Another in the series on health care costs by Elizabeth Rosenthal in the New York Times—The Odd Math of Medical Tests.
Over use and over charge seem to be the watchwords of American healthcare. Why? read below.
Testing has become to the United States’ medical system what liquor is to the hospitality industry: a profit center with large and often arbitrary markups. From a medical perspective, blood work, tests and scans are tools to help physicians diagnose and monitor disease. But from a business perspective, they are opportunities to bring in revenue — especially because the equipment to perform them has generally become far cheaper, smaller and more highly mechanized in the past two decades.
Read the article for more details.
Medicynical note: There are interesting contrasts between the U.S. approach and the experience elsewhere in the article. The end result is that we pay much much more for the same services….that are done many many more time/unit of population. Our costs are double most other industrialized countries. Sustainable? No.
Why? In the U.S. there are no restraints on gouging the “system.” Everyone is in the business to make money for themselves and stockholders—its their “fiduciary” responsibility. Quality patient care and appropriate use of technology and medical care is really not their concern.