Nearly a decade ago, the Russian River Times published an article on health care, which we have re-published below, in which we looked at the state of US health care using facts and analysis from The World Economic Forum, CRS Report to Congress ‘US Health Care Spending: Comparison with Other OEDC Countries’ and references from a 2005 article in ‘Health Affairs’ entitled ‘Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy’. Then Harvard Professor, now Senator Elizabeth Warren was one of the authors. Keep in mind that this article was written at the same time as the sub-prime mortgage debacle and the start of the ‘Great Recession of 2008’. Now, Congress is juggling something that impacts even more people and as much as 16.6% of Gross Domestic Product with little if any consideration of the facts and history, which we can look at thanks to the Kaiser Foundation. Medical Bankruptcies? Pre- Existing Conditions? Unrestrained insurance companies? What can possibly go wrong? Here’s the article.
Author: John Hulls
OH, CANADA: Medical bankruptcy affect 2 million people per year in US…in Canada… ZERO
Do health care and banking statistics describe our government? The World Economic Forum Competitive Report assesses the twelve critical factors influencing business, ranging from quality of government, education, infrastructure, and health to finance, including bank stability. The stability table lists Canada first, the U.S. in 40th place, tied with Lithuania, Botswana and, surprisingly, Germany. In life expectancy, Canada ranks 5th, while the US ranks 29th. Does this mean that there is a direct correlation between the quality of a country’s banking system and the quality of its citizen’s health care? Maybe, but consider the stats on education and other factors that improve the citizen well being and you find solid indications that a country that runs its banking, educational and financial systems in a stable manner to benefit its individual rather than corporate citizens is more likely to produce an effective health care plan that gives greater longevity and better health outcomes at lower cost.
Another major source of information on the health care issue is the Congressional Research Service 2007 report for Congress entitled ‘U.S. health-care costs: Comparisons with other OECD Countries.’ It is clear that participants at the recent ‘town hall’ meetings, (including some members of Congress) have not familiarized themselves with the information in this document, an impartial comparison of the current U.S. system. Most striking is Figure 1 on p.3, showing the relative spending of each country, and how much is public vs. private: 44.7% of health care costs in the U.S. are federally funded, vs. 69.8% in Canada. Figure 1 shows the huge percentage of costs associated with private payments in the United States. Figure 20, equally graphically shows why. The U.S. is second on health administration and insurance costs per capita at well over four times the OECD average of $104, and dwarfs the Canadian costs of $131.
Perhaps the anti-health-reform town hall participants can identify at which point the level of federal expenditures justifies scribbling Hitler mustaches on pictures of national leaders, or Grassley and his fellow Republicans could point out where 44.7% federal health funding (U.S.) and 69.8% (Canada), the whole thing breaks down and becomes socialism and Marxism. The problem is not Granny getting unplugged by the federal government but getting Moms and Dads and children getting plugged into good health care. The most telling statistic? People and their dependents forced into bankruptcy by medical costs.
Canada-0, Great Britain–0, Japan-0 France-0 (the list goes on)
United States- 2 million per year, including 700,000 children.
Want to know how well private insurance worked? 75% of the people filing bankruptcy had health insurance at the start of the illness that caused the bankruptcy. The Harvard Medical School article, published in Health Affairs cites the early Romans law allowing creditors to sell debtors piece by piece in the public market if they couldn’t pay their bills. Our government seems to have dropped this idea for Wall Street and the financial community, perhaps the cause of our lousy bank-stability rating, while keeping laws almost as harsh for its citizens struck by catastrophic illness.