Council of Economic Advisers Predict Health Care Reform Will Reduce Costs

Now that I’ve repeated my belief in a post earlier today that the health care debate has been overly centered around cost, I have a report to post regarding cost issues. The Council of Economic Advisers has issued this report (pdf) which “estimates that the Congressional proposals will reduce the growth of health care costs for individuals, businesses, and the government.”

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Leslie Parsley says:

    Ron: I’m dropping this off wherever I can.

    This is Lieberman’s email address.
    http://lieberman.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm
    Tell him what you think. Post on your blog and in comments on other blogs. Ask others to do likewise. We may not have money but we can get numbers.

  2. 3
    Norris Hall says:

    If the recent debate on health care has taught us anything…it’s that the consumer is not in the driver’s seat on this.
    Drug Companies, Insurance companies, Hospitals, and doctors…the ones that set the pricing for medical care…all have their high paid lobbyist prowling the halls of congress, dishing  promises of golf outings, campaign contributions, future employment and other goodies to the hungry members of congress.
    As long as money is being waved in front of our elected representatives…don’t expect them to pay much attention to voters.  After all even elections are won by slick ads that cost money…so follow the money , right?

    My wife and I have found a solution that seems to work for us…
    Health care beyond America’s borders. 
    With medical costs a fraction of what the health care industry charges us in the US, we’ve found excellent affordable health care in Thailand, of all places..even without insurance.
    To woo the cash strapped and weary American uninsured and underinsured, The Thais (and Indians, Malaysian, and Singaporeans) have built excellent private hospital  system that provide top notch care for a fraction of the costs in the US.
    These hospitals are accredited and follow the same standards as in the US.  In fact they outperform US hospitals in service and care.
    Yet you can expect to pay 1/10th to 1/20th what it cost for the same procedure in the US.
    Heart Bypass…US  $150,000. 
    Hear Bypass..Thailand $15,000
    My minor throat surgery for disphagia…US $2500
    Thailand $100.
    (That was 1 year ago today and I  am back in the US… very much alive.)
    In fact in Thailand most people have no use for health insurance.  Prices are so affordable that Thais would rather save the insurance premiums and  bank it.
    While we in the US get hit twice….once by the insurance company…and the second time by the medical profession. So we pay twice for health care.
    And don’t think that you are safe with insurance in America.  Check your insurance policy for hidden costs like deductibles, copays and insurance caps and you will be shocked to find that health care coverage is VERY LIMITED

    The US health care system is a train wreck hurtling down the mountainside with NO hope that anything…even the health care proposals in Congress can fix.

    As long as the people who stand to gain the most profit from health care are calling the shots…people who rely on the US health care system are SCREWED.

    And here’s the rub.  People would like you to believe that the American health care system is a free market system driven by competition.
    Nothing could be further from the truth.
    A few giants control the insurance industry and a few medical associations strive to keep competition from putting downward pressure on compensation.

    Like… when was the last time you saw a hospital post it’s rates like a restaurant posts it’s dinner prices???

    When was the last time you saw a physician run a TV advertisement offering lower cost medical care like every hotel, car dealer, grocery chain, clothing store, bicycle shop, and fast food outlet in the United States?

    Freemarket and competition…my foot!

  3. 4
    Eclectic Radical says:

    For the average American, travel to Thailand is out of reach and the quoted prices for medical care are still too high without insurance. As for ‘most Thais’… let’s be perfectly frank. ‘Most’ people in Thailand can’t afford the prices you’re quoting either. The middle class is a lot smaller than ours (and roughly equivalent to our working class and working poor) and the working class and the poor are in a lot worse shape. Most of them have their medical needs covered by the government or through charitable organizations. 
     
    I don’t know whether you are misrepresenting the real situation in Thailand deliberately or whether you’re speaking from a misunderstanding of the economic realities under which ‘most Thais’ live. However, your portrait of the situation is not entirely accurate. 
     
    The current American health care market is controlled by a handful of regional cartels. Yes. No question of that. That’s one the reasons the health care reform bill creates a national insurance market with specific federal guidelines through which anyone, in any state, can buy insurance from any company that wishes to sell insurance nationally. It’s the market based reform Republicans were talking about in the election. Now they oppose it. 
     
    I see far too many commercials for medical products on tv as it is. There is a reason most doctors do not advertise, much as there is a reason lawyers do not advertise. It’s called ‘professional ethics.’ 
     
    I agree with some of the problems you have singled out, but I don’t think the solution to American health care is Thailand.
     

  4. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    The cost of many surgeries is less expensive in countries such as Thailand not because they have a stronger consumer-driven economny but partially because the price of everything is cheaper there. Hospitals cost a fortune to run because of the large number of people to pay and facility costs. These costs are much lower in a country such as Thailand. 

    Medical tourism is increasing due to these differences in prices but the availability of cheaper surgery abroad does not change the need for health care. There is far more to health care than elective surgeries. For example, one point of health care is to try to reduce the need for bypass surgery. Having an inexpensive place to go for byapss surgery is also of no value for those who are unstable and need immediate surgery.

    Health care coverage varies widely. Many plans will pay the bulk of the cost for problems such as bypass surgery. The problem is that while many people do have excellent coverage should they need bypass surgery, many others do not.

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