A foolish reason we overspend on healthcare; A commentary from The Motley Fool
There have been quite a few articles lately on why we spend so much money on healthcare, yet, the largest expenditure of healthcare dollars at the end of our lives makes little difference in how long most of us live. The definition of “Medical Necessity” is “activities which may be justified as reasonable, necessary, and/or appropriate, based on evidence-based clinical standards of care.” We also consider this as care that is curative or care that is helpful.
Motley Fool is a financial advisor newsletter that is well researched and well read. In their opinion, they cite statistics that suggest the USA is not one of the best places to end our lives, especially because of the cost and over reach of the medical profession by recommending care that is neither curative or helpful. A newer model seems to be emerging that includes palliative (symptomatic management) rather than the expense of procedures that in a persons later years can be quite risky and often results in an outcome that is the same (death from old age) or unimaginable suffering that affects the family, the loved one and comes at a great cost to the systems that pay for that care.
Detractors of other systems love to point out the fact that countries such as Great Britain and Canada have waiting times and rationing of care, which is in place for a reason; the outcomes are better because often while waiting patients improve and may not require the procedure at all. This is something we discovered during the recession as people with high deductibles put off medical procedures, only to find out their life threatening problems wasn’t.
Check out their thoughtful essay here
Why Does the U.S. Overspend on Health Care? One Simple Reason
by Rich Smith Oct 19th 2013 6:00AM
Fact: Despite all the advances in medical technology over the past century, during which the average life expectancy of Americans has grown by 30 years, 100 percent of Americans will still eventually die. But don’t try to tell that to a sick person with a flush bank account.
According to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spends more money on health care per capita than any other nation on Earth — nearly $7,300 per citizen in 2007 (the latest for which firm figures are available), of which nearly half was financed by tax dollars through programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. That’s 87 percent more than Canada paid to give its citizens universal health care that year, and more than three times the expenditures in the United Kingdom.
And it gets worse. With an estimated $2.8 trillion expected to be spent on health care in the U.S. this year, we’re on track to spend $8,920 per capita in 2013, a figure that could pass $14,000 per capita if health care spending rises to the expected $4.5 trillion in 2019.
Granted, much of this increase is a direct effect of baby boomers aging, and moving en masse onto the Medicare rolls. And, as a matter of fact, that’s the crux of the problem: age.
It’s No Fun Getting Older…
According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in 2009, 5 percent of Americans accounted for nearly 50 percent of health ncare spending in America. Breaking down the numbers even further, just 1 percent of Americans — many, but not all of whom are elderly — spent 20 percent of our health care dollars.