Comparison of healthcare costs (1 Viewer)

Beast

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“The data show government health-care spending per capita in the United States and Canada. The United States spends more. And that’s not more per person who gets government health insurance, it’s more per resident. And yet Canada covers all its citizens, and we don’t. That should be considered shocking stuff, and yet I rarely hear it mentioned.”
Two charts that should be in every health-care discussion
 

jcollins9

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The US covers more people than the Canadian Govt does.
Canada has a population of about 35 million.

The US has about 58 million on medicade, 48 million on medicare, and about 4.5 million covered employees.

That's almost 3 times as many people to cover.
 

Oye

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The US covers more people than the Canadian Govt does.
Canada has a population of about 35 million.
There is something to the numbers argument.

But it's all relative, right? The US's resources - because of a higher population - come into the equation.

It's not like we're talking about 30 million people (Canadians) contributing to a system to pay for 300 million people (Americans).

We're talking about 300 million people contributing to a system that pays for 300 million people.

Public school funding exists in small cities in the US as well as large cities in the US. You don't hear San Francisco saying, "Look, Lake Charles can pay for public education because they have 80,000 people but we can't because we have 800,000 people."

Like I said, there are considerable demographic issues to consider, but this flat dismissal based on a single comparative number of population doesn't seem to make a compelling case.

And if you're making a 'per capita' case, I still don't see anything persuasive, because you don't really address that, either. The US covers more, so it would - understandably - spend more overall. But that's not the issue raised in the OP.
 

drob8785

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The US covers more people than the Canadian Govt does.
Canada has a population of about 35 million.

The US has about 58 million on medicade, 48 million on medicare, and about 4.5 million covered employees.

That's almost 3 times as many people to cover.
The US is still #1 even when you look at per capita numbers.

These numbers are pulled from the OECD -- you can find them all at OECD Statistics (GDP, unemployment, income, population, labour, education, trade, finance, prices,health,debt...)

And the picture gets worse when you consider our overal health outcomes. WHO studies have ranked our system at 37th, between Costa Rica and Slovenia. The New England Journal of Medicine points out that in 2006, the United States was number 1 in terms of health care spending per capita but ranked 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for adult female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortality, and 36th for life expectancy.

We spend the most for really bad system.
 

whodatdabeaux

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We are the third largest and most modernized country in the world. While I'm not saying the system is not broken, I don't get the comparison to other countries.
 

coldseat

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What gets me, is that all of this is propped up and supported by many for the illusion of choice that is thought to be gained from a capitalist system. But truthfully speaking, I don't feel I have any choice. I pretty much get the insurance my employer chooses, with the deductibles and co-pays and doctors within that plan that come with it. Sure, my employer chooses the medical insurance, but not me. I guess I could change jobs for just medical insurance (I know of people who have), but that doesn't really qualify as choice. Add to that end, I never know what it's going to cost when I go to the doctor or need a procedure. You go, get what it is deemed you "need" and then you're stuck with the resultant bill.

I pay out the *** for family medical insurance, but because of how much it cost me just to have it and the deductible associated with care, I can't even afford to have medical care that me or my family need because we don't have enough money for it after paying for the plan, co-pays, medicine, etc. So what's the point? I guess that's my way of saying, yes our system of medicine sucks. Everything is geared for the insurances, doctors, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, etc. to make money and the person last considered is the patient.
 

BuffaloSaint

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The process of paying for healthcare is horrible. I've got to go get a cyst removed off of my vocal cord next Monday(I'm thinking the years of yelling on Sundays has finally caught up to me). I've spent the last three days trying to figure out how much it will cost and was told today that I will not be able to. I'm going to be put to sleep for one hour and the Dr. will charge me $278, The anestesia will cost about 1k, Not too bad. Then the hospital told me anywhere from 8k to 20k and now we're talking about real money. After talking to my insurance company they said that each charge is negotiated separately(Does this make sense to anyone?). She seemed to think it would be somewhere around 3k. Well I've got a deductible of 2.5k and then a yearly max of 4.5k so after 5 hours of phone calls over 3 days, I still am not sure how much of my savings will be gone after this stupid thing.
 

drob8785

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We are the third largest and most modernized country in the world. While I'm not saying the system is not broken, I don't get the comparison to other countries.
What about the comparisons are you having issues with?

Yes, we're the most populous country in the world. But those numbers per capita numbers mean per person, not per user.

Think about that -- using jcollins's numbers, US Federal health care programs cover roughly 110.5 million people, which is roughly a third of our population. And yet, we spend more per person (not per user) than pretty much every other country, to cover only a third of our population. The other country's on that graph? They spend less per person (not per user), to cover 100% of their population.

The graph you posted is of private spending per capita (again, per person, not per user). We're unsurprisingly #1 again, since we have a primarily private health care system.

Prior to the ACA there were roughly 48 million uninsured. So we spend more per person in both public and private health spending, and yet ~15% of our population miss out on coverage.
 

Galbreath34

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The US covers more people than the Canadian Govt does.
Canada has a population of about 35 million.

The US has about 58 million on medicade, 48 million on medicare, and about 4.5 million covered employees.

That's almost 3 times as many people to cover.
Except the numbers are per captia = per person.
 

Le_Moyne

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As a foreigner who has lived and work in many different countries (France, Canada, US, South Africa....), growing up and living in a very "medical" family (5-6 doctors in my family, my uncle has been running hospital for 20 years, my wife is a doctor who worked in France, Canada and US,...), I can give an "outsider" opinion.

I have never understood the american health care system. From my experience with doctors in other countries, choosing a medical career was, for them, a choice based mostly on prestige and in the large majority of cases, on a real need to help people. You don't make this choice for money because if it was the case, you would do something else considering how much work and how long it takes for these doctors to actually become rich. In the US, the situation is very different. Although the prestige and "helping the other" aspect are there as well, making money...a LOT of money, is also one of the main factor.

Of course, the salary of US doctor is not the number 1 reason why the health care system is so cost-uneffective but it is a clear indicator that the medical world in the US is seen very differently than in other countries. In the US, it is a business, and like every buisness, it's primary goal is to make money. Why does it often cost twice more (if not three times) to get the same treatment in the US than in Europe or Canada? I am not even talking about heavy procedure because I do not have the knowledge or the data for it but minor, "every day" kind of stuff, dentist, broken bones or stitches....

How can you guys accept it? Do most american actually believe in the myth that it is more expensive because the quality of service is better? Because this is not true at all. In fact I often felt better treated in European or Canadian hospitals....in part because the first thing they asked me wasn't about how I was going to pay but what was wrong with me.

Maybe you will find a few examples of people in these countries who could have received better care in the US, IF they had great medical coverage......but for each of these cases, I will find a 100 cases of poor people in the US who would have got better treatment in other countries.

The changes brought by the Obama administration are a good start but it won't solve the problem until your government, like every other western countries, fixed the prices for medical treatment. No reason for the exact same drug to cost 70% more in the US than in Europe
 

Galbreath34

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Protecting doctor salaries is certainly a rallying point for all who want to contain costs here in the states. The argument put forward is that if we don't pay extremely well we will not have any good doctors (we certainly wouldn't have ones motivated primarily by money, on that I agree).

We also overpay extremely for unnecessary and useless precision in tests, again under the guise of best medicine possible, when there really is no discernible advantage to the more expensive tests.

As a simple example, there are two common resolutions in MRIs. When you need to see small detail in internal organs the higher resolution scans requiring more expensive hardware have value. For knees and many common other scans, the added resolution is worthless. MRIs in the US often cost 5-8000 dollars. I think the average is a little over $1000, largely because many hospitals don't even bother buying the lower resolution scanners, knowing they can force patients to pay for the higher resolution. I think it's less than $300 on average in Europe, and under $100 in Japan, with the low res scan set at under $20 by their national health care system. It's also jacked because Siemens sells the exact same equipment for 1/4 the price they do in the US. How much of this is regulation, and how much of this is just getting away with it because they can, I don't really know.

Until we have a single-payer system, I doubt there's much chance we can catch up with the other modern countries in containing health care costs. The combined medical and insurance lobbies are very strong, though, and the pharmaceuticals too.

The thread started out about government spending per capita, but if you throw in all the private spending we do on insurance, copays, pharmaceuticals, it's scary and has been steadily accelerating. Combined private and government spending was less than 10% of our GDP in 2000. It was 15.2% in 2008, and 17.6% in 2010, and is probably nearly 20% currently. List of countries by total health expenditure (PPP) per capita - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

People here don't realize that even if it meant a real sacrifice in the absolute best care (which I don't think by any means it really would mean), to get our health care costs back down to 10% and stable would be like giving every citizen a 10% tax cut, every corporation who provides health care benefits a 10% cost cut, and the government a 10% cut in spending. Sure the proportions of who gets what may be skewed and not even as I suggested, but think of what a huge boost that would be to our economy and standard of living.

Still, the medical lobbies and their strong advertising on TV (here they advertise brand names for psychiatric drugs even) have gotten people hooked on the fear that unless they pay the very dearest cost, their lives are at risk. There's been a long running ad for Lipitor with Jarvik as a celebrity doctor suggesting that other statins are inferior and you should argue with your doctor until he gives you Lipitor by brand name, despite the fact that there's no clinical evidence to support that. He segues right from the absolutely required factual claim that Lipitor is one of many treatment considered equal by medicine, to saying "But could you do more with Lipitor?" We're brainwashed as a nation and deserve the punishment we're getting.


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/k6dISi4nCL8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

nolaswede

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As a foreigner who has lived and work in many different countries (France, Canada, US, South Africa....), growing up and living in a very "medical" family (5-6 doctors in my family, my uncle has been running hospital for 20 years, my wife is a doctor who worked in France, Canada and US,...), I can give an "outsider" opinion.

I have never understood the american health care system. From my experience with doctors in other countries, choosing a medical career was, for them, a choice based mostly on prestige and in the large majority of cases, on a real need to help people. You don't make this choice for money because if it was the case, you would do something else considering how much work and how long it takes for these doctors to actually become rich. In the US, the situation is very different. Although the prestige and "helping the other" aspect are there as well, making money...a LOT of money, is also one of the main factor.

Of course, the salary of US doctor is not the number 1 reason why the health care system is so cost-uneffective but it is a clear indicator that the medical world in the US is seen very differently than in other countries. In the US, it is a business, and like every buisness, it's primary goal is to make money. Why does it often cost twice more (if not three times) to get the same treatment in the US than in Europe or Canada? I am not even talking about heavy procedure because I do not have the knowledge or the data for it but minor, "every day" kind of stuff, dentist, broken bones or stitches....

How can you guys accept it? Do most american actually believe in the myth that it is more expensive because the quality of service is better? Because this is not true at all. In fact I often felt better treated in European or Canadian hospitals....in part because the first thing they asked me wasn't about how I was going to pay but what was wrong with me.

Maybe you will find a few examples of people in these countries who could have received better care in the US, IF they had great medical coverage......but for each of these cases, I will find a 100 cases of poor people in the US who would have got better treatment in other countries.

The changes brought by the Obama administration are a good start but it won't solve the problem until your government, like every other western countries, fixed the prices for medical treatment. No reason for the exact same drug to cost 70% more in the US than in Europe

Great post. I can really only compare it to Sweden, but I feel like its a big difference between the way I have been treated by doctors. Unless I know the actual doctor in the U.S., they are more interested in seeing the next customer instead of helping the actual client. However, when I did know the doctor or the PT, they have been amazing and very helpful. I believe its a cultural thing and its tough to change and people are scared that if its either the American way or a third world country. Which is completely untrue.

I wish more people could go to Sweden etc and see that hospitals etc are more modern and efficent. Until then, people won't be able to see that there are other possibilities out there.
 

wcklink

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There is something to the numbers argument.

But it's all relative, right? The US's resources - because of a higher population - come into the equation.

It's not like we're talking about 30 million people (Canadians) contributing to a system to pay for 300 million people (Americans).

We're talking about 300 million people contributing to a system that pays for 300 million people.

Public school funding exists in small cities in the US as well as large cities in the US. You don't hear San Francisco saying, "Look, Lake Charles can pay for public education because they have 80,000 people but we can't because we have 800,000 people."

Like I said, there are considerable demographic issues to consider, but this flat dismissal based on a single comparative number of population doesn't seem to make a compelling case.

And if you're making a 'per capita' case, I still don't see anything persuasive, because you don't really address that, either. The US covers more, so it would - understandably - spend more overall. But that's not the issue raised in the OP.
Well unfortunately it's not 300M paying for 300M, and all comparisons I ever see are to relatively smaller populations with a more homogeneous population with similar health issues and generally better standard of health.
 

Cosmic201

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Well unfortunately it's not 300M paying for 300M, and all comparisons I ever see are to relatively smaller populations with a more homogeneous population with similar health issues and generally better standard of health.


You seem to have an image in your head of Canada that doesn't really match reality.


I assume by homogeneous population, you mean a more white population.
It is true, Canada is about 83% white. But the United States is 80% white. Now, Canada's minorities tend to be more Asian in nature than ours, but Demographically we are similar in terms of homogeneous.

Your next part is kind of a chicken or an egg sort of deal. Are Canadians in better overall health because of their healthcare system or is their healthcare system cheaper and better than ours because they are in better overall health.



And the idea that all 30 million Canadians are paying for 30 million health coverage is ludicrous.
 

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