Health care costs and the U.S. middle class

Economics professor David Ruccio points out that, since the previous recession, the American middle class has been cutting back on spending—on everything except medical care.

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The Affordable Care Act was supposed to not only make medical care more widely available, but to make it affordable.   This hasn’t happened.  I think this is partly due to opposition by Republican governors and congressional representatives, but largely due to flaws in the law itself.

It’s a well-known fact that we Americans pay more for medical care and get less benefit than citizens of any other industrial nation.

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President Obama promised the drug companies that the U.S. government would not regulate drug prices under the Affordable Care Act.  The result is that Americans pay more for medicines than people of any other industrial nation.

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T.R. Reid, in his excellent book, The Healing of America, wrote that the reasons why we Americans pay so much for medical care are (1) for-profit insurance companies standing between American physicians and patients, and sorting patients according to their income and health status, (2) no government negotiation with drug companies on drug prices and (3) the higher compensation of American physicians and other health care providers.

Things haven’t changed since 2009, when his book was published.

A single-payer system, similar to what other advanced countries have, would eliminate the for-profit insurance companies and enable the government to negotiate with drug companies and medical care providers.  I don’t see any other way to correct the fundamental flaws of the system.

LINKS

The History of Obamacare, 2013-2016, by Lambert Strether for naked capitalism.

Unhealthy healthcare by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.  If you don’t have time to read all of Prof. Ruccio’s articles, I recommend you click on them anyway and just look at the information in his charts.

Unhealthy healthcare: pay more, get less by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

Unhealthy healthcare: workers pay by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

Unhealthy healthcare: insurers by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

Unhealthy healthcare: Big Pharma by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

Unhealthy healthcare: hospitals by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

Unhealthy healthcare: double squeeze by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

Toward a healthier healthcare system by David F. Ruccio on occasional links and commentary.

 

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One Response to “Health care costs and the U.S. middle class”

  1. Lisa the Infidel Says:

    Reblogged this on The way I see things … and commented:
    T.R. Reid, in his excellent book, The Healing of America, wrote that the reasons why we Americans pay so much for medical care are (1) for-profit insurance companies standing between American physicians and patients, and sorting patients according to their income and health status, (2) no government negotiation with drug companies on drug prices and (3) the higher compensation of American physicians and other health care providers.

    Things haven’t changed since 2009, when his book was published.

    A single-payer system, similar to what other advanced countries have, would eliminate the for-profit insurance companies and enable the government to negotiate with drug companies and medical care providers. I don’t see any other way to correct the fundamental flaws of the system.

    Like

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