Monday, October 26, 2009

America's Sick Healthcare System

A growing majority of Americans want a new, public healthcare system but the bloated and entrenched "for profit" healthcare industry is fighting back aided by an army of lobbyists, a powerful propaganda machine and heavily corrupted, "on the take" Congress.

Those who oppose public healthcare freely resort to scare tactics and claim that a government-administered system would be wasteful - money down the drain. These reprobates aren't going to be very happy with a report out today that shows that their system squanders up to 850-billion health care dollars a year. From Reuters:

The U.S. healthcare system wastes between $505 billion and $850 billion every year, the report from Robert Kelley, vice president of healthcare analytics at Thomson Reuters, found.

...One example -- a paper-based system that discourages sharing of medical records accounts for 6 percent of annual overspending.

"It is waste when caregivers duplicate tests because results recorded in a patient's record with one provider are not available to another or when medical staff provides inappropriate treatment because relevant history of previous treatment cannot be accessed," the report reads.

Some other findings in the report from Thomson Reuters, the parent company of Reuters:

* Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up 37 percent of healthcare waste or $200 to $300 a year.

* Fraud makes up 22 percent of healthcare waste, or up to $200 billion a year in fraudulent Medicare claims, kickbacks for referrals for unnecessary services and other scams.

* Administrative inefficiency and redundant paperwork account for 18 percent of healthcare waste.

* Medical mistakes account for $50 billion to $100 billion in unnecessary spending each year, or 11 percent of the total.

* Preventable conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes cost $30 billion to $50 billion a year.

That last point is especially telling. Republicans use "preventable conditions" as a straw man to blunt demands for healthcare reform. They argue that the American health care system is simply a victim of preventable conditions such as obesity. Out of $850-billion wasted health care dollars, the Reuters Thomson report finds a very small fraction - $30-50 billion - the result of preventable conditions. In other words, the Republican's key argument is just so much lobbyist/kickback-driven bullshit.


Anonymous said...

Exactly, MoS. LK

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