There is a simple reason health care in the United States costs more than it does anywhere else: The prices are higher.
The chief executive of the Carolinas HealthCare System received $4.76 million in wages, bonuses, and benefits in 2012, and nine other executives with the North Carolina-based network earned at least $1-million, reports the Charlotte Observer ..... Carolinas HealthCare, the second-largest public hospital system in the country, operates 38 hospitals in North and South Carolina and has raised its annual revenue from $4.1-billion to $7.5-billion in the last five years.
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A new survey finds more than one in five CEOs at non-profit hospitals in California make more than $1 million a year. How about $7.7 million a year? That's what Kaiser Permanente's CEO George Halvorson made in 2010.
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Rhode Island Hospital’s parent company paid its CEO $9.5 million in 2009, but the industry’s top lobbyist says that doesn’t mean Providence’s hospitals can afford to start contributing money to the city budget. Local hospital chain Lifespan’s CEO George Vecchione earned $9.5 million in fiscal 2009, after getting paid $3.2 million in 2008 and just under $3 million in 2007.
why isn't Medicare just expanded to cover everyone
This is how you healthcare. It’s care of those clinging to life and care of those spinning and reeling in their orbit, struggling to adapt to life in a new airless atmosphere, a place with its own physics. There's no division. At one end, there is a malfunctioning heart, so you give it the right dose of the right drugs. At the other end is an exhausted relative, so you give her toast.
By now I am convinced that the NHS – and I hyperbolise, but only slightly – is the greatest achievement of humankind, the nearest we get to a benevolent deity, a goddamn superhero. It is an imperfect manifestation of a beautiful ideal – free care based on need, free care for all, without judgement, without reservation.
However long this goes on for, they'll continue throwing resources at this individual and never show a single sheet of figures to any of his relatives. Not because they'll get anything back, but because this is what the NHS does. It’s free care for throat cancer sufferers who only gave up smoking four years afterwards, for drinkers who were told 35 years ago that if they didn’t quit drinking they’d die. Free care for American immigrants, for jerks and gents. Free care for parents whether they showed up or not. Free care for guys who tried to try. Free care for the only father I will ever have.
Jones argues that the predominant explanation of what causes heart attacks—obstructions in the coronary vessels that need to be cleared—is primarily to blame, because it leads to an erroneous emphasis on the highly visible plaques looming on angiogram screens. In fact, these plaques are not heart attacks-in-waiting; smaller, often invisible lesions in the heart vessels are now understood to cause most heart attacks. The problem isn’t so much that bypass surgery or angioplasty or stents aren’t working, Jones explains, but that in some cases, the interventions target the wrong lesions. “Instead of trying to stent every possible lesion, we need to realize that there are certain risks—small plaques—and that we cannot manage them all with stents or bypass. We need interventions, especially lifestyle changes or medications, that address the causes of atherosclerosis, and not just the largest plaques. And we need to accept that there are some large plaques that might not need intervention. What we really need to do, if we want to change the way we make decisions about these procedures, is to change both the culture among physicians and the culture among patients so that they accept a slight increase in risk tolerance.”
It appears from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) actuaries and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections that the rate of growth in health care spending has already slowed, in part because of the economy, but also because of provisions of the Affordable Care Act.5
These measures, and a variety of other factors, are already reducing projections of future health expenditures. The CMS actuaries recently projected health expenditures to increase by only one percentage point above GDP growth. They cite the shift to high deductibles in private insurance plans and the development of fewer blockbuster drugs, the adoption of tiered formulas, and greater use of generic drugs. But the actuaries also cite mandated reductions in Medicare fee-for-service rates, lower payments to Medicare Advantage plans, a shift of coverage from employer plans to Medicaid and health insurance exchanges, and the excise tax on high cost plan as reasons to expect lower health spending per capita.34
And this, children, is why libertarian laissez faire market solutions are a fantasy that only benefit the wealthy and do nothing to actually address the costs of health care.
Can I just ask, from my perch of not really understanding the clusterfuck that is the US medical industry, why isn't Medicare just expanded to cover everyone? Is it just the entrenched interests of the hospitals and insurance companies that prevent it?
After working briefly at a psychiatrist's office in a rust-belt town in the 1990s, I became convinced that at some point in the near future we'd all be working in the health care industry and all our income would go back to medical costs.
Slate is dum.
If Brill had concluded "Medicare!", Republicans would be able to dismiss the article as socialism mongering. Since he has presented a blue state friendly solution (which no he /doubt knows is inadequate), a cross-aisle discussion can be had.
If your aims are political then obviously you should refrain from saying something politically inexpedient.
Reportage loses its power when it becomes polemic. Most journos have EXTREMELY strong opinions which they manage to keep to themselves more or less, unless gonzo or Matt Taibbi.
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