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Who's to blame for high healthcare costs?

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Message Matthew UTae

I'd like to link to a previous article I submitted a few days ago.  I made a critique of some assumptions people who have submitted articles here on this website have made.  Its easier to critique someone else's position than create one of your own.  I'll go ahead and do that and hold my ideas up to be purified by the fire of peer review.  Here's a link to my previous article.  Thank you Doug for putting your thoughts out there, I didn't want to be a jerk just critiquing your thoughts so I wanted to put my ideas up:

I'll use this link as a starting point:

The next link is to an article that asserts there is about 30% waste in the U.S. healthcare system due to inefficiency.  Much of which is caused by a multi-payer system.  The following is my response via the "comment" feature from my previous article:

This article may be true, but the argument is framed and more elaboration is necessary to show that the cause of increased healthcare costs is in fact, a complex payment system.  I'd like to note that the source of the linked article comes from a lobbying organization funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  This foundation's mission is to implement universal healthcare.

First I'd like to say comparing the U.S. to Canada is comparing apples to oranges.  I could produce similar statistics within the U.S. by comparing New York to Maine.  I could compare New York City to Anchorage Alaska to get data showing "waste".  The study I'd like to see is the cost of health care in Canada pre 1971 vs post 1971, as well as "before and after" data of other nations that have adopted single payer systems.  I think that's the data you should look at, since that is more apples to apples.  The problem is lack of data.  But there are more reports like this exist than positive feedback:

I'd like to note, that this is a "leap of faith" argument.  Before the paragraph labled "Introduction", this nifty little statement is inserted:

"Because incremental reforms necessarily preserve the current fragmented and duplicative payment structure they cannot achieve significant bureaucratic savings."

Basically, only a sweeping installation of the single payer system would vindicate it's validity or non-validity.  We MUST jump into the deep end, wading in slowly only preserves the problem.

This obviously eliminates any references to Medicare, DRG's payment methodolgy, how health payment structure is done, and so on.  It's an unfair self fulfilling argument, similar to any other leap of faith argument.  This is one leap that I don't think we as a nation should take.  This sort of leap then look approach is not my cup of tea, neither is it Obama's.

Here are some responses to that article, one that concludes the direct opposite, and one from the AMA that is a bit more neutral.


The framing of the data in the comparison of administrative costs in Canada vs. the United States is more politically motivated than intellectually motivated.  The article you linked is extremely biased.  If articles present an argument, I feel that they should have a balanced approach, not bring a polarizing fire.

One note that may be food for thought, its ironic that a large percentage of administrative costs are associated with government compliance.  Namely MSP/TEFRA, USERRA, etc.. and the laws passed beginning in 1982 to make sure private insurance companies and self funded corporations paid claims BEFORE the government.  This is when admin costs and double digit healthcare inflation started brewing. 

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