Per Person, Medicare is the Most Expensive Government Health Care Program in the World

Today’s Investors Business Daily discusses a Hoover Institute report about the cost of health care in the United States.

There are couple of bullet points worth noting:

  • “Medicare already costs more per capita than any other industrial nation’s public medical program.”
  • Half of the $2 trillion dollars spent on health care per year is spent by the government.
  • Government regulations add $330 billion a year to the cost of health care.
  • Fully one half or more of the blame for the health care crisis rests on the shoulders of the government. They make up at least half of the problem.
  • Since Americans typically pay only 10% or 20% of the cost of most procedures because insurance picks up the rest of the cost, there is no incentive to monitor or “fly-speck” the cost or the charges.
  • Incentives for controlling costs and the use of health care services can be done via HSAs, which puts money and decision-making power into the hands of the patient and doctor, and away from the insurance company.

Investor Business Daily’s vision for the future of health care in the U.S. is one of consumerism by patients. IBD writes: “Right now only about 17 million Americans buy their own health insurance. If 50 million did so through HSAs, we’d see at least a 30% reduction in medical costs, studies show, thanks to increased competition in the market. By putting the patient back in charge of health care, making him a buyer as well as a user of care, a nationwide HSA rollout would create a large enough consumer-driven market to control costs.”

The economic impact of millions of consumers who pay their own medical costs out of their tax free account has been already been felt by the U.S. health care marketplace. HSA qualified health insurance plans price increases are less than those of traditional plans, and a cash based health care industry is beginning to spring up in the United States, lead by companies like MinuteClinic.

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