees. They do have their interests at heart, and those run perpendicular to ours.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:38 | 4883345 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

However, it has greatly assisted ambulance chasing attorneys and thus promoted more defensive styles of medicine.

With no tort reform in the U.S. doctors will continue to practice very expensive styles of medicine. This causes an enormous hidden increase in healthcare costs.

Nonsense.  Here's the way this works.  People get fed up with high healthcare costs and finally get around to asking the horse.  From the horse's mouth comes this: well, you see, your costs are high because we're scared of attorneys and so we run a bunch of additional tests in the hopes that we don't fail to diagnose an issue or incorrectly diagnose it.  It's laughable bullshit.

First, any decent med mal case isn't a failure to diagnose case...  rather, it's a case where the doctor sawed off the wrong foot...  or left a sponge in a guy before sewing him back up...  or unnecessarily cut into a vein during surgery and the patient bleeds out on the table...  In other words, the types of lawsuits that medical providers are allegedly attempting to prevent are not worth anything and are impossible to prove.

Second, you know that myriad of paperwork you have to sign before running tests, before admittance or discharge from the hospital, before anyone scratches your ass?  Well, it mitigates liability for the healthcare provider.  You might think of it as the "clean-up hitter."

Third, we've had tort reform since the beginnings of the common law...  the issue spans many centuries, if not millennia.  At this juncture, you can name me a state and that state has probably passed "tort reform" measures 30 years ago that already do everything that you want (many of which are in contravention of their own state constitutions, but if the check is big enough...).  Further, the SCOTUS has limited punitive damage claims for due process reasons (imposing these standards on all courts).  The only thing left at this juncture, and what the medical lobby wants, is tort immunity.

The bottom line is this, the kissing cousin to fraud is rampant in the medical field.  Medical facilities run any test in which there is plausible deniability for fraud.  In other words, if there is any remotely plausible medical reason for a test, then there is a protocol and instruction to run it, thus avoiding fraud while at the same time being an unnecessary (lucrative) procedure.  Not a single person wants to draw any attention to this fact because 20%+ of our economy is bootstrapped to this activity.  Look at it from a different perspective, medical practitioners are in a position of trust with their clients.  The patients do not have a working knowledge of medical procedures, prescriptions, diagnoses, etc.  They must rely upon the doctor's advice.  Further, the patient does not have to pay for the service, directly, due to an insurance intermediary.  In this type of situation, would you say it is an environment where fraud might occur?  What happens on say...  wallstreet, when J6P (or his retirement account administrator) has to rely on the skills and expertise of their broker?  Well, that administrator promptly buys a lot of shit and the broker deposits his commission check on the way to the hamptons.  Do you ever go in to a mechanic and ask him to figure out what's wrong with your car?  Whatever it takes, just fix it!  You will soon be parted with your money...  why is it when the environment is the same between all these industries, medical providers get a free pass?  Sacred cow...  Again, the reason is that the entire economy is bootstrapped to it.

Ask yourself whether there is a difference in care between payer sources as well...  does a person with private insurance get different treatment if he comes in with the same ailment as someone on medicaid or medicare?  The services that are provided to patients of both payer sources are provided with the same level of care, however there is one very large difference.  The medicaid program in particular pays for many procedures that private insurance companies will not...  as a result, medicaid patients often receive better care through additional services.  Again, if all of these services are absolutely necessary, then why wouldn't you demand the private insurance patient to follow the same course?     

What boggles my mind is that we want to blame everyone but the medical practitioners who make the money from running the tests...  What's the worst that could happen from holding their feet to the fire?  Less pay for worthless administrators?  A more honest society?  Boo hoo.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:32 | 4882477 No OB Wan Kenobe
No OB Wan Kenobe's picture

There is a big difference healthcare and medical care. The docs in the US are among the best trained and skilled in the world. They are the ones providing medical care. They are not and cannot be responsible for access, life style, and risk factors of the population. Poor diet, lack of exercise, drug abuse, genetics etc are not what health practitioners can control. The cost of healthcare is set by administrators and bureaucrats. Don't blame the docs, blame the ever increasing government/insurance control of the system as well as the attitude of the general population that "I am not responsible for my health..if I have medical problem, I can have it taken care for free". 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:33 | 4882598 SeekingNuNormal
SeekingNuNormal's picture

Bottom Line:  We need to incentivise people to be healthy by taking some responsibility for their lifestyle.  Seems our current system rewards those who are unhealthy.  In a free market, the insurance industry would get it right, but oh wait...

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:26 | 4882867 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

When did we have a free market in health care. Back before antibiotics and X-rays and such. The industry was half nationalized already before Obamacare. Via Medicaid, Medicare, va, regulations and the insidious effect of Medicare and medicaid's huge influence on how things are done and priced.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 21:52 | 4884312 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

Ah, there you said it,,,VA! There is a shinning example of healthcare managed by Central Planners.

Maybe if the average Joe was forced to use the VA ,he would be singing a different tune about government run, zero accountability medical bureaucracy.

I must agree, though, that the same government is proficient at creating new patients.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 07:58 | 4882318 schatzi
schatzi's picture

Lobbyism gone awry.

I firmly believe Obamacare, aka a socially funded healthcare system for all, can work under the right conditions - as witnessed in many European countries. Obamacare in its current form, twisted and deformed by special interest and big business and weighed down by an abysmal lifestyle of the mayority, is going to fail miserably.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:14 | 4882333 The Most Intere...
The Most Interesting Frog in the World's picture

I would have respect for Obama but inviting the health insurance CEOs to the White House, paying them hundreds of billions of dollars for basically nothing and completely selling out the American people after running a campaign based on helping the little guy. Who is the bigger threat to the US, ISIS or Obama? I contend it is Obama by a mile.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:18 | 4882440 NoPension
NoPension's picture

Here's a plan. You and your neighbors get together. No, scratch that. The homeowner board mandates everybody in the development deposit their check in a mutual account. Then everybody submits their bills and requests to the board, and the board will cut the checks.
That way, everybody is treated fair.
And if managed properly, everybody gets a pool,Beamer, cable( all the channel!), 2 weeks in tropical paradise, full pantries, house maintenance, college for the kids ( no manner how many YOU have) ....... Is this at least starting to sink in?
Logic. Use logic. Compassion is good,and human. But use some logic,please.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:53 | 4882515 BeansMcGreens
BeansMcGreens's picture

Great idea. I work at the Twentieth Century Moter Company, and I'm going to approach the new owners about it.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 13:11 | 4882985 schatzi
schatzi's picture

You're confusing a total socialistic system through sharing of all assets/income with one single service that is generally considered a basic human right in civilized nations.


I know you lot in the US see things differently, which is fine and all, but I suggest you open your eyes to the alternatives out there in this world. I've lived and worked in 5 different countries with different healthcare systems - and have always been a net contributor by a massive margin, thanks to a good job, a healthy family and fitting lifestyle. A healthcare system that is largely free of lobbyists and special interests, sports good checks and balances, allows competition, aggressively promotes lifestyle changes, does preventative healthcare etc., can provide healthcare to each and everyone at an sustainably affordable level. It can be done as it is being done in enough European countries with varying success, even if you think this is some kind of communist agenda.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:56 | 4883302 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Then it would seem the only logical thing to do would be to send all of our poor who cannot afford healthcare in America to Europe, especially illegals so they can retain their immigrant status. With the Baltic dry index as low as it is, shipping costs would be minimal and Europe could forge ahead with showing us how it is done.

Is it possible that our declining access to healthcare is due more to a shrinking middle class and a dying economy than the healthcare system itself? I don't want affordable healthcare anymore than I want an affordable car or meal. I want the best I can bust my ass to get. What else are we working for.....other than to support government employees. I guess there is always Chinese flat screen TVs.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:01 | 4884332 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture

Who is it that has a basic human right to the fruits of another's labor?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:07 | 4884339 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Why is your finger on that niple?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:02 | 4882321 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

I'd like to see a country comparison of salaries in the health care field. I bet doctors, nurses, hospital staff, pharmaceutical staff and medical supply people are paid more in US.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:25 | 4882345 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

Yes, they're paid more because they disregard the Hippocratic oath. Don't refuse to treat your patient if he can't pay through the nose.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:54 | 4882384 Took Red Pill
Took Red Pill's picture

I lived in Belgium for a few years where doctors made much less than in the states. What you got were professionals who really care about helping people not just doctors who were in it for the money. In the US, health care is big business and many people are profiting off others misfortune. Which is why you won't see a cure for cancer. There's too much money to be made treating it.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 14:58 | 4883312 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

And until Americans care about each other, no amount of laws and force will change it. The first step would to be for our government to stop with the devisive politics and class warfare.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:22 | 4883377 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

America is too large for what you want to happen...  that sort of thing might happen in a neighborhood...  or a one horse town, but not in our country.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:26 | 4883387 johnconnor
johnconnor's picture

I lived in Spain and Italy for years, and most doctors don't even make 60K Euros per year (around $80K). These doctors are, at least, as qualified as the US doctors. It is not a field where you get in for the money, that for sure.

The outrage for me is not so much on the doctors and nurses salaries, but the salaries of the ones who admin the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies and so forth... they are the ones making the millions ripping of the sick

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:26 | 4883388 johnconnor
johnconnor's picture

I lived in Spain and Italy for years, and most doctors don't even make 60K Euros per year (around $80K). These doctors are, at least, as qualified as the US doctors. It is not a field where you get in for the money, that for sure.

The outrage for me is not so much on the doctors and nurses salaries, but the salaries of the ones who admin the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies and so forth... they are the ones making the millions ripping of the sick

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:28 | 4882352 piliage
piliage's picture

Well, for example, in the UK BUPA will charge 160 GBP (roughly $225) for a whole body MRA procedure. In the USA? Roughly $2500...

What's an order of magnitude amongst friends, eh?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:42 | 4882366 NoPension
NoPension's picture

When you "buy" healthcare in the US, regardless of who pays, your paying for ten other fucks that don't or can't pay.
Because hospitals CANT refuse service.
Can you receive any other service,on demand, regardless of you ability to pay?
This shouldn't even merit debate.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:47 | 4882373 NoPension
NoPension's picture

And oh yeah... Health insurance is NOT healthcare. We have local hospitals in the financial toilet because of medi- crap.
.gov now gives lump sums to the hospitals to start the year, when it's gone, that's it. Regardless of the .gov patient load. Oh, they fixed it, alright.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:28 | 4882590 SeekingNuNormal
SeekingNuNormal's picture

I spend massive amounts of money on buying expensive high quality food.  I also spend a ton of money, time, and effort on yoga.  Bottom line - I'm doing everything I can to stay healthy and it appears to be working.  Thus, I am not a drag on the healthcare system or society.  So, my friend, why should I also pay massive amounts of money on "sick care" in addition to all of the money spent on being healthy?  At the most, I need catastrophe insurance.  This isn't an option in the good 'ol USA.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:01 | 4883323 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

They want us to care and sacrifice for one another yet advance policies that make us lose all respect for one another.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:12 | 4884351 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

I am with you, girl! TPTB do not want us responsible people who earn a good living to have catastrophic insurance. They want us to subsidize others in a manner they see fit.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:38 | 4882746 ThirdCoastSurfer
ThirdCoastSurfer's picture

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It is not that you pay while others go free, it is that many profit off the misery of others.

Attempting to explain the situation in one example as a representative example of the whole is impossible, so please take what follows in the context it deserves: Take someone who pays $1,000 a month for health insurance and someone who is on Medicaid and pays zero. Both suffer a heart attack ( or preemie birth or whatever) and incur a multi-million dollar hospital stay. The difference in the cost to the public at large is $1,000 (or $12,000 or whatever contribution you want to impart to the former); while, on a percentage basis, the overall difference remains negligible. However, look into the nature of the expenses charged to each and you will find they are both filled with waste, fraud and abuse and yet the focus is not on the excess of the cost but on the imbalance of the payments?!?

Is the entire system rotten? Of course not. Will it ever be perfect? Of course not. What is important is that it remains in focus as the light of exposure on both sides of this issue is the best sanitizer in keeping the germs that infest both extremes from overpowering the next standard deviation on the continuum.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:14 | 4884356 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

WTF? ....."What is important is that it remains in focus as the light of exposure on both sides of this issue is the best sanitizer in keeping the germs that infest both extremes from overpowering the next standard deviation on the continuum."

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:28 | 4882756 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

So -- according to you less than 10% of Americans have health insurance or pay for their care?

Who do you work for -- the health insurance con-game?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:15 | 4884359 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Its called "collusion" and it is illegal. We have a criminal HC system and a criminal government that is aiding this system.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:03 | 4882323 Gunga
Gunga's picture

"Most expensive yet worst"

It's not a flaw, it's a design feature.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:27 | 4882350 The Abstraction...
The Abstraction of Justice's picture

Coming from England, and looking across the pond, it did always look like a culture of vultures, in which students would take up medicine to look cool and make money, the well being of the patient was always a non-issue. It has leaked into UK health care, where home doctors have seen their wages go up 10 fold in 20 years.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:17 | 4882436 max2205
max2205's picture

General (Recall) Motors comes to mind.


And they have to go to health care after tbe accident

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:10 | 4882326 BurningFuld
BurningFuld's picture

Check this out!  And beware.

Every day, hospice marketers descend on doctor’s offices, rehab centers and hospitals. These workers have been known to rifle through patient logs at nursing stations, scramble to sign up what some in the industry call “last gasp” patients — people with just hours left to live — and even scuffle with each other in hospital corridors over the right to sign up dying people, according to current and former hospice employees and allegations made in federal lawsuits.

Since 2006, the Justice Department has sued more than a dozen hospice companies for going too far in the pursuit of patients. The roster of companies accused of billing fraud includes Miami-based Vitas, the largest hospice provider in the nation. Prosecutors accuse these companies of overbilling for care that isn’t required, refusing to discharge patients who improve and enrolling people who aren’t dying.

Some people receiving the Medicare hospice benefit, which pays all hospice costs provided patients meet a set of criteria that indicate death is imminent, were healthy enough to play golf and go shopping, prosecutors have said.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:18 | 4884367 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

My wife is a nurse. She says they have people in hospice that get better and then are sent home. There is criminal shit happening with the government looking the other way. What is left of our wealth is being fleeced.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:14 | 4882330 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

America is ruled by an oligarchy. Of course you'll have oligopoly pricing on medicine, education and housing (stuff people have no choice but to buy, even if they have to go into debt). And of course you'll have lobbyists writing laws banning competition. The thing is, there are civilized places like Singapore, that have a balanced economy with a functional state, functional social services AND a thriving market.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:13 | 4882331 Tasty Sandwich
Tasty Sandwich's picture

My mom (57 years old) got the flu over Christmas vacation and it developed into severe pneumonia.

On a Friday she went to her regular doctor and was told she didn't need to go to the hospital.  They just gave her some antibiotic and didn't think the pneumonia was severe.

By early Sunday morning she had to go to the ER.  The doctor there described her condition as "critically ill".  They said the flu she had wouldn't have been prevented by the flu shot anyway.

She was in the ICU for a week or so and another week in a regular room.

She had to have an oxygen generator at her house for a couple weeks after coming home too and needed to take a tank with her if she wanted to go anywhere.

The total bill exceeded $150,000 before insurance.

Since she was there in December and January, she has to pay two deductibles (2013 and 2014).  She tried to appeal it, but they want $8,000 out of pocket.  She'll be able to pay it, but it's still ridiculous.

If she hadn't gone to the ER that night, she would have died.  They didn't think she was going to make it at first.  They had her on some "last resort" antibiotic and a BiPAP.  Bad way to start the year. 

She's fine now though.  Credits one of her cats with waking her up and forcing her to go; the cat, which just showed up at her house about two years ago under a bush, wouldn't stop kneading her.

She gets all these bills from different doctors and all kinds of things from the insurance company (Cigna).  The paperwork and bureaucracy seem like they must be at least half the cost.

The system doesn't even seem fixable at this point.  Too many people invested in it remaining ridiculous.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:32 | 4882356 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

With such ridiculous prices, it doesn't matter if you'll squeeze the patient for the money, or if you'll have Obamacare and squeeze all of the patients for their tax money. The real difference is in the prices, not who's paying them.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:05 | 4882412 Tasty Sandwich
Tasty Sandwich's picture

A guy she works with told the ER that he didn't have insurance when his kid broke his arm, so they only charged him $200.  He would have had to pay a couple thousand if he used his insurance.


Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:17 | 4882780 dryam
dryam's picture

First of all, I empathize with your plight over the past year.  Your post seems to capture the essence of the problems with this article.  

For some of the medial stuff....Although I do not know the details of the events of how things transpired with your mom, it is not uncommon for people to get the flu and then develop a subsequent severe (staph) bacterial pneumonia.  Getting the flu vaccine only protects against certain strains of the virus.  Tamiflu has to be given within 2-3 days the first onset of symptoms to have any effect (most people don't go to the doctor and start the medicine within this window) and it may or may not help.  The first outpatient diagnosis & prognosis may have been completely accurate and then a staph pneumonia could have set in which is one of the more nasty pneumonias, and has a high mortality rate.  Google flu and staph pneumonia if you don't believe me.  Alternatively, the flu can uncommonly rapidly progress to a robust inflammatory response in the lungs that no medicines are effective in treating.  A large percentage of the population gets the flu each year, and only a very few will develop a subsequent staph pneumonia or respiratory failure from a rapid inflammatory response in the lungs.  For those that do, the progression can be very rapid and extremely serious such as your mothers.

It sounds as though she was extremely ill, and fortunately it sounds as though she came through ok.  So, it sounds as though she actually got pretty good medical care for an illness that most people died of several years ago.

The hospital bill is horrendous because (as many posters above have stated) our insurance system for medical care makes no sense.  Every system has it's inherent problems, but I believe people should enter into a social contract in regards to the healthcare they'll receive throughout their life and start paying into the system early in life.  I'm not sure whether a fully socialiazed or partially socialized form of medicine would work best.  Under our current system hospitals would go bankrupt if they didn't charge their ridiculously high bills, and then the hospital would not exist to save your mom's life.  

I would recommend that she only pay what she is morally & ethically comfortable with.  She can not be forced to pay a dime.  Also, if she did want to pay her bill in 'full' (if she cared about her credit rating, etc. and I don't know why anyone would these days), then call or write the hospital explaining your financial situation and inability to pay the full bill.  Get a copy of the fully itemized bill and protest several of the charges.  After several iterations of this process the bill will get whittled down significantly.  The hospital would rather get paid some percentage of the hospital bill than nothing at all.  You have to be persistent in this process.  It's all a game.

The current system makes people who do pay their medical bills pay extra to compensate for those who paying nothing at all.  I think people would be surprised how many people run up huge hospital bills, don't have any health insurance, and never pay a dime.  Healthcare is not God given right, and like just about everything else in this world it is not free.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:24 | 4884377 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

My father-in-law has a government pension and medigap type health insurance. He had his gallbladder removed and the hospital bill alone whay $97,000. This did not include what the surgeon charged.

I have a private sector job and decent health insurance. My son had a 9 hour, delicate surgery that required much more skill than removing a gall bladder. Total bill was less than $13,000 and my share was only about $1,700.

When they see something they can fleece, they go in for the kill. We are being fleeced through these old foggies medicare proceedures. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:36 | 4882361 piliage
piliage's picture

I had a pneumonia three years ago in Belgium that didn't respond to normal front line antibiotics. I was put on a final line antibiotic, Avalox, and put in the hospital for a couple days. In the US, 10 pill Avalox course will cost $200, I was on them for three courses. I needed several chest scans, lab work, and several doctor visits.

My total bill for my pneumonia in Belgium, including meds, doctor and hospital, was about $190.

Last summer, I picked up another respiratory infection, my doctor bypassed the normal treatment line and went straight to Avalox. Was over it in 10 days. No problem.

While Belgium certainly has serious problems and issues, I'm VERY glad about the health care.


Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:04 | 4882411 junction
junction's picture

Avelox (and also levaquin) are fluoroquinoline antibilotics that still work against drug resistant strains of pneumonia and other respiratory infections. They are off patent, so $20 a pill seems high even if the dosage was 750 mg. Farmers know about avelox, which is why the use of veterinary versions of these drugs has greatly increased, even with the high price for these veterinary antibiotics. 


For real sticker shock, look at the price of the antibiotic Zyvox, sold for $100 a pill by Pfizer until next year, when the patent expires.  $3,000 for a 15 day course of treament seems high until you compare it to the alternative of death.  Which the lawyers at Pfizer know.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:30 | 4883402 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Which the lawyers at Pfizer know.

Have an agenda you want to talk about?  Seems to me like any garden variety officer, director, or administrator would know that charging X is better than death...  no need to call in additional assholes.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:09 | 4883346 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

I know I would never pay $8000 to save my life. NO WAY! Not a dime over $500. After that it starts cutting into my cable and beer budget. Lifes just not worth living without beer and cable.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:28 | 4884388 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

$150,000 for a little over 2 weeks and some antibiotics is a little excessive. They probably had at least 4 specialts stop by every day to look in on her so they can justify tacking on some cost.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:16 | 4882335 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Move to Australia. I'll just keep saying it. Someone will listen. Eventually

Simply living here will make you healthier.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:21 | 4882339 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

If you're in Australia, how are you able to use the modern Internet?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:25 | 4882346 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Simple really. The central banks of the main financial powers keep printing trillions of dollars. Quite a lot of that money flows to Australia because we simply have so much resources, materials, food, realestate, etc. Then someone uses that money to create a broadband network. Thanks for chipping in for us mate! 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:29 | 4882354 juujuuuujj
juujuuuujj's picture

Australia is a great place if you disregard the gigantic housing bubble, the reliance on China and the crappy Internet. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:36 | 4882362 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Keep grazin in the USA. More sunshine, fresh meat (the poor folk here can afford to eat lamb for breakfast, lunch, and tea. I bet you wouldn't even know what lamb tastes like), clean air, extremely attractive healthy women, huge tracts of unspoilt wilderness, plenty of employment, highest level of economic freedom in the Western world, etc. etc. I can go on and on and on.

And you worry about the internet. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:47 | 4882501 BurningFuld
BurningFuld's picture

I hate fucking lamb.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:04 | 4882540 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

I'm sure they hate you fucking them too.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:47 | 4882929 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

"Deep over the wall in left, It's outta here!"


Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:35 | 4882740 First There Is ...
First There Is A Mountain's picture

Extremely attractive women? OMFG. What a hoot. Love it when I hear that oft perpetuated lie. I've been down under several times mate. Aussie women rank just above Kiwi women (swamp donkeys). Go peddle that horseshit somewhere else. Take a trip to Brazil, Argentina or the Czech Republic and come talk to me about genuinely attractive women. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:33 | 4883409 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

I would add "the cheapest public college you can find in the south (U.S.)" to the list...  also had an incredible amount of attractive women in estonia per capita, but many seemed to have a couple dudes hanging around...  the boris equivalent of guidos.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 19:07 | 4883966 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

I'm going to have to make some youtube clips to start dispelling all this propaganda you guys are spreading about Oz. Some homemade tourism videos. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:33 | 4884403 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Yep, I spent a week between Christchurch and Auckland. The ONLY half-way decent looking woman I encountered was a transplant from easternEeurope.

The lamb is good, but EVERYTHING is expensive. Good thing I was expensing everything or I would have starved as I am a cheapskate.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:20 | 4882443 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

I like Australia but come on.  Like 1% of it is arable land.  Lots of real estate available, I'll grant that, though it helps if you can eat rocks.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:07 | 4882544 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

This is completely ignorant. And whoever upvoted this needs to study some basic geography. One of Australia's main exports is food. I said I wanted everyone to come but I think I need to withdraw the invitation to you if you're going to be that stupid. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:35 | 4882736 Raging Debate
Raging Debate's picture

Mr. Australia why do you want us all to come over there? It reminds me of tacky marketing.

Lex Luther wanted Australia in Superman 2 so maybe its awsome after all.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:32 | 4882357 The_Ungrateful_Yid
The_Ungrateful_Yid's picture

Saving my pennies more so everyday for that opportunity!

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:48 | 4882374 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

If you need any help or advice let me know. I sent you a contact request. Make sure you enable chat.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:35 | 4882360 NoPension
NoPension's picture

Australia? That island country between the Pacific and Indian oceans. With a population of 23 million? We have states with more people than that. How is your border problem? Dealing with a big influx of third world illegals?

We are a BIG country. Physically and population wise. It is disingenuous to compare us to other countries with smaller,homogenous populations.

Goes for other things too. My lib friends fawn about Europe's high speed rail system. But tell me to fuck off when I overlay Texas on Europe. We have states bigger than their countries.

Let's all go to Australia, and see how long it takes to totally fuck up your systems.
And p/s... You gave up your guns.. Not to bright

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:46 | 4882369 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

I personally didn't give up anyone's gun because I was just a boy when it happened. In fact I currently own a .223 firearm and every single farm in the country has at least one firearm in their house.

How is your border problem? Dealing with a big influx of third world illegals?

Incase you haven't noticed, I'm trying to get people into Australia. Not keep them out. I'd open the border right up if I had my way. 

It is disingenuous to compare us to other countries with smaller,homogenous populations.

Australia's population is very, very mixed. It is far from homogenous. This is because smart, freedom loving people around the world are coming here for the endless opportunity. But it seems that while Americans still think that Amerika is the greatest, they will continue to miss the boat (literally).

But tell me to fuck off when I overlay Texas on Europe. We have states bigger than their countries.

Australia is massive too. Not sure why you're babbling on about Europe. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:05 | 4882410 NoPension
NoPension's picture

I was making a point. Or a number of points.
I am not dissing Australia.
And living there is probably great. Lots of jobs, and a generous minimum wage. ( a few million Mexicans would fix that!)
No housing bubble, like we had/ have. Lots of affordable housing.
(Re. Mexicans,again)
Nice,generous ,social programs. ( more immigrants, of lower class, perfect)

Low crime, easy going police force, hands off government. ( your lucky you don't need those guns, bolt action 223 aside)

Please explain how or why if we come to Australia, it will be better for everyone.

America is unique. It's great because it's unique, and offered great possibility. And we have always had social problems of some sort.
I am proud to be American. And respect the Beauty and uniqueness of other places.
Now, please don't make me list the developments that have come from America, to the benefit of the world. It's a long list. But you know that.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:13 | 4882430 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

My encouragement is for two reasons;

1. Australia has managed to elect one of the few Western centre-right conservative governments in the world. But this new government is having to deal with massive backlash from the socialist class of Australia that has been fed false hope for 6 years by the previous socialist government. I worry that we will return to the socialist government and that would upset me a lot. So I try to encourage conservatives, free marketeers, entrepeneurs, capitalists, innovators, etc. to come here, become citizens, and then help to keep a good government in power. 

2. It seems that a lot of people in the USA and around the world don't feel so happy where they currently are. So I try to spread the word that there is infact a better alternative. 

So for me it seems like a win win. And as you admit, you're old so you probably have things pretty sorted. But a lot of young people don't. And I must admit that Texas does seem to be one of the better states. 

We currently only have 23million people here. It's almost negligble. A massive influx of people would literally create a new country in the way that the USA was created. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:32 | 4882480 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

A massive country with extreme food and water shortages, you mean.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:45 | 4882497 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Are you serious???? 

Or just trolling? 

In 2012 we exported $30 billion in food. What shortage are you talking about? Where do you get your dose of propaganda from?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:41 | 4882492 NoPension
NoPension's picture

Interesting. Upon reflection, the USA was once Australia. A large landmass, far away, that needed population and offered limitless potential to those willing to uproot,move and work hard.
Our founders blessed us with a well thought out system. It was not perfect, but unique in the world. And mostly, we attracted and absorbed the dregs of other societies. And gave them a chance they never had. A chance, not a guarantee. And many made the most of it, and some didn't, but the USA grew to be great and powerful.
And then we got fat and happy. And somewhat spoiled. And, while we still have lots of unsettled landmass, we are kinda full. And our demographics suck, with baby boomers overwhelming the system. And we are going through aging, not growing pains.

And our politicians see the solution in swarms of third world immigrants. But we, as a society, have moved way past that. Most of us were not raised in hovels, like our great grandpa. And to us, it's going backwards. And these folks don't seem to be making us richer, just cutting our grass, and making our burgers. And maybe changing our diapers.

Anyhow, the point is....the successful,hard working class you wish for, don't tend to uproot and move to a new land in this day and age. I would prefer most folks work on changing their homeland into a better place.

But I could be wrong.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:00 | 4882525 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

I think you're right. Which is why I'd like to see as many third worlders come here as possible. And if some first worlders want to come then all the better. 

You might be interested to know that the biggest source of new Australian citizens is the UK. Second is India. 

I'm glad that you can see what I'm trying to explain. There's so much potential here. And it really doesn't matter who comes, so long as they are willing to have a go.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 22:36 | 4884412 FredFlintstone
FredFlintstone's picture

Real estate prices are through the roof in OZ ans NZ. Kind of like San Fransisco.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 23:14 | 4884516 The_Prisoner
The_Prisoner's picture

Centre-right? you gotta be shitting me!

The entire cabinet is slightly to the right of Mussolini. It's all church and corporate interest groups. They never met an oligarch they didn't like.

Economic freedom? Wait till they sign on to the TPP.

I would concede Turnbull is centre-right politician, and look what his whole party is trying to do to him.

Australian government has consistently been a pincer movement against the middle class. The left through over taxation, the right through corporate welfare.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:26 | 4882459 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

"In fact I currently own a .223 firearm and every single farm in the country has at least one firearm in their house."

According to the Wikipedia article on Aussie gun laws, you need to demonstrate a Genuine Reason and Genuine Need to have a (non-semiauto) centerfire rifle, including evidence that a rimfire rifle is insufficient for your needs.  I seriously doubt most farms are going to meet that criterion.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:53 | 4882507 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Every farmer I know owns a centrefire rifle. 

If you want I can open up the gun safe and check that my .223 is still centrefire.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 10:40 | 4882608 jonjon831983
jonjon831983's picture

"Dingos" take babies?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:22 | 4882451 schatzi
schatzi's picture

Australia? That island country between the Pacific and Indian oceans. With a population of 23 million? We have states with more people than that. How is your border problem? Dealing with a big influx of third world illegals?


You do realise that Australia is as big as the USA and it isn't an island but a continent? As to a homogenous society, I wouldn't be that sure. Austrialia has a massive influx of foreign born citizens. Problably on par to the US on a per capita basis.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:19 | 4882442 schatzi
schatzi's picture


Move to Australia. I'll just keep saying it. Someone will listen. Eventually

Simply living here will make you healthier.


Skin cancer is a bitch. Just kidding... great place to live. Sun, space and clean air make an active outdoor lifestyle so much easier.


Though sadly even the most healthy lifestyle is no guarantee for good health.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:25 | 4882462 Magnix
Magnix's picture

"Move to Australia. I'll just keep saying it. Someone will listen. Eventually

Simply living here will make you healthier."


What are their jobs availabilities? I heard they're not doing very well and it makes me healthier????

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 09:48 | 4882504 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

Unemployment is probably among the lowest in the Western countries. We will go through a bumby ride as the US empire wanes. But long term the fundamentals are supportive of growth. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:23 | 4882857 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I think by then you'll be taken over by Asians.  You practically already are.

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 01:11 | 4884689 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

God I hope you're right! This is something I look forward to every day. 

How long before the USA is overrun by Zombie Dimocrats? You do realise you're never going to get the Dimocrats out of power for a looooong time right? 

Asians are good people. You must understand that Western Australia is economically part of Asia. Rather than being taken over by Asia we already are Asia. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:19 | 4882841 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I liked Australia but what turned me off to it (Sydney, Melbourne) was the police state feel that it had.  Cameras everywhere, security guards and checkpoints everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.

Mon, 06/23/2014 - 01:15 | 4884695 mrpxsytin
mrpxsytin's picture

I'm in Western Australia. We are slowly getting CCTV. But that is because the cost of living for the dole bludgers is raising faster than the dole check. So they've got to go out and earn some money (i.e., steal stuff).

We don't have any checkpoints or security guards in Perth. Only on some big banks and certain government buildings. 

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:21 | 4882337 NoPension
NoPension's picture

I'm old, but not antique. I can remember mom taking us kids to the clinic(?), having us checked for this or that, and mom writing a check on the way out.

How,how, how is it not possible that insurance and government paying for health care has not skewed the field?
Insurance should be for catastrophic care; and .gov paying, I don't know, but people need to see the price. And make a cost based decision. And for those who argue health care is a right, you live in a fantasy of your brain, and that shit only works until other peoples money runs out. Like everything else.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:33 | 4882359 wmbz
wmbz's picture

I have the receipt for the cost of my birth at the hospital in 1957. Two night stay afterwards for my mother and me. No complications, total cost...$125.00. Plus my father paid an extra $10.00 to have a fan put in my mothers room. (Summer in the south)

What happened between then and now?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 11:50 | 4882774 viahj
viahj's picture

the US defaulted on the gold standard and the central banks have been inflating ever since

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 15:36 | 4883417 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Medicare, Medicaid, and the massive private health insurance industry happened...

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:22 | 4882341 The Most Intere...
The Most Interesting Frog in the World's picture

In the US our problem is not doctors or healthcare or bankers. The problem is our Communist government. Rid the government of Communists in the Republican and Democratic parties and positive change will come about.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 12:25 | 4882864 Vendetta
Vendetta's picture

but all the fascism and crony captalism is all good?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:21 | 4882342 wareco
wareco's picture

"This report is brought to you by the Commonwealth Fund, the people who brought you Obamacare"  Anybody know of any non-UK citizen going to the UK exclusively to receive health care?

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:56 | 4882379 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

Many of the measures carefully selected in the article are designed to benefit countries with a single payer plan. Of course, 'choice' is omitted.

In terms of costs, there are many unique things to the US that could be fixed, but aren't going to be because fixing them would mean a reduction in contributions to our Congressmen. For example:

1. Lawyers love getting big malpractice awards, and malpractice insurance companies love to sell high priced plans to doctors.

2. US health insurance companies and the various government run plans LOVE to hold onto their money, so will come up with constantly changing rules and laws and requirements in order for doctors to get paid. This means huge staff overhead at the insurance companies and for the doctor.

3. Drug companies get to recover 'development costs' by charging more for their drugs in the US than they sell the same drug for in other countries. And of course, those development costs require passing through all kinds of hoops that the FDA has set up.

4. Many of our freebie government healthcare plans allow unlimited access with no cost to the patient. Moreover, the patient has choice to go to other doctors. Thus the patient can see doctor A and get his pain pills, then go right over to doctor B for another batch, doctor C, etc - then sell the pills on the street.

5. The constantly changing rules prevent individual or small groups of doctors from competing with larger clinics because the doctors cannot keep up. Thus we pay for a multi-location health comprehensive conglomerate instead of a single doctor.

6. Because of malpractice laws we no longer treat patients in one visit. We now have a pre-check initial visit, which can then lead to the patient having a mini physical on a second visit to make sure that they can safely have the procedure, then we do the procedure on visit number 3, which is followed up by a re-check visit number 4.

So lets see some of these metrics included in the rankings for best or most expensive healthcare. It is not that our healthcare quality is bad, but rather that we have created a large number of non-productive industries that feed off the healthcare industry and who have bought themselves a Congress that never seems to include them in any reforms.

Sun, 06/22/2014 - 08:54 | 4882387 Catullus
Catullus's picture

These subjective rank-order evaluations are brought to you by the Commonwealth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund, providing you completely biased, misleading information for you to justify your idiotic ideas for decades!


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