Health Care Reform Needed – yesterday, today and tomorrow

Filed in Gather Health Essential by on November 18, 2011 0 Comments



Health Care Reform Needed


yesterday, today and tomorrow




Health Care Reform Needed – yesterday, today and tomorrow


Let us not kid ourselves – medical costs are rapidly taking the biggest chunk of cost of living changes in our lives. It is time to admit American Health Care needs to be totally revamped to meet the needs of society. It is time to look at how other highly developed countries handle health care.


It is unarguable that health care costs in America have been rising to the point of being out of control. When looked at as a percentage of GDP, cost per capita, or total spending, the amount that the U.S. is spending on health care each year is increasing far faster than the rate of inflation. What is less obvious, however, is the cause of these cost increases.


If we are to “fix” the health care cost problem, it cannot be a simple restructuring of goods and services offered, nor can it be a solution only involving refinancing. These solutions would be stop-gap measures that would not truly address the root of the problem: America’s tendency to want the newest, shiniest thing. In what has been dubbed the “technological benefit of the doubt,”


Americans have a propensity to trust new, and often expensive, technologies, regardless of actual increases in effectiveness in treating a disease.


To decrease costs, we would have to truly reevaluate the way Americans perceive medical care. “Thoroughness” would need to have a new meaning, one that does not include utilizing every available technology, but only those technologies whose costs are justified by the expected clinical benefit. A cultural revolution, which is undoubtedly much more difficult to achieve than one purely economic, would need to come about before America truly accepted any radical changes to the healthcare it obtains.

We need change and we need it now. This will mean gives and takes from all vested sides: patients, doctors, therapist, nurses. paramedics, hospitals, pharmacies, drug companies, insurance companies.


Private insurance will always be available to those who can afford it.


But guess what?


Less and less of us are able to afford it.






Employer health costs to rise in 2011

Employers can expect to pay nearly 9 percent more for health care costs for their workers in 2011, the highest level in five years, according to a forecast released on Monday.

And employers will likely ask their workers to 12 percent more of these costs out of their pockets, according to the report from consulting group Hewitt Associates.

The Hewitt report blames higher mostly on medical claim costs and an aging population but also on U.S. healthcare reform, which has become one of the most politically charged issues in the coming November congressional elections as disappointed voters learn they must wait for promised savings to come into effect.

The report projects …..
“Employer health costs to rise in 2011″
Rueters article at







Employer health insurance premiums increased 50 percent in every state from 2003 to 2010
November 17th, 2011 in Health

Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased by 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, and the annual amount that employees pay toward their insurance increased by 63 percent as businesses required employees to contribute a greater share, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report that examines state trends in health insurance costs. The report finds that health insurance costs are outpacing income growth in every state in the country. At the same time, premiums are buying less protective coverage: per-person deductibles doubled for employees working for large as well as small firms over the same time period.

According to the report, State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2010: The Need for Action to Address Rising Costs, by 2010, 62 percent of the U.S. population lived in a state where health insurance premiums equaled 20 percent or more of earnings for a middle-income individual under age 65. Today there are virtually no states where premiums are relatively low compared to income. In 2003, there were 13 states where annual premiums constituted less than 14 percent of the median (middle) income; by 2010, there were none.
An interactive map with premiums in each state is available at:

Complete article at:
“Employer health insurance premiums increased 50 percent in every state from 2003 to 2010.” November 17th, 2011.


 Health Care Costs chart

Total = $2.3 Trillion
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group.




8 main drivers of healthcare costs:

1. Patients with insurance who consider medical care a “freebie” with no cost consequences.

2. Physicians who neither practice evidence-based medicine nor include costs in their decisions.

3. The absence of realistic cost transparency.

4. Decisions driven by the pervasive mystique of “defensive medicine,” which now dictates hugely expensive (and lucrative) “defensive practice standards.”

5. Hospitals that want to fill beds, especially ICU beds, and aggressively market the newest and most expensive technology, beautifully performing tests, and treatments that patients often do not need.

6. Insurance companies that primarily care about making money for their owners and senior executives.

7. Drug companies that successfully push use of their most expensive drugs.

8. The extraordinary success of “American Marketing” as a dominant cultural behavior.



I would add a 9th one or addition to Insurance: Insurance Companies that dictate medical care by ‘formularies”.


About the Author ()

I was born in Wisconsin, raised in Michigan and now live in California. After I graduated from Troy High School (Detroit, MI suburb) in 1965, I went to Western Michigan University and got a BA in English and Linguistics and later a MA in Teaching of Read

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