Friday, August 28, 2009

On the healthcare crisis

I looked it up the other day. The grand total for health care expenditures in the U.S. is $2.5 trillion annually. $2,500,000,000,000.00 That's 17.6 percent of our Gross Domestic Product. The highest of any nation.

They say 50 million people are without any insurance, but they still need, and get, health care.

So dividing the $2.5t number above by 300 million people in the U.S. you get $8,333.33 per person, insured, or not. Per capita if you prefer. The U.S. spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world.

As I sit here thinking about it, I'm struck by these figures. They seem way too high. Granted, you can easily spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep one terminally ill patient alive for two or three additional, miserable, painful years, as they did with my dad.

But still, eight grand a year for every man, woman and child? I'm lucky with my health - knock on wood - I haven't spent eight grand in my entire lifetime on healthcare.

I'm also struck, almost on a daily basis, by the fact that the carpetbaggers, the snake oil salesmen, the charlatans, the con artists, the flim flam men, the run-of-the-mill crooks and profiteers are all still out there amongst us. Many of them are even walking the halls of Congress.

When there is a pool of money that large, hordes of crooks are trying to figure out how to get at that money. They are trying to figure out how to get at that money without trying to provide any service whatsoever. They are trying to figure out how to provide minimal and limited services. They have figured out how to exclude pre-existing conditions and have come up with other limitations to coverage.

They are trying to figure out, and have figured out (in some cases) how to grow their profits to windfall proportions.

My point is that there is bleeding. The system is bleeding. It has to be. There is too much money at stake. Too much profit to be had.

Until we fix the bleeding, all efforts to reform the system will be in vain.


Anonymous said...

So, are you for keeping the money going to the health insurance executives pockets,mansions and lavish lifestyles, or you think it is time for health care to stop being a for profit business where profits equals no care?

Alex said...

Profit = Arterial Dark Red Blood

Even if profits mean diminished care. Salaried docs and the whole system not-for-profit and eliminate all the skimming/bleeding.