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Analysis

To Slow Costs, Slow Revenue, Says Healthcare Economist

By Tinker Ready  
   September 22, 2016

The problem is whether they really use their bigness to make things better, or if they just use it to generate higher revenue.

There is a lot of evidence that they are just using it to make revenue, that they are not that much more efficient or efficient at all because they are tied into a big mother shop that needs to be fed.

HLM: A lot of people are very optimistic about ACOs, value-based payments, and other changes built into the ACA. You don't sound optimistic.

ALTMAN: I'm not super negative, but I've been around a long time. I don't want to be too cynical. I believe ultimately the only way to slow the costs is to slow the revenue.

The healthcare system in America is a big money machine. I don't blame the hospitals; I don't blame anyone alone. But we are all a part of the big money machine and it is very expensive on a lot of levels.

If you compare American to other countries, it's not that we use too much healthcare. It's that the prices are much too high.

If anything, I think the American system is more efficient than Europe in many respects. We don't go to the hospital as often. We have shorter lengths of stay; we don't go to the doctor as much. But, what we do do is very expensive.

This is the second of two parts. Read part 1.

Tinker Ready is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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