My disdain for government intervention in the marketplace just continues to grow, regardless of how hard I try to ignore it—like, for instance, scaling way back on my interaction with social media, as well as avoiding any and all sources of news—but after my recent exposure to the monopolized sick-care cartel that somehow passes as health care in the US, it’s difficult to continue ignoring.
It’s high time we end government control/regulation/licensure of healthcare and send the entire industry back into the free market (such as an Uber-style app for health care), and thus end the monopolized cartel that is the US healthcare industry.
I know, I know….stop dreaming, right? Well, at least it’s not illegal to dream (yet, anyway)….
The following was excerpted from pgs 40 – 41 of Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You And How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor by William Davis, MD (author of the Wheat Belly series). Read it and weep:
MORE BETTER HEALTH CARE
“Time and time again, studies have demonstrated that more healthcare does not yield better health. One study of Medicare patients nationwide showed that the more healthcare people received in the form of procedures, hospitalizations, and specialist referrals, the worse they did in quality outcomes. This occurs even when the cost differential between lowest and highest is wide. Annual per capita Medicare spending was $3341 in Minneapolis, for example, but $8414 in Miami; but the less spent, the better the outcomes.(1) The four states with the highest Medicare spending – Louisiana, Texas, California, and Florida – rank the worst in quality. More healthcare translates into increased complications in more deaths, not more lives saved.
The research group at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at Dartmouth College has been exploring this phenomenon, studying healthcare demographics and costs nation wide for three decades. Interestingly, the initial reactions to these efforts 30 years ago were critical, as everyone “knew” back then that of course healthcare was cost-effective and safe. But the many studies they have published over the years have repeatedly borne out the opposite: high-cost regions have 32% more hospital beds, 31% more physicians, 65% more medical specialists, 75% more general internists, and 29% more surgeons then low-cost regions, but outcomes are no better, often worse. Nationwide, the pattern was clear: the more money spent on healthcare, the higher the mortality rate, even after factoring in variation in health patterns across different regions.
Even though Americans spend twice as much on healthcare as other modern developed countries, we rank dead last in quality, outcomes, accessibility, and efficiency.(2) The common claim made from within healthcare that the United States has the finest healthcare system in the world is nonsense. We even ranked last among western economies in preventing deaths from treatable conditions, such as strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, and treatable cancers. You can obtain better, more assessable, more efficient care in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, among others. All countries have to deal with growing health care cost, but none have to deal with extreme costs of US healthcare, which grows unrestrained, unchecked, and without any relationship to real costs.
We also can’t ignore the fact that more people die per year from complications of hospital procedures and errors, estimated at 400,000 annually, then from auto accidents.(3) Increasing access to healthcare thereby increases the proportion of people who die from complications. Yet the medical system works to grow the availability of specialists, fund more hospitals and clinics, and increase the number of profitable programs, such as heart care and cancer care. To them, more healthcare is more money. To you and me, more healthcare means more costs, more complications, more deaths, but most definitely not more better health.”
(1) J. Skinner, E. S. Fisher, and J. E. Wennberg, “The Efficiency of Medicare,” in Analyses in the Economics of Aging, ed. D. A. Wise (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), 129-60
(2) K. Davis, K. Stremikis, D. Squires, and C. Schoen, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, The Commonwealth Fund, June 16, 2014, commonwealthfund.org/publications/fund-reports/2014/jun/mirror-mirror
(3) J. T. James, “A New, Evidence-Based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care,” Journal of Patient Safety 9, no. 3 (September 2013): 122-28.