That Great Sucking Sound

It’s quite remarkable that anyone would oppose reforming our health care system. It’s not the “best in the world” by any measure but is the most expensive.

Atlanta’s large employers watched the per-employee cost of health insurance go up by 140 percent during the past decade, from $3,877 in 2001 to a projected $9,316 for 2011, AJC staffer Carrie Teegardin reports.> Atlanta Journal Constitution

The market analysis firm Standard & Poor’s released new figures on health care costs last month, and the results are disturbing, if unsurprising. The numbers show that from August 2009 to August 2010 the average, per capita cost of health care services rose 7.32 percent. During that same period, overall inflation rose a mere 1.1 percent. Press Enterprise


Purchases increased 0.2 percent, the smallest gain in the third quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Incomes fell 0.1 percent, the first drop since July 2009, and the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation stagnated, capping the smallest 12-month gain in nine years. Bloomberg

Medicynical Note: Its simple arithmetic and it’s been going on for many years. Incomes are not increasing at the rate of increase in health care costs. That sucking sound is health care removing discretionary expenditures from the economy.

We are in a crisis of expectations. The sick expect everything possible to be done, no matter the cost, whether or not they have insurance. Physicians and other providers expect healthy incomes–we’re number one in the world in this.

Hospitals expect continuing income to support their extravagant overhead. They compete for patients by the grandeur of their building and the beauty of their public spaces. Pricing is not competitive and obscured. Outcomes are not understandable or easily accessible.

Insurers are in a cost plus situation and pass through increases, keeping their  excessive  20% margin to fuel profits and executive income.

Pharmaceutical companies and other technology suppliers to the health care industrial complex expect increasing profits each year and generation long patent protection. Pricing of advances does not reflect the benefit of an innovation but rather the desperateness of the patient.

Value?  Quality?  Not our department

Fasten your seatbelts. Regardless of the election outcome the system is about to crash.

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