I’m working today and while doing so I’ve been accessing the Internet.
I don’t know why exactly, but possibly because after hearing about the House Republican’s courageous act of defunding Obama Care, I glanced at one of Perry Hood’s typically puling exercises in social justice pimping.
I then decided to revisit and review the fact situation premises underlying the arguments we’ve all seen concerning “national” health care costs by doing a couple of searches. Just for the sake of Auld Lang Syne …
My first search was on the topic of uncompensated emergency care. I Googled: “Percentage of US health care expenditures on uncompensated emergency room treatment”.
There, in the results window I found links that informed me that emergency room treatment accounted for only about 2 cents of every dollar expended on medical treatment in the United States.
Emergency care represents less than 2 percent of the nation’s $2.4 trillion in health care expenditures while covering 136 million people a year.i ii
Emergency departments are open 24 hours a day and provide “one-stop shopping” with all the hospital’s resources – such as diagnostic testing and consultation by other medical specialists – in one place.
The most pressing economic issue in emergency medicine is uncompensated care: the lack of adequate reimbursement for emergency medical care has led to the closure of hundreds of emergency departments.
The focus on preventing so-called “non-urgent” ER visits distracts policymakers from the real cost savings in reducing hospital admissions.
Emergency departments are critical to our communities and must be adequately funded.”
We also learn that,
“About half of all emergency services go uncompensated, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).iv The typical ER treats 1 in 5 patients without insurance or a clear method for reimbursement. The CDC reported that 19 percent of all emergency patients in 2009 were uninsured.”
“Nearly half (44 percent) of emergency physicians responding to a poll say fear of lawsuits is the biggest challenge to cutting emergency department costs. More than half (53 percent) say this fear is the main reason for ordering the number of tests they do.viii Every additional diagnostic test adds to the overall cost of care.”
See also this American College of Emergency Physicians link
So, at first glance anyway, only about 20 percent of 2 percent of the money spent in the US on medical treatment is spent on the uninsureds’ emergency room treatment. Though, this burden is costly enough, and damaging enough, to the facilities treating these patients.
Next I began to check on structural issues related to demographics. Say for example, on the cost of behavioral problems to the US economy. But that was not really a fruitful avenue. We learn of course that fat kids are a large (pun intended) and growing (same) problem and that they will likely experience a host of chronic conditions which will eventually …
Oh. Yeah, “Chronic care”
Wonder what that costs “us” as a portion of what “we” spend?
Google: “Chronic condition expenses as a percentage of American medical costs”
And this my friends really set me back on my heels. I couldn’t believe it. Though I cannot now explain why I hadn’t known it earlier.
We debate insurance reform, and malpractice reform, and we talk of defensive medicine. But what are the real causes of this social phenomenon are we being held political hostage to? Is it really primarily due to greedy doctors and profiteering insurance companies, inflated drug costs, scheming lawyers, and proliferating defensive medicine?
We speak in terms of “social costs”. What of social use? Is the demand itself unreal? What of actual use and spending, and of who is doing the using and spending?
” … Half of the population spends little or nothing on health care …”
it turns out that,
” … 5 percent of the population spends almost half of the total amount [spent]…”
What? How can this be? Feeling dizzy too? But why should we stop there when there is so much more to learn …
” … In 2002, the 5 percent of the U.S.community (civilian noninstitutionalized) population that spent the most on health care accounted for 49 percent of overall U.S. health care spending …”
” … the 50 percent of the population with the lowest expenses accounted for only 3 percent of overall U.S. medical spending, with annual medical spending below $664 per person. … those in the top 5 percent spent, on average, more than 17 times as much per personas those in the bottom 50 percent of spenders“
” … The elderly (age 65 and over) made up around 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2002, but they consumed 36 percent of total U.S. personal health care expenses. The average health care expense in 2002 was $11,089 per year for elderly people but only $3,352 per year for working-age people (ages 19-64 …”
” … people in the highest 5 percent of the distribution of medical expenses were 11 times as likely to be in fair or poor physical health as people in the bottom half of that distribution (45 percent vs. 4 percent) …”
” … 21 percent of people in the top 5 percent [those with the highest medical expenses] were in fair or poor mental health, compared with 3 percent of people in the bottom 50 percent [of medical expenses]”
Chronic, crazy, (and a modest percentage of the) elderly account for half of that infamous 16 percent or so of the GDP being spent on health care. This then is half of the “crisis” that has been driving a formerly free people into the clutches of an Obama Care mandate, and toward the degraded status of “Property of the State”.
I’m going to quit writing now; before I say something really, really cruel …
You can read and judge for yourself. As for me, I am done researching for today.
Oh you can bet your bottom dollar on this though. Once the government really gets its say, and those figures are considered, as they already have been by many in the Single Payer system movement, there will be death panels.
And what will the left do? That is to say the same left that earlier mocked Palin?
They will shrug and ask, “What did you fools expect?”
Fools! I am the Lido and you will do as I command!