The True Reasons Why Medical Costs Are So High

While it’s easy to see some of these problems from a logical perspective, it’s very hard to actually fix them.

Source: The True Reasons Why Medical Costs Are So High

The Insurance Dilemma

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Over time, health insurance became popularly provided by employers in the United States and unions fought hard to make insurance available to all full-time workers.

While on the surface, this may seem like a good thing — after all, why should only some people be insured? — it led to a problematic pricing environment. Doctors and healthcare organizations would be inclined to charge more for services when they knew insurance was going to be billed; it didn’t add more financial strain to patients but generated more revenue. In turn, insurance companies caught on and imposed policies that stated they wouldn’t pay more than standard prices paid by uninsured patients.

In effect, this led to a constant push to move prices higher; insured patients barely noticed, since they weren’t the ones footing the bill, but uninsured patients began having to pay more and more for their services.

Lack of Price Transparency and Competition

The lack of price transparency and lack of competition means that organizations in the healthcare industry aren’t incentivized to offer lower prices to consumers.

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The Doctor Shortage and Costs of Professional Services

Administrative Waste

 

COVID Bed Check

(Steven Hayward) California has passed the 25,000 mark for COVID deaths: LOS ANGELES (AP) — California surpassed 25,000 coronavirus deaths since the start of the pandemic and officials disclosed Thursday that three more cases involving a mutant variant of the virus have been confirmed in San Diego County.

I don’t doubt that hospitals are badly strained at the moment. But is this really unprecedented? Check out this Los Angeles Times story from January 2018:

California hospitals face a ‘war zone’ of flu patients — and are setting up tents to treat them

Or have a look at the situation in Britain over the last decade, as compiled from Guardian headlines:

Source: COVID Bed Check

Why does the US spend so much on health care? My long-read Q&A with Amitabh Chandra

President-elect Biden will likely enter office with an interest in improving Obamacare at the margin, perhaps by adding a public option. On his left, progressive activists insist on pushing Medicare for All. On his right, the Republican Party seems to lack any coherent health care plan at all.

Source: Why does the US spend so much on health care? My long-read Q&A with Amitabh Chandra

Safe and Effective

(Don Boudreaux) Tweet I’m sure that someone must have already posed this question, but, if so, I’ve not yet seen it: Why do not the Covid-19 lockdowns and other nonpharmaceutical interventions have to meet the same strict standard in the United States that the FDA requires new drugs and medical devices to meet?

Source: Safe and Effective

I think the question has been posed, just not in those exact words.

The Great Forgetting: How to Stop Tooth Decay

What if I told you that a cheap, effective and painless method of stopping tooth decay had just been invented! You’d be pretty happy. What if I told you that a cheap, effective and painless method of stopping tooth decay was invented over 100 years ago and has been available in other countries for decades but only now is it starting to be used in the United States as a non-FDA approved, off-label treatment?

Studies show silver diamine fluoride stops decay in 60 to 70 percent of cases with one application. A second application six months later boosts the treatment’s long-term effectiveness to more than 90 percent.

In addition to killing cavity-causing bacteria, the treatment hardens tooth structure, desensitizes the tooth and even stops new cavities from forming. Applying the liquid on the exposed root surfaces of older adults once a year is “a simple, inexpensive, and effective way” to prevent cavities, a 2018 study concluded.

Source: The Great Forgetting: How to Stop Tooth Decay