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America Spends More on Health Care Than Anyone (Part 2)

The problem with budget cutting strategies.

Politicians often clamor to the same often spoken of solution: slash the health care budget.  This makes sense, right?  If your household is having trouble meeting its financial obligations, the most logical course of action is to tighten the belt.  Cut out the excess.  This proven course of action will more than likely effectively address most any personal finance issue.  So why not try this common-sense approach when it comes to our bloated national health care costs?

The common-sense approach does not work when it comes to the cost of health care in America because, on closer inspection, one will quickly see that a personal financial budget has almost nothing in common with America’s health care cost dilemma.  Other than there being too much money being spent, there is nothing similar between the two circumstances at all.  American health care is a "for profit" industry.  With the exception of the patient, every person, company, product, or entity, that is part of our health care delivery system, is involved to make a profit.  Imagine trying to manage a family budget if every family member was in it for their own gain?  Budgeting would be an inescapable nightmare, in which family members are all forcefully pulling in different directions.  The situation would not be all that dissimilar from our current health care crisis.

Health care in America follows the traditional capitalistic model of other American industries: You pay a fee for services or goods.  Unfortunately, fee-for-service encourages more fees and services.  It encourages more tests, treatments and procedures, some of which are completely unnecessary.  More health care does not mean better health care.

In addition, patients are not inclined, nor are they in position to "shop around" in order to find the best price for the services they need.  Because of this, the free market force of competition, that naturally counters inflating prices and price gouging, is simply not there.  There is no real "go to" tool that one can apply to help keep medical costs reasonable.  Consumers regularly pay astounding fees for services and drugs, without a reasonable explanation.

Lastly, when one attempts to "slash" the budget within a for profit system, the segment of people that can least afford it, always get hurt the most.  Time and time again, this approached has been called for and attempted, and the result is always the same.  The most vulnerable members of our society - the poor, the elderly, the disabled, all Americans who rely upon the government to provide health care, are disproportionately effected. 

Interesting Articles:
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America Spends More on Health Care Than Anyone. (Part 3)
America Spends More on Health Care Than Anyone.


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