• Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us | TIME.com

    When you crunch data compiled by McKinsey and other researchers, the big picture looks like this: We’re likely to spend $2.8 trillion this year on health care. That $2.8 trillion is likely to be $750 billion, or 27%, more than we would spend if we spent the same per capita as other developed countries, even after adjusting for the relatively high per capita income in the U.S. vs. those other countries.

    #santé #etats-unis #pharma

    • Je viens de tomber dessus et de parcourir les 11 pages…

      Avec analyse(s) détaillée(s) des surfacturations énormes faites par les hôpitaux, attaque du lobby hospitalo-pharmaceutique, défense du système public et plaidoyer pour une régulation et un contrôle draconien.


      page 1

      America’s largest city may be commonly thought of as the world’s financial-services capital, but of New York’s 18 largest private employers, eight are hospitals and four are banks. (…) Health care is eating away at our economy and our treasury.

      The health care industry seems to have the will and the means to keep it that way. (…) That’s right: the health-care-industrial complex spends more than three times what the military-industrial complex spends in Washington.

      page 11

      Indeed, the only player in the system that seems to have to balance countervailing interests the way market players in a real market usually do is Medicare. It has to answer to Congress and the taxpayers for wasting money, and it has to answer to portions of the same groups for trying to hold on to money it shouldn’t. Hospitals, drug companies and other suppliers, even the insurance companies, don’t have those worries.

      Moreover, the only players in the private sector who seem to operate efficiently are the private contractors working — dare I say it? — under the government’s supervision.


      Put simply, the bills tell us that this is not about interfering in a free market. It’s about facing the reality that our largest consumer product by far — one-fifth of our economy — does not operate in a free market.

      So how can we fix it?

      Changing Our Choices
      We should tighten antitrust laws related to hospitals to keep them from becoming so dominant in a region that insurance companies are helpless in negotiating prices with them.
      Similarly, we should tax hospital profits at 75% and have a tax surcharge on all nondoctor hospital salaries that exceed, say, $750,000.
      We should outlaw the chargemaster. [sans doute : les barêmes super trafiqués des hôpitaux]
      We should amend patent laws so that makers of wonder drugs would be limited in how they can exploit the monopoly our patent laws give them. (…) Just bringing these overall profits down to those of the software industry would save billions of dollars.
      Similarly, we should tighten what Medicare pays for CT or MRI tests a lot more and even cap what insurance companies can pay for them. This is a huge contributor to our massive overspending on outpatient costs. And we should cap profits on lab tests done in-house by hospitals or doctors.

      Plus diverses autres propositions mineures du genre :

      We could limit administrator salaries at hospitals to five or six times what the lowest-paid licensed physician gets for caring for patients there. That might take care of the self-fulfilling peer dynamic that Gunn of Sloan-Kettering cited when he explained, “We all use the same compensation consultants.” Then again, it might unleash a wave of salary increases for junior doctors.

      Or we could require drug companies to include a prominent, plain-English notice of the gross profit margin on the packaging of each drug, as well as the salary of the parent company’s CEO. The same would have to be posted on the company’s website. If nothing else, it would be a good test of embarrassment thresholds.

      Et la conclusion

      When you follow the money, you see the choices we’ve made, knowingly or unknowingly.

      Over the past few decades, we’ve enriched the labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs. Meanwhile, we’ve squeezed the doctors who don’t own their own clinics, don’t work as drug or device consultants or don’t otherwise game a system that is so gameable. And of course, we’ve squeezed everyone outside the system who gets stuck with the bills.

      We’ve created a secure, prosperous island in an economy that is suffering under the weight of the riches those on the island extract.

      And we’ve allowed those on the island and their lobbyists and allies to control the debate, diverting us from what Gerard Anderson, a health care economist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says is the obvious and only issue: “All the prices are too damn high.”

      #pavé #must_read

    • Sur la duplicité sans borne des législateurs étasuniens, lire Paul Krugman : http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/welfare-for-the-medical-industrial-complex

      Still, isn’t it bizarre that governors who protest bitterly about the cost of Obamacare, and in general about wasting taxpayers’ money, are willing to throw away lots of money via corporate welfare? Actually, no; it’s only puzzling if you think they believe anything they say.