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Statistics by McKinsey & Company – “Accounting for the Cost of Health Care in the United States.”

Ryan’s Ramblings: Health care bankrupting the nation

When the editor of LarsonAllen publications writes an editorial about the cost of health care, it pays for the rest of us to listen.

After all, LarsonAllen is the accountant for many companies.

“Employers are expected to offer some sort of health-care benefit, but each year they must announce that health-care costs have risen again and that the employees will be taking on part of the increase,” said Paul Pfeiffer, editor, LarsonAllen publications.

“For years we have seen all sorts of calls for health-care reform. And while the bickering proceeds, the patient – our health-care system – is sitting in the office looking very pale,” Pfeiffer said.

He lists some statistics by McKinsey & Company – “Accounting for the Cost of Health Care in the United States.”

• The United States spends $1,645 per capita more on health care than peer countries do. However, our country does not deliver “objectively better quality and access for U.S. citizens.”

• Drug costs to the U.S. health-care system are 50 to 70 percent higher in the United States than in peer nations.

• In 2003, the United States spent nearly six times as much on health-care administration and insurance as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average.

• In the U.S. private sector, 64 percent of the administrative costs incurred by private payors are due to underwriting health risks, and sales and marketing – costs that do not arise in the public systems of most OECD countries.

Pfeiffer concluded, “What I fear most in terms of health-care reform is no change – because, really, there are few stops after critical condition.”

I’m among the fortunate. I can still afford what I pay for health-care insurance. That may change if the costs continue to rise.

It really is time that we consider a single-payer health system. Oh, yes, I know you have heard the Canadian horror stories of someone who had to wait six months for heart surgery.

A single-payer system does prioritize access. I might have to wait awhile to get a knee replacement. It’s not life-threatening, just an annoyance at times. I’ll gladly wait my turn if it means that all of our children are covered by health insurance.

Have you noticed the number of stories in magazines about people going to India or some other third-world country for surgery?

That should tell you there’s a problem with our health care system.

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