Thursday, August 16, 2018

Article: "How health care killed my father"

Long, but good article from the Atlantic documenting the problems in an industry where consumers purchase care largely using "other peoples' money."

The average insured American and the average uninsured American spend very similar amounts of their own money on health care each year—$654 and $583, respectively. But they spend wildly different amounts of other people’s money—$3,809 and $1,103, respectively.

The author's solution (a Democrat), make consumers spend their own money, e.g., with $50,000 deductibles for insurance:

I believe if the government took on the goal of better supporting consumers—by bringing greater transparency and competition to the health-care industry, and by directly subsidizing those who can’t afford care—we’d find that consumers could buy much more of their care directly than we might initially think, and that over time we’d see better care and better service, at lower cost, as a result.

4 comments:

  1. The analogy of buying gas for your car and expecting your auto-insurance to cover part of the bill - growing up only knowing insurance and their coverage of portions of my medical expenses - I didn't think of it in those terms. As someone with a pre-existing condition (cancer), changes ushered in with the affordable care act were a safety net I didn't think I could live without. But if we changed the way we think about insurance, and move towards the HSA plans - it could drive medical facilities to be more competitive and perhaps bring some medical costs down. Getting the bill for $250k in radiation, had it been completely mine to fund, could have been devastating - but the article offers solutions to catastrophic care insurance which could eliminate worry for patients that do have illnesses that require costly care.

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  2. I worked for a healthcare data company for a while, and the stats tell a story of a retailer with 50,000 employees and 85% of their healthcare spend goes to 8 employees.

    If healthcare had a maximum limit, the majority of costs would vanish with a very small portion of the population affected.

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