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Curbing Health Care Costs- Round 2

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, May 11, 2009 11:17 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Health Care Reform, President Obama, Medicare, Insurance Industry, Uninsured

Health care reform this time around involves all of the players agreeing for the meantime, to reduce costs.

Health Care Reform

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   IMAGE SOURCE: iStockphoto/ sick money/ author: Elnur

 

The only agreement in recent years has been that health care costs cannot continue to rise. 

Curbing costs is a top priority of the Obama administration and a wide range of players plan meetings at the White House today to show they are onboard with a plan to trim $2 trillion from the U.S. health care system over the next 10 years. 

That would save the average family $2,500 per year in the fifth year, reports the New York Times. 

The American Medical Association, insurance industry, hospital, drug and device industries are expected to pledge to slow growth of the unsustainable industries by 1.5 points per year over the next 10 years.  

What is unusual is those groups, which are often in opposition such as doctors and insurers, are onboard with major health reform, unlike what happened with Hillary Clinton at the helm in the 1990s.

Expect efficiency to be the key word.  Efficiency in reducing administrative costs by making payment systems more efficient is one idea. 

Expect details to emerge in the coming weeks.

Congress is expected to release information on a public health insurance program which would be in direct competition with private ones, something the industry opposes.  

The plan could be modeled after Medicare or similar to state health insurance plans offered to employees.   

Health care reform was a top issue for Americans last November, as 47 million Americans are reported to be without health insurance because of the cost and job loss.   

IB Honolulu, Wayne Parsons reports that health care costs are rising, but medical malpractice litigation has nothing to do with it. According to the Congressional Budget Office, medical malpractice amounted to less than 2 percent of overall health care spending. "Limiting Tort Liability for Medical Malpractice," Congressional Budget Office.

Who Does Health Care Better?

Most everyone else, says a recent poll which looked at industrialized countries who deliver more health care at a lower cost that in the US.

Back in July, research showed that Americans are the least satisfied with their health care system while the Dutch system is rated the best.  

The poll about health care was conducted by Harris Interactive was conducted in 10 developed countries.  What it found:

  • One-third of Americans say their system needs to be completely overhauled.
  • 50 percent say fundamental changes need to be made
  • In the Netherlands –where health care is financed by mandatory health insurance –9 percent say their system needs a complete overhaul while 42 percent say it works well and needs minor changes.

Frances’ health system which relies on compulsory national insurance was ranked best in the world in 2000 by WHO. 

Britain relies on the world’s largest publicly funded system, was in 18th place. 

"Given that all countries other than the U.S. have universal health care systems in place, this may invite questions on why the U.S. remains the only wealthy, industrialized country without such a system," Harris president George Terhanian told Reuters. 

The U.S. spends $2 trillion on health care every year which represents 16 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and costs are rising seven percent annually.

Even if health care can be reduced by 1.5 percentage points annually, it would still represent 18 percent of the GDP by the year 2019. #


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