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The dynamics of healthcare reform must change July 20, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

Healthcare costs in the US have been inxreasing at rates between 10% to 20% for the past several years, in spite of inflation rates of 1% to 3%. The status quo will not change this because there is no strong driving force to make the various profit-takers to show some restraint. Doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, health insurers, and all others involved in healthcare are for-profit entities. In the case of those relying on investors’ money, rates of return have had  to be high in order to continue to attract money instead of lending it for real estate or investing it in derivatives and other high-yield investments. Yes, this rise has been fueled indirectly by the stupidity and greed in our financial sector.

But now with those competing areas having gone bust, healthcare cost are still double-digit! Why? Because they can. Individuals and even large groups that participate cannot change the dynamics. They are too fractured. That is why the government has to act as the big entity that can force change. Healthcare is now almost 20% of the US economy and some estimate that this will rise to 35% in a few years as the profit-takers continue their greed and the baby-boomers get into retirement age.

Each of the profut-takers is organized and lobbies heavily in Congress. They have the billions to do this, afterall it is tens and hundreds of billions of dollars per year for them to maintain the current structure. (All of those ads for prescription medicines are one symptom, costing hundreds of millions to bombard us constantly – you do not advertise like that unless much more is at stake.) So the Republicans do not want changes and “moderate” Democrats talk of the costs. The costs are now bourne by hundreds of millions of payers and companies who supply health insurance to employees, but they have no power. They are only stuck with the bill. The American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurers, et alia will not pay attention unless there is unified and concerted efforts forcing changes. That can only come through the government. Those groups cannot ignore a government-mandated order to change.



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