Nathaniel Givens explains nearly all of it in a blog post.
Imagine if grocery shopping worked like health insurance. Let’s call it “food insurance”.
First of all, you’d better hope that you’re not self-employed or unemployed. You see, way back in World War II the United States created strict wage controls as part of theStabilization Act of 1942. Since employers still wanted to compete for the best employees–even in wartime–they had to get creative. Instead of offering higher salaries (which was now illegal), they began to offer fringe benefits. The most important of these was healthcare insurance. Let’s pretend that food insurance started in the same way. That would mean that, today, if you get your food insurance through an employer-provided plan you not only get a nice tax advantage on your own premiums, but you can also rely on the employer to pay some of your costs as a matter of traditional expectations. But if you’re self-employed, you not only lose the tax-advantage, but also the ability to get the lower rates that come with buying insurance for bigger groups.
Now let’s imagine what actually shopping for groceries would look like.
One thing Nathaniel left out is the cost of our legal system, which is significant. Adopting the “English Rule” (loser pays legal fees) would be a major step in the right direction.
Read the rest.
Read the article at Time: Health & Family. Quotes:
“What are the reasons, good or bad, that cancer means a half-million- or million-dollar tab? Why should a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turn out to be indigestion bring a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college? What makes a single dose of even the most wonderful wonder drug cost thousands of dollars? Why does simple lab work done during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car? And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?”
“I got the idea for this article when I was visiting Rice University last year. As I was leaving the campus, which is just outside the central business district of Houston, I noticed a group of glass skyscrapers about a mile away lighting up the evening sky. The scene looked like Dubai. I was looking at the Texas Medical Center, a nearly 1,300-acre, 280-building complex of hospitals and related medical facilities, of which MD Anderson is the lead brand name. Medicine had obviously become a huge business. In fact, of Houston’s top 10 employers, five are hospitals, including MD Anderson with 19,000 employees; three, led by ExxonMobil with 14,000 employees, are energy companies. How did that happen, I wondered. Where’s all that money coming from? And where is it going? I have spent the past seven months trying to find out by analyzing a variety of bills from hospitals like MD Anderson, doctors, drug companies and every other player in the American health care ecosystem.”
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2013/02/20/bitter-pill-why-medical-bills-are-killing-us/#ixzz2LiH7kQ82