Quote of the Day
I don't know what I think until I write it down.
— Joan Didion
I have family members who are involved in the US health care system and we often talk about what is good and bad about our system. Once aspect of the our system that none of us understand is why it is so costly considering the level of service it provides. I have tried to become more informed on the subject by reading all I can, including the books by Atul Gawande ? which are excellent. However, the answer still eludes me.
Clearly, there are countries that have good medical care for less cost than in the US. One of the engineers in my group was on vacation recently in Sweden with his family. While in Sweden, his daughter fell off her bicycle and broke her arm. She was taken to a hospital in Stockholm where he said his daughter received excellent treatment. He said that followup visits in Estonia and Iceland were also done efficiently and professionally. I have also talked to an engineer in our group from France, who also mentioned the excellent medical care that he received when he lived there.
During my reading, I encountered Figure 1, which shows a chart of life expectancy versus per capita health care expenditures (source).
I am stunned at our mediocre longevity outcome for such exorbitant costs. Another aspect of this cost that I do not understand is how much more US health care costs are dominated by the expenses for the elderly than in other countries (see this post). Everyone spends more on treating the elderly than they do for young people, but not like the US. This is even despite insurance policies being taken out. Dental insurance is often recommended for seniors since their dental expenses usually increase with age. In order to save money they should get a discount plan as early as possible, but this doesn't seem to have much of an impact on the cost of their care for the state.
More research to follow …