The real reason American health care is so expensive


Hint: single-payer won’t fix America’s health care spending.

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Americans don’t drive up the price by consuming more health care. They don’t visit the doctor more than other developed countries:
http://international.commonwealthfund.org/stats/annual_physician_visits/

But the price we pay for that visit – for a procedure – it costs way more:
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/518a3cfee4b0a77d03a62c98/t/57d3ca9529687f1a257e9e26/1473497751062/2015+Comparative+Price+Report+09.09.16.pdf

The price you pay for the same procedure, at the same hospital, may vary enormously depending on what kind of health insurance you have in the US.

That’s because of bargaining power. Government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, can ask for a lower price from health service providers because they have the numbers: the hospital has to comply or else risk losing the business of millions of Americans.

There are dozens of private health insurance providers in the United States and they each need to bargain for prices with hospitals and doctors. The numbers of people private insurances represent are much less than the government programs. That means a higher price when you go to the doctor or fill a prescription.

Uninsured individuals have the least bargaining power. Without any insurance, you will pay the highest price.

For more health care policy content, check out The Impact, a podcast about the human consequences of policy-making.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-impact/id1294325824?mt=2

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