Posted by Bill Sandweg on 13 January 2020.
If you live in the United States, chances are you pay more for your health care and medications than anyone else in the world. This would be bad enough if we were getting the best health care in the world but we are not. We are just getting fleeced by the health care industry and the health insurance companies.
Every couple of years, the International Federation of Health Plans looks at the prices private insurance companies pay for common medical procedures in various countries in the world. They then report on their findings. The most recent report covers costs in 2015. Here is a link to a New York Times story on the report and on health care costs in the United States in general.
The chief takeaway is that, no matter what the procedure, it almost always costs the most in the United States. Not only are we almost always the most expensive, we are the most expensive by a long way. The reasons for this disparity are many but there is a common theme: the health care industry is rich and powerful and our politicians are unwilling/afraid to do anything to reduce their profits. When I talk about the health care industry, I am talking about doctors, hospitals and big pharma. They and the many companies that supply them are responsible for our excessive prices.
As disappointing as these figures are, they are even worse than they seem as the study focuses on prices paid by private insurance companies only. In those countries in which there is government insurance or in which the government provides health care, the disparity between what we pay and what the rest of the world pays is even greater.
The comparisons are even more dismal when you take into account the fact that, unlike the rest of the developed world, we in the United States have a large number of people with either no health insurance or bad insurance with high deductibles and large co-pays. This means that many of our citizens are stuck with directly paying the excessive charges imposed by our health care industry.
Don’t get to comfortable if you have insurance and think this isn’t really your problem. It is. The excessive charges imposed by our health care industry drive up the cost of health insurance for everyone. It is a fact that across the board, insureds are being asked to bear an increasing portion of the cost of health care either in the form of being required to pay a larger portion of the premium or in the form of increased deductibles and co-pays or both.
I have said this over and over: This is the richest country in the world. No one living here should die because they cannot afford health care. As hard as it will be, it is time to replace our current legislators and representatives in Washington with men and women who will pass the laws necessary to make health care affordable and available to all citizens. Vote early and vote often.