Neal Boortz points out, from the Pacific Research Institute:
The results are clear: Since 1970 -- even without the prescription drug benefit -- Medicare's costs have risen 34% more, per patient, than the combined costs of all health care in America apart from Medicare and Medicaid, the vast majority of which is purchased through the private sector.
Since 1970, the per-patient costs of all health care apart from Medicare and Medicaid have risen from $364 to $7,119, while Medicare's per-patient costs have risen from $368 to $9,634. Medicare's costs have risen $2,511 more per patient.
For another point of view, here's a dispatch from the trenches--one doctor's experience with Medicare (via Maggie's Farm):
As a practicing internist, I've been dealing with two government insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid, for more than two decades. Over the years, I've seen the government shrink reimbursements under first Medicaid and then Medicare -- to the point that, in 2005, I finally decided that I couldn't stay in business unless I stopped taking Medicaid patients, and saw no more than a few Medicare patients each day.
It was costing me more to file the Medicaid paperwork than I got back from the government. I now either charge Medicaid patients a few dollars, or just see them for free....
Read the whole thing. Predictably, the liberal's practical response is to chastise the doctors for being greedy. Yeah, that'll work. Maybe they can shame millions of people into changing self-interested and self-protective human behavior if they can't coerce them by boxing them into having no other choices.
I still say Congress and Obama should fix Medicare first --and fix the VA healthcare system and the reservations Indians' health programs first-- since those government-run health care programs are already causing the most immediate problems for the patients forced to use them and for the health care providers struggling within their constraints, and it is the government programs that are causing the biggest drain on the public coffers and the private health care industry.
In other words, the Federal government has already had carte blanche in screwing up large portions of our health care delivery system for many, many years, with evidently no accountability for lack of success and no fiscal restraint. First let Congress and the President try fixing these messes before they have our permission to screw up the entire health care system and health research industry by enacting more of the same. All in the spurious name of helping (what is in reality a small minority of) citizens!
Heh: I kid you. There is no way the Federal government can fix any of this mess it has created. Because the legislators and pundits and politicians in Washington don't understand health care and never will. They will never be able to run a centralized market of any kind, without killing it off and making things hellish and Sovietized for everyone. All of their economic "reforms" are doomed to failure, as they always have been.
The only hope our country has is to keep the government bureaucracy contained and out of all marketplaces as much as possible. Set free the Invisible Hand working for the common good. Let the people be free to innovate and work legally in and for their own interests.
It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense... They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book II, Chapter III
UPDATE: Think we'll hear any of these kinds of comments on ABC's infomercial for Obama's healthcare plans? Nyet--not coming from inside the ABC facilities, anyway. Outside is a different matter.
UPDATE: What we'll lose if Obamacare becomes a reality:
The main reason Americans spend more on medical care is not about life expectancy - it's about two simple things: quality of life, and the trial lawyers.(American life expectancy stats are also pulled down by the numbers of premies and babies with terrible abnormalities we attempt to save.)First, in how many countries can you get a shoulder repair or a new knee or hip in a week? Annual screening colonoscopies and mammographies? Guys with advanced ALS on home ventilators? And how many countries generate the new treatments that the US does? (We do 90% of them. For a recent dramatic example, see this via Insty.) We all wear out and die, but there aren't many countries where my 83 year-old Mom would be playing tennis with her new shoulder, hips and knee, her synthetic mitral heart valve, her pacemaker, her cataract surgeries and her hormone replacement. She calls herself The Bionic Mom. She is willing to die, but while she is alive she wants to live: play tennis, work in her gardens, go to the ballet, sit on her volunteer boards, cook for my Dad, and go to Europe every August. What is that worth in $ terms? Of course they are on Medicare, but they would gladly buy private insurance instead.
Re the trial lawyers, where else in the world do you get a $7000 work-up if you walk into the ER with a migraine headache? Where else in the world do obstetricians pay $350,000/year in malpractice insurance because the law permits suits for bad results, not just practice errors (like amputating the wrong leg)?
If something needs fixing, it's the latter, not the former.
UPDATE: The VA health care system is still not fixed.
Labels: nationalized health care