- Why is the healthcare system in the US so chaotic and prohibitively expensive? The answer lies in the fact that the market, rather than state intervention, is the primary factor that shaped how healthcare is provided for the majority.
- Related: The Crisis of American Healthcare - Part 1
- Related: Column: The fake freedom of U.S. health care
Parson Young, Socialist Appeal
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor John Stoltenberg
Monday, March 27, 2017 | The “market-based” solution to healthcare pursued by the US government had a formative effect on how medical facilities are run in the US. The passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1966 offered federal reimbursements to hospitals caring for patients of age 65 or older, or deemed “medically indigent” by the state. This qualitatively pivoted the way medicine and public health developed in the US. The AFL-CIO participated in the campaign for Medicare, but its participants were primarily retirees rather than active workers. Medicare to this day remains the primary single-payer health insurance provider in the US. While it was indeed a byproduct of progressive struggles in the 1960s, just as all positive reforms, it falls short of being a comprehensive system for all, and remains heavily reliant on the fluctuations and anarchy of the medical market.
With the rising costs of constantly improving technology, the financial incentives provided by Medicare drove most privately owned hospitals to create a variety of business models to game the system. This led to the practice of creating a variety of medical services that can be mass produced and sold repeatedly to elderly patients. Hospitals became increasingly profit-driven—even non-profits. Physician-owned specialist clinics centered on lucrative fields like orthopedics, surgery, and cardiology also began to rise. Less profitable departments and disciplines were sidelined, then shut down. Starting in the 1980s, a process of centralization began in which hospitals were closed or absorbed in a wave of hospital mergers that continued into the 1990s. In 1996 alone, as many as 768 hospitals were involved in 235 merger deals.
Parson Young is from Taiwan.
Full story …
The Crisis of American Healthcare - Part 1
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Column: The fake freedom of U.S. health care, Anu Partanen, New York (NY) Times
No health care system is perfect. But in a nation that purports to champion freedom, the outdated disaster that is the U.S. health care system is taking that freedom away.