Power of Story
Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -

Share on Google Plus 2 Share on Twitter 4 Share on Facebook 4 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest 2 Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend 1 (14 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   17 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

The best health care system in the world? Nonsense!

By       Message Wendell Potter     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 7   Valuable 7   Supported 5  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 6/1/15

- Advertisement -

Reprinted from www.publicintegrity.org

From flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/8265405611/: Prescription Prices Ver5
Prescription Prices Ver5
(Image by StockMonkeys.com)
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

Americans spend more per capita on health care than people anywhere else in the world, yet outcomes in every other developed country are better on almost every measure, from infant mortality to life expectancy.

A big reason for that is our collective gullibility. We continue to believe what many politicians tell us, despite evidence to the contrary: that we have the best health care system in the world.

Similarly, we continue to be persuaded by insurance companies that they're essential to the system and better than any government program could possibly be at controlling health care costs.

- Advertisement -

And we are still buying the pharmaceutical industry's argument that if Americans don't keep paying more for prescriptions than anyone else on the planet, drug companies--which have gargantuan profit margins --won't be able to keep developing the drugs we need.

To understand how foolish we are, let's consider the war of words that recently erupted between health insurers and drug companies.

First, though, let's take a look at a new study that compares how much Americans pay for prescription medication compared to what folks in a few other industrialized countries pay.

The study, released last week by the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, showed that pharmaceutical spending in the U.S. per capita had reached $1,010 in 2012. The next highest spender was Germany at $668 per capita. Australia came in at $558.

Am I the only one who finds it more than a little upsetting that the Germans spend 66 percent of what we spend for drugs and the Aussies spend just 55 percent?

As the Kaiser researchers point out, those countries' citizens get a much better deal on their meds because their federal governments have policies in place to regulate drug prices. And those nations are not alone. Every other country in the developed world has instituted some kind of price control mechanism. Except, of course, the United States.

Kaiser's numbers are consistent with those from a 2013 analysis by the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which showed that Americans spend 40 percent more on drugs than the next highest spender, Canada.

- Advertisement -

As PBS pointed out last year in a report on drug prices around the world, government agencies in other countries set limits on how much they (and their citizens) will pay drug makers for their various products.

"By contrast," as PBS further pointed out, "in the U.S., insurers typically accept the price set by the makers for each drug, especially when there is no competition in a therapeutic area, and then cover the cost with high copayments." (Emphasis mine.)

PBS nailed it. American insurance companies are essentially powerless when it comes to negotiating prices with Big Pharma, just as they are becoming increasingly powerless in controlling the cost of hospital care and physician services. The way insurers continue to make money is not by doing a good job for their customers but by constantly shifting more of the cost of care to those customers.

If we were paying close enough attention to what insurers were saying during the health care reform debate, we would have realized that they are, for all practical purposes, impotent when it comes to holding down costs. All we had to do was read between the lines.


 

- Advertisement -

Must Read 7   Valuable 7   Supported 5  
View Ratings | Rate It

for 20 years, Wendell Potter worked as a senior executive at health insurance companies, and saw how they confuse their customers and dump the sick -- all so they can satisfy their Wall Street investors.
Wendell Potter is an Analyst at the Center for Public Integrity; Former insurance company executive; Author of Deadly (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The best health care system in the world? Nonsense!

Health Insurance Exec Whistleblower Wendell Potter Testifies Before Congress

Does the U.S. Have the World's Best Health Care System? Yes, If You're Talking About the Third World

Ryan's Medicare Plan Would Be a Windfall for Insurance Companies

The Insurers' Real Agenda for Change

Fresh Evidence That Health Insurers Value Profits Over People