Thursday, February 04, 2010

LA Times: Health Care Outpaces Economy Growth: DUH: why might that be?

Add your comments to the LA Times article here:,0,1362585.story

Soaring cost of healthcare sets a record
Spending was 17.3% of the economy last year. The share paid by the U.S. will soon exceed 50%, a study says.

COMMENTS (7) Add Comment

With rising unemployment,the hidden variables of mental and physical health care challenges looms behind the scenes. When people lose their jobs, their mental health concerns accelerate.In terms of their physical health, they lose access to 'amenities' such as healthy food and going to the gym.

The linking of 'inefficiency', in the article, to state and federal governments, is a red herring intended to draw one's attention away from the significantly greater inefficiency of the private health care business.

Medicare, which insures the disabled, utilizes 2-6% of its funds (depending on how the expenses are broken down) on administrative costs. Private health care companies dump these patients, termed to be high-rate medical utilizers.

BCBSNC, the largest private medical insurer in NC spent 15% on administrative costs in 2008.

The inefficiency of Medicare could be reigned in if competition was created for Durable Medical Goods (DMG) and because Big Pharma has lobbied a gullible, though well compensated, Congress in order to block competition.Disabled people on Medicare utilize DMG's for the most part. Contrarily, the inefficiency of private health care companies will only take place if the maddeningly repetitive administrative costs are done away with by creating competition so that the numbers of companies will shrink & drown in the bathtub.
MadameDefarge (2/4/2010)


Here are excerpts from the LA Times article

"Reporting from Washington - In a stark reminder of growing costs, the government has released a new estimate that healthcare spending grew to a record 17.3% of the U.S. economy last year, marking the largest one-year jump in its share of the economy since the government started keeping such records half a century ago.....

In the absence of change, the report raises a grim prospect for the country -- a healthcare system consuming an ever greater and potentially unsustainable share of the economy even as private health coverage lags.Last year, CMS estimated that government spending on healthcare would not overtake private spending until 2016, compared with 2011 or 2012 in the current report.....

Federal and state spending on Medicaid, the nation's primary health insurance program for low-income Americans, jumped nearly 10% in 2009, according to the report. Medicare spending, meanwhile, shot up just over 8%.....

CMS officials noted that healthcare spending has been increasing even as the number of Americans without health insurance is growing, another sign of problems with the system.....

Inefficiency is becoming a particularly acute problem for state and federal governments, which the report shows are increasingly supporting the nation's healthcare system....."


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