Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Low hanging fruit

Have I remembered to say, "We need universal, comprehensive, single payer national health care" lately? Maybe not. So there, I just said it.

Yesterday I covered the exciting news that a lot of the money we spend on health care is wasted on harmful, useless, or non-cost effective procedures. Yeah I know, you're just astonished. But before we even worry about doctors actually doing stuff to us, physician practices in the U.S. spend $82,975 per physician year just hassling with payers. In Canada, they spend about one quarter as much interacting with the single payer. If we had single payer health care in the U.S., we'd save $27.6 billion dollars a year just on administrative costs for physician practices. Hey, it's fine with me if the doctors want to split it with us.

Listen folks, we know how to fix this problem. We know. Let's stop settling for all this tinkering around the edges and policy wonkery and playing defense. Say it loud, I'm single payer and I'm proud!

We need universal, comprehensive, single payer national health care. Say it, every time the subject of health care policy comes up. Just keep saying it. It's the truth.

6 comments:

robin andrea said...

I say it almost everyday. Maybe I need to say it louder!

Anonymous said...

That report is a real shocker. I find the Ontario numbers high as well.. but don’t know of a good study that reports the same kinds of figures for CH. It is also too high, that is for sure. Generally, here we say that admin. costs don’t go over 5% (of total costs, but all that is very vague, and not comparable to the nos. quoted) and that the admin part would be unchanged by having ‘universal health care’ as opposed to ‘very tightly regulated private insurers’. (Other debate.)

Admin costs have been bought down A LOT by ‘national health tariffs’ (centralization, etc.) but mostly by using computers, the internet.

In the US, all the paper pushers needed provide employment, acceptable employment, and that explains the ballooning, or steady, inexorable rise, in terms of jobs of the health care industry.

It is an odd way to carry out re-distribution as the people on the hook, those who pay for others, are the patients - the sick and weak, way down in second place, the tax payer, third, employer (who should pay nothing imho.)

Here, we prefer ppl be trained to make watches (which carry a huge mark-up) than to push useless paper around. That is not snotty, it just means that the profit motive can be articulated differently.

Ana

kathy a. said...

wouldn't it be something to take that excess overhead now devoted to hassling with payers and devote it to caring for everyone? to take corporate profits out of the picture, or at least notch them down to a level well below the need for quality, effective patient care?

Anonymous said...

Yes that would be wonderful.

But that is not how the system works, or rather how the ppl who run it think it works.

Private insurers protect their skim off the top (which is enormous) and if that takes a lot of useless admin staff, they don’t realise or don’t care, for several reasons, a) they only pay for some of it, the major part is paid by others - doctors, taxpayers, the insured, patients, etc. b) the more employees they have dependent on them, the more they have a kind of ‘empire’, the more important they become, and the more the State supports them, for employment and other reasons, c) the more confusion reigns the better it is, for profits and power both, d) being larger, if less efficient, gives entry to all kinds of other markets and deals (computers, pharma, investment in hospitals and their control, even real estate, etc.)

What is actually paid out to patients for Med care is considered a loss, all the rest is potentially profit or an investment for the future.

That is a general not specific snapshot..

Ana

Anonymous said...

If we have a single payer system, where will all the Canadians go to get their healthcare? Seriously Bart, I know your career depends on pushing this agenda, but anyone with half a brain can see that it doesn't work. Look at the "quality" of care in any single payer system. I'll take our current system, problems and all, over single payer any day of the week.

xl pharmacy said...

This is perfect because I think the m0st important thing is health care, and what i'VE GOTTEN in here is all what I wanted to know.