[ExI] More on US Health Care Costs

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat May 23 03:32:09 UTC 2009

2009/5/23 Dan <dan_ust at yahoo.com>:

> That said, though, the US government spends more per capita on healthcare than Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.  So the US government's level of funding is at least higher than these countries -- and they are usually touted by supporters of increasing the US government's footprint in healthcare.

That's the point: they spend more and have less to show for it, so
they are inefficient. This could be, for example, because ER's are not
supposed to refuse anyone treatment, so more patients who are
uninsured or underinsured go to ER's. By the time they get to the ER
they are more unwell than they would be if they saw a doctor earlier,
or else they aren't that unwell but the ER does a battery of tests
because that's what happens routinely to everyone who comes to an ER
anyway, "just in case". General practitioners on the other hand know
the patient, are more likely to intervene early, will provide
preventive treatment (eg. antihypertensives, screening tests,
vaccinations), and will recognise when there isn't really that much
physically wrong and the patient just needs reassurance or is actually
stressed about some personal problem. GP's are more cost-effective
than ER's, but due to ideological factors the US public health system
won't pay for everyone to have a GP.

Stathis Papaioannou

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