You Really Are Paying a lot More For Health Care

Julie Rovner posted this article on the NPR Health blog, but she didn’t include my reader comments, so I’m summarizing key points here and adding my comments afterwards.

  • The good news – Health costs rose 7.3% last year, which was the slowest rate in more than a decade but still nearly 5 times faster than the Consumer Price Index.
  • The bad news – Since 2002, the annual health care cost for American families has more than doubled from about $9,000 to over $19,000.

So what’s driving the increases? It’s not Obama Care, the new federal health law.

The author sites increased outpatient care and higher hospital care, followed by physician care, drug costs, and other types of care. I responded with this personal account:

In pursuit of perfection

Technology & Home Healthcare can help, which is why I founded, but there’s a bigger problem I noticed with the birth of our first granddaughter. She’s looks great but has been in PD-ICU at Texas Children’s in Houston for the past 10 days. It’s the best research and teaching hospital in the world. She’s finally leaving the hospital today after batteries of tests from at least 10 different specialists, all trying to make sure the smallest “potential” problem was covered.

I was happy for the great care but wondered why so many tests and felt it might be related to (1) CYA protection against lawsuits, (2) a learning experience for physicians and staff, or (3) a way for the hospital and everyone else involved to profit – big time.

My nurse wife estimates the cost at well over $100K, almost all of which will be covered by insurance. If it weren’t for insurance, or if it were 25 years ago, the baby would likely have come home the next day. She looked fine all along, IMHO, but as long as someone else is paying, I guess it’s OK to make sure everything’s perfect.