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INDUSTRY: Who’s making money off the health care crisis?

IN an article called Who’s making money off the health care crisis? Amy Fletcher at the Denver Business Journal reminds us that “health care costs = health care incomes.”

Meanwhile I was called by a journalist from Scientific American , no less, early this morning who wanted a commentary on David Cutler’s soon to be published piece in the NEJM (apparently out this week) in which he confirms his findings that American health care is worthwhile and cost-effective if you value the life of every American — including those over 65 — at over $100,000 a year. How he squares that with an average national income per capita in the $20Ks is a mystery that you have to be a tenured Harvard economics professor to understand. Surely more on that to come. But you might want to check the letters page of the NY Times for more people calling bullshit on that shocking Gina Kolata article from last week which said that we can keep wasting money on health care because, well, we’re rich, bitch!

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  1. New statistics recently released states that there are now 46.6 million Americans who do not have health insurance. These are not just people who live below the poverty line, many people are denied coverage because a pre-existing condition makes them a bad risk. In states where health insurance can’t be denied by law, the insurance carriers raise the rates to where it is simply not affordable. Many people can make a decent living and still find coverage unaffordable (I know several).
    The President has been pushing Consumer Driven Health Care and HSAs, however these are tied to a high deductible health plan managed by a health insurance carrier, hmmm.
    There is another alternative that seems to get no press or respect for that matter, that can help make health care more affordable for many of the 46+ million. There are several Discount Health Benefit providers that for a very low premium offers people access to thier network of providers where they can receive substantial savings on needed health care services. The most notable of these companies is AmeriPlan USA which has a growing network of over 400,000 providers and savings on services of anywhere from 20% to 80% on these services. True, you pay a discounted fee at the time of service, but the savings can be substantial. To someone who has a choice of either not going to the doctor or, paying 100% out of pocket or, saving up to 80% this is a viable alternative, which is why AmeriPlan has over 1.5 million customers and growing. I strongly feel that allowing people who fall into this category to open an HSA would add an even greater benefit. They and the companies they work for could add to the account allowing them to put money aside for their treatment. Think the insurance companies would stand still for that? I don’t.
    No, this isn’t the perfect solution, I don’t think there is one however, it is a very viable, affordable solution for many individuals, families and small business owners. So, how about alittle equal press.

  2. pgbMD,
    I think you meant JCAHO. JCAHO is a quality/policy/safety/care delivery/etc/etc/ accreditation body that is VOLUNTARY (shoved onto healthcare?). How does having an outside auditor, with no other purpose but better patient care, add to the costs of this health delivery system? I’m glad they’re out there and patients would suffer if they weren’t.

  3. I see alot of waste with the middelmen, device/technology dealers, ancillary/unnecessary jobs (ie safety officer). Alot of these jobs are required with all the government/JHACO rules that have been shoved onto healthcare over the last 15 years. I wounder how much $ can be saved if we cut all the fat.

  4. From the U.S. Census August 06 Report:
    “Real median household income in the United States rose by 1.1 percent between 2004 and 2005, reaching $46,326”
    Good News – Right?
    “Nationally, 2005 marked the first year since 1999 in which real median household income showed an annual increase.”
    Oops – Bad news. How much has healthcare risen since 1999? Mine went up an average of 10% annually, compounded.
    “Meanwhile, the nation’s official poverty rate remained statistically unchanged at 12.6 percent.”
    Those tax cuts just don’t seem to, “trickle down” do they.
    “The percentage of people without health insurance coverage rose from 15.6 percent to 15.9 percent (46.6 million people).”
    Guess who’s not making money off healthcare?

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