America Lags Behind: Even with Medicare

Even with Medicare the U.S. lags behind other countries in healthcare access,  costs and quality.  This graph from the Commonwealth Fund survey of older adults says it all.

Among American seniors, 21 percent had out-of-pocket medical expenses that topped $2,000 and 11 percent had problems paying their medical bills. In Norway and Sweden, 1 percent had problems paying; in Germany, 3 percent.

“As good as Medicare is – it provides excellent coverage over all – it still isn’t as protective as the coverage people get in other countries,” Ms. Osborn said. Its deductibles and cost-sharing requirements still leave many Americans scrambling to afford drugs and doctors – which also cost more here.

Read the article for more.

Medicynical Note:  The basic premise of those involved in healthcare in the U.S. is different than in other countries.  Instead of assuring   value, quality and access, our system is devoted to assuring excessive financial returns to providers, insurers, drug companies and hospitals.  Protections are in place not to assure good quality affordable health care but rather to guarantee profits.

Some examples of this include congress forbidding the government from negotiating price of drugs purchased by Medicare part D; the generation long monopoly afforded new drugs without assuring reasonable pricing (one of the requirements of the Dole-Bayh law that is not enforced); the obscured price of services at medical facilities–insurers pay half of what an individual would pay for the same service.  It’s worse than buying a used car. And so on.

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