Truth in advertising from the Medical Industrial Complex
Bob Cesca at HuffPo, in his post The Health Insurance Mafia Deserves a Good Screwing recounts his personal experience of losing his family’s medical insurance after his provider, without cause, raised their premium threefold overnight; and makes the case for a public option.
Atul Gawande of The New Yorker provides a clue as to why medical costs are spiraling out of control in his article The Cost Conundrum . He travels to McAllen, Texas (population 127,00), located in Hildago County to find out why it is home to the most expensive health care in the country.
In 2006, Medicare spent fifteen thousand dollars per enrollee here, almost twice the national average. The income per capita is twelve thousand dollars. In other words, Medicare spends three thousand dollars more per person here than the average person earns…seven thousand dollars more per person each year than does the average city in America.
The mystery is solved as he exposes the vertical control over unnecessary medical services ordered and provided by the local medical mafia. Hospitals owned by investor-physicians receive, in addition to fees for their time, a percentage of the profits on all the tests, products, and services they order. Patients have morphed into clients, or more accurately, profit centers.
You might expect that more is better: more tests, services, and operations would produce better outcomes. You’d be wrong:
In a 2003 study, another Dartmouth team, led by the internist Elliott Fisher, examined the treatment received by a million elderly Americans diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, a hip fracture, or a heart attack. They found that patients in higher-spending regions received sixty per cent more care than elsewhere. They got more frequent tests and procedures, more visits with specialists, and more frequent admission to hospitals. Yet they did no better than other patients, whether this was measured in terms of survival, their ability to function, or satisfaction with the care they received. If anything, they seemed to do worse...To make matters worse, Fisher found that patients in high-cost areas were actually less likely to receive low-cost preventive services, such as flu and pneumonia vaccines, faced longer waits at doctor and emergency-room visits, and were less likely to have a primary-care physician. They got more of the stuff that cost more, but not more of what they needed.
All in all, a dysfunctional medical system that profits a very few at the expense of the many.
Senator Bernie Sanders goes further than Cesca, arguing for a single payer health care system like the rest of the civilized world enjoys. He is circulating the following petition:
* 46 million Americans are currently without health insurance;
* 60 million Americans, both insured and uninsured, have inadequate access to primary care due to a shortage of physicians and other health service providers in their community;
* 100 million Americans have no insurance to cover dental needs;
* 116 million adults, nearly two-thirds of all non-seniors, struggled to pay medical bills, went without needed care because of cost, were uninsured for a time, or were underinsured in the last year;
* The United States spends $2.3 trillion each year on health care, 16 percent of its Gross Domestic Product;
* Americans spend $7,129 per person on health care, 50 percent more than other industrialized countries, including those with universal care;
* The U.S. does not get what it pays for. We rank among the lowest in the health outcome rankings of developed countries, and on several major indices rank below some third-world nations;
* The number of health insurance industry bureaucrats has grown at 25 times the growth of physicians in the past 30 years;
* In 2006, the six largest insurance companies made $11 billion in profits even after paying for direct health care costs, administrative costs and marketing costs.
* Medicare has administrative costs far lower than any private health insurance plan;
* The potential savings on health insurance paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, is enough to provide comprehensive coverage to every uninsured American;
* Only a single-payer Medicare-for-all plan can realize these enormous savings and provide comprehensive and affordable health care to every citizen.
* We, the undersigned, urge the United States Congress to pass a single-payer Medicare-for-all program which will provide quality, comprehensive health care for all Americans.
You can sign the petition here.
UPDATE ONE (June 18)
1. If you already signed the petition, you were one of 15,000 who did in the first 24 hours alone, according to Senator Sanders on Bill Press’ radio show this AM.
2. Bob Cesca cites a number of polls today showing overwhelming multi-demographic support for a public plan; and does a smackdown on Democratic “consultant” turned medical mafia lobbyist, Steve McMahon.
[Image found here.]
Health, sanity, and happiness are integrations of truth, beauty, and goodness as they are blended in human experience. Such levels of efficient living come about through the unification of energy systems, idea systems, and spirit systems.
– The Urantia Book