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Health Costs: How the U.S. Compares With Other Countries

Health Costs: How the U.S. Compares With Other Countries | Health Care | Scoop.it
Mina Richard's insight:

How much is good health care? In the U.S, per year per person we spend $8,233 on average. This is two and a half times more than both developing countries and wealthier countries like France and Sweden. U.S costs take 17.6% of the GDP. This is unfortunate because not only do we have the world's most expensive healthcare, ours isn't even that great. The number of physicians and hospital beds per 1,000 people are well below the average. Our life expectancy from birth and longevity are also both below average. To put cost in perspective, our peer countries, Norway, the Netherlands, and Switzerland all spend less than $3,000 per person; they are the next biggest spenders. While it seems great that we spend so much money on healthcare, the fact that we are not even considered the healthiest country makes our spending seem excessive and ridiculous. So what are other countries doing to keep their costs down while providing good healthcare? And how do we differ?

1. A common fee system. Every doctor gets paid similar amounts. In the U.S, doctors are paid depending on the health insurance of the patient.

2. Closely monitored and flexible spending. If something is becoming expensive and costly in a certain area, the fees in that area are lowered. Or if a certain method of treatment becomes more popular, they will lower the cost of that method. 

3. The constant battle between the people, the health insurance companies, and the healthcare providers. 

One of the biggest issues is the idea of "Waste," that we have excess and surplus amounts of things we don't need, or give treatments and drugs and tests that aren't needed, or we are inefficient in our methods. The adoption of technology in the medical world has truly done wonders for Sweden. Every prescription is done electronically, which effectively cuts down costs, work, and errors.

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The way the French Healthcare system works and what we could take from it.

 

The French system is not technically universal. They actually despise the word socialism and would refuse calling their system anything close to a socialist system. Healthcare is paid by payroll and taxes. The government then gives money to healthcare and collaborates with doctors and hospitals on how to best spend the money. People have a choice, they can choose their doctors, their procedures, etc. And France's system works. It routinely pulls 1st when compared against other country's systems. The pool of money used for healthcare covers about 70% of the bill, while most of the remaining 30% gets picked up by private insurance companies. This works because most people have private insurance. It is much more affordable and accesible to people and is usually provided by the workplace. The "sick" of the population are basically exempt from copays to ensure that people do not go broke because of healthcare costs. "The sicker you are, the more coverage you get."

While all this sounds great, the cost of this system is very expensive. 21% of worker's income goes into the system. However, the U.S's system still manages to take number 1 with cost.The add up of taxes and the cost of buying healthcare, copays, and out of pocket costs for doctors, medicine, etc. is much higher.

So the French get more out of the system then they ultimately put in, while it is the complete opposite in the U.S

I know that one of the U.S's concerns with universal healthcare is that it would be too socialist and not "who we are" but France, who also does not associate with socialism, manages to have a somewhat universal healthcare system that takes cares of its people well. What are we waiting for?

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"Grey's Anatomy" Enough Is Enough (TV Episode 2005)

"Grey's Anatomy" Enough Is Enough (TV Episode 2005) | Health Care | Scoop.it
Directed by Peter Horton. With Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers. After a fatal car accident, a man, a woman and their son are patients in the Seattle Grace hospital. The injuries of the mother reveal a family secret.
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Last night I was watching Grey's Anatomy. This episode (s.2ep.2) had a patient who the hospital all new very well-he owned the bar across the street. He collapsed and needed surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain but the surgery would have cost a couple hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay it because he didn't have health insurance, because then he would lose his bar. But if he didn't have the surgery, he would lose his life. This example, while coming from a T.V show, is actually realistic. Often people have to choose between their lives or their financial situation, and if the surgery will ruin their financial situation, then what's the point? The patient got the surgery and a doctor found a way to get his surgery paid for...TV style. This is the unrealistic part, for the majority. Many people will leave the hospital untreated if they cannot pay for what ever medical attention they need.

Hopefully Obamacare-or what ever healthcare system we are creating-will be able to help patients like these and not turn them away knowing they will most likely die without treatment.

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Canadian Health Care

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A very helpful informative site on Canada's healthcare system. It is a publicly run system that covers almost everybody, with few exceptions. That means everyone has the same exact access to everything available, primary care physicians, hospitals, treatments, etc. However, as I am learning with everything, there is always a downside. The majority of controversy resides over the efficiency of the system and how quickly people have access to medical treatment. Some are even advocating privatizing the system like the U.S. However, as we all know, there are extreme downsides to this as well...

Canada also has private clinics where people can receive more specialized treatments, if they so wish. However, under the Canada Health Act, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide any services which the public healthcare does not provide. Although, this happens regardless. The second controversy with having these private clinics is efficiency. A patient who pays for private insurance can get a procedure like an MRI done within a few days to a week, however at a public clinic it may take up to a month to have a service like this performed. This creates a huge gap between those who have private insurance and those who do not. Sound familiar? Exactly, even Canada has issues similar to us. 

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What exactly is ObamaCare and what did it change? "Explained like you're a 5-year-old."

What exactly is ObamaCare and what did it change? "Explained like you're a 5-year-old." | Health Care | Scoop.it
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Healthcare: Then, Now, and Continuing
I really am not very informed on PPACA (Obamacare). The extent of my knowledge is what I learned during the 2012 Election, was that Obamacare would make anyone that did not have healthcare get it, and if they didn't, they'd have to pay a fee, unless of course, they could not afford it. This was the mandate that everyone talked about so much, but what about all the other things that Obamacare was going to change? What I really wanted to know was everything that I read in this post--the details and specifics about what Obamacare does. Also, not only now, in the present, but in the future. This post laid out, by year, what was going to change, be added, or removed. I realize there are probably a lot of things this article is missing, however I now have a solid general sense of what Obamacare looks like and will look like. 
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8 places that do health care better than the US

8 places that do health care better than the US | Health Care | Scoop.it
As Obamacare divides Washington, let's not forget how many countries are doing health care better than we are.
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While the US is often labeled as the best nation in the world, it seriously lacks in healthcare and everyone knows it. In this article, Bloomberg listed the 8 best healthcare systems around the world. Not all of the countries on this list has had a good reputation, however. Taiwan for example used to have a poor healthcare system, where only about 40% of its population was covered. Now, almost every single person has access to healthcare. This gives hope for the US, then right? 

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The GOP Civil War Just Exploded Messily Into The Public

The GOP Civil War Just Exploded Messily Into The Public | Health Care | Scoop.it
AWKWARD.
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Just because this is EXTREMELY relevant at the moment...The article is about the republican house members attempt to defund Obamacare. Every spending budget they have proposed shears all money going towards Obamacare. Here's where it gets interesting: Senator Ted Cruz, who has been the face of the defunding bill along with Senator Mike Lee have been criticized and accused by the House republicans for not holding up against the Democrats. There has been much disagreement and bickering inside of the republican party in the house and senate. What does this say about them? To me it says they are only fighting for the sake of fighting. In another article (http://www.businessinsider.com/government-shutdown-obamacare-delay-not-focus-marlin-stutzman-2013-10) House member Marlin Stutzman was quoted on the fight over Obamacare,"We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't even know what that even is." Again, fighting to fight? I think Republicans have lost sight of what they truly stand for in their political views and it has just become an "us vs. them" game that we cannot seem to get out of. Obamacare just happens to be one of the major topics of controversy at the moment, and while Republicans are fighint tooth and nail to get this defunded, they cannot even maintain a clear reasoning of why, or an agenda. They have no clear plan, which was even admitted by Republican's defending the defunding act.

So this leaves me puzzled and completely frustrated--why are they so insistent upon defunding what could possibly be a great health care program when they don't even know exactly what or how they are fighting against it??

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Health Care Reform News - The New York Times

Health Care Reform News - The New York Times | Health Care | Scoop.it
News about health care reform. Commentary and archival information about health care reform from The New York Times.
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18 Ideas to Reform Health Care Now | Reader's Digest

18 Ideas to Reform Health Care Now | Reader's Digest | Health Care | Scoop.it
Our team interviewed dozens of experts dedicated to making America (and its health care system) healthier. Here, the best examples and how to make it happen.
Mina Richard's insight:

This piece is actually genius. As it was collected from lots and lots of experts, it should be. Many of the ideas they dicuss here are probably very do-able and would have the desired affect on the country. While it doesn't explicitly discuss a universal healthcare plan. It does give 18 ways to improve our current system and the people in it. However, because many of these reform ideas would probably save the US a lot of money, it could then go towards making healthcare more widely available and eventually work towards universal (maybe). There are a few things I disagree with though. The "reduce medical errors" and "get it right the first time" reforms I think are a bit insensitive. Doctors are humans too, yes they make mistakes. Granted they should be making less mistakes than others because they are dealing with people's lives but they are not robots, they are not perfect. These two, will can be fixed with improved practice/education are not something the government should be doing. They should make sure doctors are not scamming or purposely mistreating patients, but there should not be a penalty for an accident. As it goes for this article, many of the points are roses, but these two are thorns. 

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Tomás Jacquez's comment, September 30, 2013 12:28 PM
Out of curiosity, what is an "expert" in your mind?
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4 perspectives on Obama health care law

Two years after health care reform passed, the country is as divided as ever over the law as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments.
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Variations of Support:

This article gives four view points on Obamacare, none of which I understand fully. However, two of the people feel very strongly against Obamacare because it has driven up costs instead of down. One small business owner was about to cover all her 34 employees until Obamacare was passed and she backed out because she was afraid it would be too expensive. Another man, while he believes that everyone should have healthcare, Obamacare is too expensive and is doing the opposite of what it said it would. The other two perspectives are more favored towards Obamacare. What I am gathering from all the articles I am reading is that Obamacare is not helping the people who already had insurance, but that it may help a lot of poorer people be able to get healthcare. In terms of the comments people are leaving, a lot of them are angry with Obamacare. They are mad that Obama is supposedly going against the constitution with this mandate requirement. They think it was read and passed under the table with a lot of bribes, and lastly that it won't do any good, that itll just jack up costs. However I am also getting the feeling from a lot of the comments posted that the posters do not care about the tens of millions of uninsured people...This makes me angry! The point of Obamacare was to make sure that the fraction of people that were insured expands to the majority of the country, it wasn't to protect the rich. However Middle class remains the issue because they could go either way with Obamacare.

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