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The real reason American health care is so expensive



Hint: single-payer won’t fix America’s health care spending.

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Americans don’t drive up the price by consuming more health care. They don’t visit the doctor more than other developed countries:
http://international.commonwealthfund.org/stats/annual_physician_visits/

But the price we pay for that visit – for a procedure – it costs way more:
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/518a3cfee4b0a77d03a62c98/t/57d3ca9529687f1a257e9e26/1473497751062/2015+Comparative+Price+Report+09.09.16.pdf

The price you pay for the same procedure, at the same hospital, may vary enormously depending on what kind of health insurance you have in the US.

That’s because of bargaining power. Government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, can ask for a lower price from health service providers because they have the numbers: the hospital has to comply or else risk losing the business of millions of Americans.

There are dozens of private health insurance providers in the United States and they each need to bargain for prices with hospitals and doctors. The numbers of people private insurances represent are much less than the government programs. That means a higher price when you go to the doctor or fill a prescription.

Uninsured individuals have the least bargaining power. Without any insurance, you will pay the highest price.

For more health care policy content, check out The Impact, a podcast about the human consequences of policy-making.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-impact/id1294325824?mt=2

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22 comments

  1. Federal Regulation + Cost Control = Affordability out of POCKET

  2. Is it just me, or is dental care also overpriced? Ik people go all the way to Mexico just to get a cheaper procedure.

  3. Healthcare in the US is so expensive because of the government. But Vox is telling me that we should give the government yet more power to control it?

  4. This video doesn’t address government regulation on the healthcare system in the US that also drives up costs. The US regulates medical and drug developments much harsher than many of these other countries.

    Forcing one person to pay for another’s healthcare is immoral. But so is the system currently in existence. We need to require hospitals clearly state prices, get rid of insurance altogether, and deregulate the business to allow for increased innovation at lower costs. Single-payer means no competition, which means stifled innovation and less desire to provide quality service. Nobody has to fight for your money. The transaction isn’t won, it’s guaranteed.

    Also, I find the claim that America has a free market healthcare system to be laughably dishonest. There is nothing free market about the system. It’s heavily regulated and incredibly crony, and the very existence of government programs like Medicaid, Medicare, the FDA, and the CDC make it far from capitalism.

  5. What do you mean by “negotiating” prices?

  6. Im so glad that i live in Malaysia. The no 1 best healthcare for the world category in 2019. It cost us less than a pound to see a specialist…

  7. Oh The Say Can’t YOU SEE YOU NEED FREE HEALTHCARE, Isn’t Democracy For The Slaves Why Did You Even Make The Choice, What Was The Civil War For, Is It For The *Slaves*, Their Are Drugs In Your Nation. [ But I Mean No Offense. ]

  8. No such thing as a free market and this especially applies to the American Medical industrial complex. This is why you need government oversight and standards of practice to keep costs in check. Most of what the US pays is not even going to medical services, it's going to administrative costs and duplicated administrative costs. Yes there is some private industry in the Canadian medical community but it's all regulated by the Canadian government to prevent graft, and dubious administrative costs from private industry. The amazing part is, most of the private medical industry still get generously compensated due to lack of a large, bloated administrative complex.

  9. New concept America, it's quite simple so you can understand it. Health care is not free in European countries. We all pay for it in taxes. It's healthy majority taking care of sick minority. Y'all just don't have a sense of collective. No wonder Norway called you a third world country.

  10. Yeah but Public spending in other countries covers more than Public spending in America does

  11. Too many sues and too many expensive workers

  12. American where rich get everything they want without hardworking and the poor get nothing even they are hardworking

  13. I don't really know much about healthcare in Australia

    but can you imagine having to pay to give birth? or maybe paying to solve the flu because the flu shot cost too much?

  14. God living in Denmark is wonderful.

  15. So long as healthcare is profit driven and not people driven then it will never be a just system

  16. Public is more efficient. You libtardarians can say private is better all you want but that doesn't make it so.

  17. Because it is a human right in most other developed countries.

  18. Because it isn't healthcare.

  19. thank god its free in soudi arabia

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