Archive for Monday, July 25, 2005

Health costs

July 25, 2005


To the editor:

A recent study finds "U.S. health care highest in the world" (Journal-World, July 14). The article presents various information: United States per capita health care is 50 percent higher than the second highest country; malpractice awards are minor added expenses; Americans see doctors less often and spend 20 percent fewer days in the hospital.

In other words, for all the money families, corporations and government agencies pay toward health care, we're not receiving as much care per person as people in 29 other nations. The article neglects to mention that this less expensive, more available health care is nationally administered. Even in this country, Medicare, the one nationally, governmentally administered system, is more efficient dollarwise - about 3.5 percent overhead - versus 15 percent to 20 percent overhead for private insurers.

"It is the price of care, not the amount of care delivered (which is) ... the primary difference between the United States and other countries." That extra overhead for private insurance profits and excessive executive salaries has a lot to do with the skyrocketing cost of medical care here. Add in all the additional staff every doctor's office pays to process paperwork, to prove that the medical care administered is within the terms of an insurer's policy. No wonder the costs of care are high here.

We have an attitude, derived from neoconservative and neoliberal rhetoric, that government always works inefficiently. With health insurance this clearly isn't so. Let's cut the overhead. We need national single-payer health insurance.

Mark Larson,



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