Posts Tagged ‘finance’
Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences
When a patient arrives at Bayonne Hospital Center in New Jersey requiring treatment for the respiratory ailment known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she faces an official price tag of $99,690.
Less than 30 miles away in the Bronx, N.Y., the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center charges only $7,044 for the same treatment, according to a massive federal database of national health care costs made public on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
I post this new video because of the direct relationships between:
- Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
- The widening wealth gaps and poverty,
- Poverty and obesity,
- Obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
- Chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
- Rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.
Wealth Inequality in America
In his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)
His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.
MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »
According to AARP, 43.5 million Americans are caregivers, and although they do it out of love and obligation, caring for a loved one takes a personal and financial toll.
The economic impact is surprisingly high. It was over $480B/year in 2009, a figure that includes lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009). It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending. And it’s nearly as much as the $509B in 2009 Medicare spending. It’s also more than half of what we spend on defense. The burden is even worse for long-distance caregivers.
The infographic below details caregiving in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »
According to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Thirty cents of every dollar spent on U.S. health care – a total of $750 billion – was wasted in 2009 on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud and other problems.”
Read the PBS report.
There are many ways to portray healthcare inefficiencies. One way is to ridicule the industry by reflecting its waste onto other industries, as listed below. Another is to explore what the $750 billion in wasted money could buy, as Allison McCartney did in her infographic (below). We could also examine what’s possible if healthcare were to adopt best practices from other industries, including the computer industry.
As seniors age, they may need help with daily tasks. Helping them decide on appropriate living arrangements is critical to staying safe and healthy. Investing in home modifications and some sort of medical alert system is a cost effective way for seniors to feel safe and secure while living an independent lifestyle, as this infographic suggests. Read the rest of this entry »
The Waiting Room is like a punch to the gut for people cast off and left out of our U.S. medical care system, what some call the best in the world. When Democrats and Republicans vie for your votes and debate healthcare reform, remember that these are not the people they are talking about. Most don’t even notice the plight of those at the bottom — this ugly underside. But our politicians, and the billionaires who set their agenda, should be made to watch this documentary, because these are the 47 percent they talk about — the people left out of the American Dream. They’re real people.
This character-driven documentary film uses unprecedented access to go behind the doors of Oakland’s Highland Hospital, a safety-net hospital fighting for survival while weathering the storm of a persistent economic downturn. Stretched to the breaking point, Highland is the primary care facility for 250,000 patients of nearly every nationality, race, and religion, with 250 patients – most of them uninsured – crowding its emergency room every day. Using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover, the film offers a raw, intimate, and often uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers cope with disease, bureaucracy, frustration, hope and hard choices during one typically hectic day.
The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and uninsured small business owners. Steel workers, cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. (movie trailer follows)
Money, Politics and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy
By Mark Hyman, MD, practicing physician (original on Huffington Post)
“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.” –Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses
Money in politics is making our nation sicker, threatening our national security, and ultimately destroying the very economic prosperity the “money in politics” seeks to achieve. It is undermining our capacity to care for our citizens and threatening our global economic competitiveness in invisible, insidious ways. The links, connections and patterns that promote obesity and chronic disease are clear, though. The economic and social impacts are evident. As health care consumes an increasingly large percentage of our federal budget, the negative impacts of money in politics have become too alarming too ignore, and never more obvious than in this election cycle of 2012.
Roberts Saves Obamacare: Now the Real Work of Reform Begins
By Arianna Huffington
The narrow survival of the Affordable Care Act last week was certainly cause for celebration. But as the jubilation subsides, it’s important to realize that having avoided what would have been a giant step backward doesn’t mean we’ve taken a giant step forward. Because the law as it now stands is only the first step toward health care reform.
On Sunday’s This Week, Vicki Kennedy (Ted Kennedy’s widow) spoke movingly of how “health care reform was the cause” of her husband’s life. “He believed that it was a moral issue,” she said, “that it defined the character of who we were as a society, who we were as a country, and that decent, quality, affordable health care should be a fundamental right and not a privilege.” She went on to say, “Families can go to sleep relaxed and happy knowing that their children who have asthma or diabetes or allergies are covered by insurance and aren’t barred because they have a pre-existing condition.” Read the rest of this entry »
The following infographic shows that a typical 22 year old worker and his employer can expect to pay over $4,000,000 in his lifetime for healthcare and health insurance. That number seemed awfully high, so I created a spreadsheet model to see if I could match it. I did, and here are my assumptions.
- Starting salary at age 22 = $53,000 ($870,000/year by age 70)
- Annual salary increase = 6% compounded
- Percent of income for healthcare = 18%, increasing by 0.3% per year
I assumed a modest salary that increased at 6% compounded each year, but that’s a simplistic view since raises are larger earlier in a career and generally taper off (or even go negative) as you get older. I calculated to age 70 to account for longer lifespans and the likelihood that young people will continue working that long by then.