A few years ago I read a wonderful article on the healthcare crisis in Time Magazine. I wasn’t the only one who thought it was educational and insightful as the article won the National Magazine Award for Public Interest. So when Steven Brill expanded his narrative to include the antics leading up to the Patient Protection Act aka Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, I had to buy “America’s Bitter Pill,” money, politics, backroom deals, and the fight to fix our broken healthcare system.
I haven’t finished it yet so am some distance from his solution but am well into the problems that the states, the hospitals, the insurance companies, the drug companies and the lobbyists caused to keep the ACA from becoming what it could have been had everyone had the same goal – a better, less expensive health plan for the American people.
Brill talked to all of the mentioned group. The President of the United States answered written questions submitted to him about the high cost of treatment and the abuses in our system. In 2014 we spent three TRILLION dollars on healthcare, “that’s more than the next ten biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Australia.” And in many cases, particularly infant mortality, our outcomes are far worse.
Healthcare has turned out to be a windfall for hospital administrators (who earn way more than doctors), drug company executives, and salespeople of medical equipment. Apple is considered a premier American company but Medtronic, maker of all sorts of medical devices has nearly double the gross profit. Healthcare is the only industry where technical advancement has increased costs.
Healthcare is America’s largest industry and it is profit dominated. If the cost of healthcare is cut, incomes have to be cut as well. Right now healthcare executives are getting wealthier and care users/patients are getting poorer. Sixty percent of the 1,000.000 bankruptcies in the US were the outcome of high medical bills.
Stay tuned for more information as this will be my topic for the next few newsletters, or you can buy the book by clicking HERE.