Health Care Costs


Most of the European health care systems provide about the same care as the US at about half the cost.   This is extraordinary when you think about it, especially because  we in the US pride ourselves on innovation and cost effectiveness.    What’s up with this?    Still not at all clear to me, but I think a major part of our problem is our … freedom to choose combined with our political spending craziness.   When you ask people about allocating risks they tend to very foolishly think we should have “no risks” or at the least always be working to reduce risks.    This is not rational – we should actually be increasing some risks in our health care system when this increase in risk would lower the costs.    For example rather than spending a huge sum on care for a patient in a coma with a very low chance of recovery we should allocate the money to improving inner city ambulance service times.      These types of decisions should be  practical / institutional / cost driven and not left to stressed individuals in hospital settings as we tend to do in USA.      It’ll take a lot more research to figure out the answer to my question however, which is how in the heck we can spend so much to get the same outcomes!

Here’s a nice article from Kaiser about the spiralling costs of US care, indicating that half the costs are now from hospital care: http://www.kaiseredu.org/topics_im.asp?imID=1&parentID=61&id=358

In France the pharmacy can prescribe antibiotics and other medications from easy to diagnose conditions.    This is a great cost innovation and I’m looking into why we don’t do this here, forcing patients to involve a high cost doctor when this is not needed at all for many ailments.

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About JoeDuck

Internet Travel Guy, Father of 2, small town Oregon life. BS Botany from UW Madison Wisconsin, MS Social Sciences from Southern Oregon. Top interests outside of my family's well being are: Internet Technology, Online Travel, Globalization, China, Table Tennis, Real Estate, The Singularity.
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One Response to Health Care Costs

  1. Cam says:

    “For example rather than spending a huge sum on care for a patient in a coma with a very low chance of recovery we should allocate the money to improving inner city ambulance service times”
    Try telling that to my family whose brother/son/father has been in a coma since March 11th…who are you to dictate what resources should be spent and on whom? Inner city ambulance service is far more important than keeping someone, who by the way is showing great chances of recovery despite the naysayers, alive? When it comes to medically ethical issues, it’s a tough field on which to tread, but making statements that dismiss the needs of those you’ve given up on vs. tending to service times of ambulances, is ethically irresponsible.

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