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No End In Sight to Rising Healthcare Costs



Providers say they're working to decrease healthcare costs, but the bills keep mounting. There are more than a few culprits here: the economy, hospitals, insurers, employers, even physicians. High-deductible health plans aren't the answer; people don't shop around for bargains when they're sick. It all adds up to a dim financial future for patients and providers.



5 comments on "No End In Sight to Rising Healthcare Costs"
chuck (10/26/2010 at 11:29 AM)

Let's get real[INVALID]you want to REALLY cut costs?? Do what all the other industrialized countries of the world have already done[INVALID]go to a SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM for EVERYONE. This reduces costs drastically by eliminating the 25% of costs that go to administrative waste and demands universal healthcare standards so outcomes are better. Single Payer also allows for preventive care to take precedence over medical care. Plus. sigle payer covers everyone[INVALID]1/6th of Americans will no longer be uninsured, costing us even more in the long run. Unfortunately in the US, so many people are making money off the current system that they don't really want it to change[INVALID]insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, etc., want the current system to stay in place so their profits won't be harmed. Of course, no one is really looking long-term when an inevitable system collapse will harm ALL profits. Little fixes like high deductible health plans, malpractice reform, etc., may make mild improvements to the system, but they're not stopping this runaway train. DRASTIC measures need to be taken if everyone is really serious about reducing spending for healthcare.
bob (10/26/2010 at 9:57 AM)

No knowledgeable analyst has ever expected health care costs to decrease during the next decade. Rather, the goal is to reduce the rate of increase. If the rate of increase will be reduced annually by just one per cent, that will make a tremendous difference in Medicare expenditures and everything else. Notice that S&P just reported that "looking across the family of S&P Healthcare Indices, we have seen a trend of moderation in the annual growth rates, particularly in the last 12 months. This is most prominent with Medicare claims costs. In November 2009 those costs were rising at an annual rate of 7.94%. With August's report we see that the rate has fallen to +5.08%. That is the big news. Spread the word!
bob (10/26/2010 at 9:42 AM)

No knowledgeable analyst has ever expected healthcare costs to stop rising in the decade ahead. The goal is to bend the cost curve and decrease the rate of increase. If the rate of increase goes down just one per cent annually during the decade, that will make a tremendous difference in Medicare expenditures and everything else. That is what is going on right now. Notice that S&P reports that "looking across the family of S&P Healthcare Indices, we have seen a trend of moderation in the annual growth rates, particularly in the last 12 months. This is most prominent with Medicare claims costs. In November 2009 those costs were rising at an annual rate of 7.94%. With August's report we see that the rate has fallen to +5.08%." That is the big news!
Jerry Scherer (10/25/2010 at 4:42 PM)

Healthcare industry stakeholders (providers, payers, government, vendors, consumers and others) are working diligently to reduce healthcare costs and with significant success. It is clear, however, that for every one step forward we take one plus back. Efficiencies are seemingly instantaneously consumed by increased healthcare demands that have no apparent limit ... thus there is no light at the end of the tunnel but simply more tunnel. Results to-date validate that the more we send on individual efficiencies the more the total cost increases. Unfortunately we are rapidly approaching a point of geometric progression that could have disastrous consequences for the industry and the economy. To reverse this trend, consumers must engage and accept accountability for their health choices. Health is a "jagged line" unique to each individual; each individual must determine what is appropriate for them. Consumers need to identify the acceptable limits and manage their demand. I don't believe that government or others could or should do that for us. Education is the essential first step. We need to look in the right place to find the answer to our health cost conundrum.
Jim S (10/25/2010 at 2:14 PM)

Don't be so quick to discount the affect of consumer directed health care. I agree that once in dire need of medical care, people are not looking for the best bargain. At the same time we got to this position where medical costs are escalating much faster than other items because of unlimited demand created by the fact that consumers/patients paid very little of the cost of the service. We easily understand the fact that if we increase the deductible under our auto or home owners insurance we can decrease the premium. However, for some reason we think we shouldn't have any financial consequences when we abuse or fail to take care of our bodies Yes, it can be a bit painful to pay medical bills, but most of us have no problem taking out a $20,000 car loan to buy a new car. Certainly our health is every bit as important. We need to be involved in the cost of the product or service in order to control the value and the quality of the service. Lasik eye surgery costs a fraction of what it did when first performed, and the quality of the service is far better than it was in the past. Guess what - there is no insurance coverage for that surgery.