According to the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., the United States spends more on health care than the next ten biggest spenders combined—Japan, Germany, France, China, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Australia and the U.K. In another study in 2011 by the consulting firm Milliman, the annual healthcare costs for an American family of four covered by a PPO is a whopping $19,393, and between 2002 and 2011 the average cost of their care doubled—60% of all personal bankruptcies is caused by medical bills. In short, our healthcare system is a mess, and if its present course is not abated, will suck the life out of the American economy.
Hospitals: Hospital costs are not regulated, they can charge as much as they wish. Journalist Steven Brill wrote an eleven-page article about the healthcare industry featured in Time Magazine called, Bitter Pill, and where much of the information in this article was gleaned. In it, he discovered hospitals have a price list called chargemaster, listing every item a patient comes in contact with. He writes,
WWWThese chargemaster rates are billed to uninsured patients who aren’t poor enough to qualify for the hospital’s financial assistance program, and don’t qualify for Medicaid. So these middle-class people are helping pay for the poor and elderly, allowing hospital executives to be paid some astounding salaries. Brill writes,
WWWThis year the American people will spend about $2.8 trillion on health care, projected to be $4.5 trillion by 2019; if the industry were a country it would be the sixth largest in the world. The industry has spent more than $5 billion on lobbying Washington politicians since 1998. It’s interesting to note that the ambulance industry makes more money each year than the movie industry.
WWWWe pay 50% more fro drugs than any other country for identical drugs, paying more than $280 billion, whereby if we paid the same as other countries we’d save about $94 billion. Steven Brill states,
Medical-Billing Advocates: This is an industry that helps patients understand their medical bills, not only clarifying the charges, but actually negotiate with the hospital to reduce those charges. Katalin Goencz, a former appeals coordinator for a hospital billing department now operates her own medical-billing advocacy business from her home in Stamford. She expresses,
WWWEven with their help many patients still overpay. With a 50% discount on a bill for a $200 test which should cost $15 is still ridiculous, yet an improvement. These cost are so grossly inflated, even when a bill is cut in half, hospitals make an obscene profit. If you’re facing an overwhelming hospital bill, your first action should be to find and hire one of these services. They do charge a fee.
WWWWith this amount of money being spent, it’s disconcerting to fathom that we have the highest infant mortality rate among the richest countries. and are 50th in life expectancy. A clue that this scheme will at some point, collapse.
WWWDevelop an Awareness of Your Health and Prevention: This is the part that’s at risk of becoming boring, as we’ve all heard the same old mantras about being healthy—eat your veggies and exercise. While we may be desensitized to this wisdom from sheer repitition, you may want to give it a second look in terms of keeping your immune system strong. After all, the object would be to keep the odds in your favor in avoiding hospitals. And, with a little awareness and effort, it is possible.
WWWThere are few things that you can consider that have a huge payback I’ve alredy written about, and with a click you can access those articles from here. They are,
In addition to above article, I’ve become aware of the work by Dr. Max Gerson who in 1938 seemed to have done astounding things through the use of using foods as medicine, yes, high-density nutrition through fresh vegetables. The two videos below outline the story featuring his daughter Charlotte Gerson. They will certainly impact your awareness of diet, not from a fanatical perspective, but from a perspective of reasonable modification.
- Muscle mass
A case could be made that the health care industry is not all that interested in preventative medicine, as their highly luctrative livelihood would be impacted directly. As Sydney J. Harris so eloquently states,
There is no way of proving your point to someone whose
income or position depends upon believing the contrary.
© Joe Arrigo