Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this. What do I do?
Doctor: Don’t do that.
Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I get my medical bill. What do I do?
Doctor: Don’t do– Oh, no, wait, there’s no cure for that.
America doesn’t have the world’s worst healthcare, but it may have the world’s most inefficient. Did you know that the U.S. government pays more money annually for healthcare per capita than any other country on earth ($10,586)? And yet, on top of that, the amount each American spends out-of-pocket has gone up over 900% since the 1960s. Why? Inefficiency. Our healthcare “system” is a cobbled-together glob of:
- Medical insurance, a “temporary” stop-gap measure left over from the 50s
- Employer-based coverage, an undependable “solution” originally designed to be a job perk, not a necessity
- Constantly rising administrative costs–over 25% of all medical charges are administrative
- Out-of-control drugs prices–Americans pay more for prescription drugs than anyone else, only a small percentage of which is due to research and development
- Ever-changing government programs–Medicare, Medicaid, VA, and more–patches on a garment full of holes
There are divided opinions about government’s role (if any) in healthcare. And yet the government is already–largely and expensively–involved. Add to this the fact that:
Expectations have changed. 100 years ago, healthcare possibilities were limited. Even rich people died of conditions for which we now have cures and treatments. Yet these are made horrendously expensive by an inefficient system. So, should only those who can afford to pay “any price” be treated? “No,” most people agree. Then what do we do? It’s not simply a matter of nationalized vs. privatized. For starters, we need to focus not on who will pay…
But on how to make the system more efficient!