Tag: The Washington Post

What Is the Cause of Excess Costs in US Health Care? Take Two

We’ve discussed it before. Why are costs so much higher in US healthcare compared to other countries? The Washington Post has a pointless article which seems to answer with the tautology costs are high because healthcare in America costs more. How much more? Well, we spend nearly twice as much per capita as the next nearest country while failing to provide universal coverage.

In the WaPo article they make a big deal of the costs of individual procedures like MRI being over a thousand in the US compared to $280 in France, but this is a simplistic analysis, and I think it misses the point as most authors do when discussing this issue. The reason things costs more is because in order to subsidize the hidden costs of medical care, providers charge more for imaging and procedures. For instance, Atul Gawande, in his New Yorker piece “The Cost Conundrum” wonders why it is that costs are higher to treat the same conditions in rural areas and in a major academic centers like UCLA than at a highly specialized private hospitals like the Mayo Clinic? I think the reason is it’s not nearly as expensive to administer and provide care for a select group of insured midwesterners at the Mayo than it is to provide care to the underserved in the poor areas of inner-cities and in poor rural locations.

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The Oxymoron Columnist

MerrillCharles Krauthammer’s columns in the Washington Post are like the Wall Street Journal editorial page, must-reading for anyone who wants to keep up with the illogical fulminations and small-minded cruelties of what passes for intellectual discourse on the right. The intellectual bankruptcy of today’s offering shows not only why health care reform should pass, but why it will.

After scolding President Obama for continuing to push for reform despite “electoral rebukes” in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, he complains that the cost-savings in the bill are “ridiculously insignificant.” Dismissing the popular support of the insurance industry reforms that would protect most Americans from the worst predations of the health care insurance marketplace, he goes on to describe the 30 million Americans who would get health coverage as unworthy recipients of taxpayer largesse. The half trillion dollars in Medicare “cuts,” he writes, are “not to keep Medicare solvent but to pay for the ice cream, steak and flowers.”Continue reading…