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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Medical costs in the US vs. elsewhere

A friend just sent along this chart of medical costs in the US vs. the rest of the world, an amazing disparity. This is why health care soaks up such a large percentage of household budgets in this country.


Anonymous said...

I know a British guy who needed surgery that the National Health Service wouldn't cover. He emailed a load of hospitals in the UK who were all wanting £5-6,000 for it, which he couldn't afford. Then he tried French and German hospitals who wanted €4,000 and then a Polish hospital who quoted €2,700. He ended up going to Poland and had a great experience - the hospital was very clean, the nursing staff were friendly and the surgeon did a good job. His doctor had warned him not to risk it ("you get what you pay for"), but he ignored the advice and went for it. Apparently, the overheads simply cost more in richer countries. I spoke to a dentist who said companies who make medical equipment reduce the prices for poorer countries (or, rather, inflate their prices for richer countries). This must be partly why healthcare costs so much in the US, not because the quality of the care is necessarily any better.

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
I asked the friend who'd sent me this chart why US costs were so much higher, and he said that the physicians' fees were only a small fraction of that, that the hospitals themselves had large billing costs and also engaged in a lot of bill padding. He also said that most US hospitals have only about a 1/3rd occupancy rate and have to make up for this.

That operation you're referring to would probably have cost at least three times as much in the US as it would have in the UK. Medical tourism, here I come.

Anonymous said...

Look at the bright side: The higher costs imply that American lives are worth much, much more than those filthy forriners.

Glen Filthie said...

You really have to be careful with this John and make sure you compare your apples to other apples and oranges to other oranges.

I hear the Donks referring to Canada's superior health care system - and they haven't done their homework at all. Getting a family physician these days is all but impossible. Wait times are going through the roof and people are dying in line ups waiting for care. Do you want to pay in excess of 45% of your income in taxes? That's what we do up here in Canada...and our health care systems are starting to fall apart anyways.

I suspect that most of these other countries with wonderful health care will also have massive unemployment, massive taxes huge debt problems.

It is so bad here John, that years ago some Liberal and NDP party morons made asses of themselves when they got sick - because they push the health care programs for the wretched, stinking Canadian masses - but when THEY get sick they beetleD off to the posh private clinics in the US. Gassy Jack Layton and Jean Poutine Cretin were the biggest culprits.

I think that you should be hanging your congress critters from the lamp posts, one a day - until they sign on for the same health care you lowly peons get. If it ain't good enough for them, it ain't good enough for you!

John Craig said...

Anon --
Good point, I'm not arguing.

Glen --
I couldn't agree with you more about our Congress having to sign up for the same health care the rest of us do. And that's not the only special privilege they have, by the way. They actually exempted themselves from insider trading laws, believe it or not. They've also exempted themselves from the type of diversity requirements that corporations are subject to.

I've heard all the bad stuff about the Canadian system, and how they come down here for special medical care. On the other hand, how can our prices be so high? There's no excuse for that; but I'm not sure what the answer is.

Anonymous said...

Glen, is 45% the full amount of your income tax? South of your border, we have the federal income tax of 25-28% (middle class) plus 16.6% SocSec+Medicare, plus some states are up to 9%. Unless you're omitting some 2nd and 3rd taxes from your total, I'd say we're all in the same shitty boat. I think your VAT is higher than our sales tax.
So, for the same 45-50%, we don't even get the free, shitty health care. Which today is just fine with me, because it would mainly benefit the shameless freeloaders wearing whatever shade of brown skin. I ran into a German guy at work once, who was discussing nationalized health care, and he talked about how great their system was. He was very quick to add, "Of course, it could never work in America, because you have too many blacks."