HOW MUCH HEALTHCARE COSTS ARE DRAINING OUR ECONOMY

By
Ron Anthony

Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Japan spend about half per person than what we do on healthcare . Nobody suffers and dies from lack of healthcare. They cover everyone. Nobody files for medical bankruptcy like they do here. These people are as healthy or healthier and live longer. This indicates that we waste close to half of what we spend on healthcare and still ration it from lower income citizens with no health insurance or high deductibles.

Based on the above, we get nothing for about half the near $3 trillion we spend every year on healthcare. That’s $1 ½ trillion or $1,500,000,000,000 lost every year. That number is astronomical. It is almost incomprehensible.

If U.S. Healthcare were a separate country it’s total spending would be be tied for 5th place with the United Kingdom and larger than everything spent in France. U.S. waste a little under everything spent in Canada and Italy.

US healthcare vs other nations2

What is $1,500,000,000,000 or $1 1/2 trillion?

Our entire annual military budget is “only” about $600 billion. Imagine all the aircraft carriers, other naval ships, Army tanks and helicopters and Air Force fighters and bombers. Add all the maintenance, and replacement of that equipment and military personnel salaries together and you get $600 billion. Our healthcare wastes over twice that every year.

The total national student debt crisis is “only” around $1 trillion dollars. Our healthcare wastes almost 1 ½ times that total every year.

Our federal deficit is “only” about $680 billion. Our healthcare waste is over twice that yearly.

We have suffered some terrible hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina destroyed $128 billion. Hurricane Sandy did $50 billion in damages. Healthcare waste costs as much as 12 hurricane Katrinas or 30 Hurricane Sandys every year.

Our healthcare waste comes to about $4,000 yearly for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

$1 1/2 trillion dollars is 9% of GDP. This means about one of every $10 spent in the U.S. yearly is for healthcare waste. We get nothing for it! With $4,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. going down the drain every year, is it any wonder we have:

1. An economy crawling along with underemployment and poor paying jobs?
2. College graduates who owe $1 trillion can’t get good jobs. Student loans defaults are a national agony and economic crisis.
3. Rampant credit card debt. Much of which is unpaid medical bills.
4. Trillions of dollars of work needed on aging bridges, sewers,  roads and power grids that are being neglected from lack of funds.
5. A secure retirement becoming a mirage for most.

Healthcare spending is still rising at about 3% per year!   It will get worse. Our population is aging and will need more care. We have rising rates of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. These will probably cause higher rates of cancer and heart disease.  All of this will add even more to healthcare spending.

Baby boomers will be retiring. Millions of doctors and nurses will be among them. As the demand for care increases, the supply of providers will shrink.   There will be doctor shortages and a worse nurse shortage than we already have. Healthcare will be rationed even more by high costs that more and more won’t be able to keep up with.

Less will be paying into Medicare and more taking out. Already many doctors refuse Medicare patients. Somewhere down the road Medicare will have financing problems just when it is needed the most.

The government is already operating in budgetary deficit. We can’t look to the government to pay for this. Preventing illness and squeezing the waste out of our healthcare are the only ways out of this. We could do a lot with $1 1/2 trillion.

We must learn from the Canadians, Japanese and Western Europeans. They have systems that have been performing for decades that we can copy from.

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  • Jerome Bigge

    If we eliminate the monopoly that doctors certainly enjoy over access to medical drugs, a monopoly that they exploit for their own economic benefit, then the cost of health care would drop considerably if people (instead of doctors and insurance companies) were making the decision whether or not they need to see a doctor. Our high cost of health care is driven by the profit seeking of the entire health care industry who always wants “more”.

  • Pepper1311

    We as well allow technicians to be paid as kings. ( physicians)