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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-12 01:53 AM
Original message
Health care costs rose twice as much as inflation while care decreased.
Edited on Tue May-22-12 02:15 AM by No Elephants
Health care costs rose faster than inflation despite weak economy

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

Higher prices charged by hospitals, outpatient centers and other providers drove up health care spending at double the rate of inflation amid the weak economy -- even as patients consumed less medical care overall, according to a new study.

Prices rose at least five times faster than overall inflation for emergency room visits, outpatient surgery and facility-based mental health and substance abuse care from 2009 to 2010, says the report by the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonpartisan research group funded by insurers. Prices declined in only one category: Nursing home care, which saw a 3.2 percent drop in the cost per admission.

One of the areas with the fastest growing spending, meanwhile, was children's medical care.

"The story really does seem to be prices," said Martin Gaynor, chair of the institute's governing board and a health care economist at Carnegie Mellon University.

A couple of years ago, even before this increase, I entered the Emergency Room of Mass General Hospital in the wee hours of a Thursday morning.

After X-rays revealed a gut problem, I was admitted. (The diagnosis was fairly routine: I'd had massive gut surgery at the same hospital in 1996 and been into the same hospital with similar problems several times since 1996.)

The only treatment was IV nutrition Thursday and Friday, so that my gut could do as little work as possible. By Saturday morning, I was back on solid food.

I was discharged Saturday evening, so the admission lasted about two full days (added to the several hours of the Emergency Room visit.)

It was Thanksgiving weekend and the highest rank doc I saw either in the ER or in the hospital was a surgery resident.

The bill was almost $20,000.

In addition to what it charges patients, Mass General gets many grants and charitable gifts from all over the world. It also has lots of volunteers. Probably no hospital in the U.S. is better endowed.
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-12 02:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet
Once the Supreme Court overturns the ACA, the insurers will reward themselves with bigger and more frequent rate increases than ever before.
They will know that the Supreme Court has their backs, and nobody can do a thing about it.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-12 03:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. They rewarded themselves with increases after ACA passed anyway.
Edited on Tue May-22-12 04:06 AM by No Elephants
No surprise. They did the same thing in Massachusetts after Romneycare passed.

Please let's not pretend ACA is a cure all (no pun intended) or that the Republicans and Democrats are so very different on this issue.

Whether the Supreme Court likes ACA or not, it was modeled on Romneycare and the idea for Romneycare, like the idea for Hillarycare, came from the Heritage Foundation, a Republican think tank. And all of the foregoing are to the right of Nixoncare.

It's also no surprise that the individual mandate, the most "right wing" provision of ACA, might render ACA unconstitutional. That was raised long before the bill ever passed and was THE perfect excuse for either single payer or a strong public option.

Candidly, I'm not sure that I want the SCOTUS to recognize a Constitutional power in government to tell me I have to buy anything from any private company.

It's bad enough that it recognized a Constitutional power in government to use eminent domain for the benefit of a private company (Pfizer). That did not work out too well.

At least, though, someone protesting eminent domain has a right to a court proceeding, not simply some act of a legislature that is bought and paid for by lobbyists.

I keep hoping that, at some point, we get that the real fight is between us and the lobbyist run government.
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