The U.S. health care system is a product of WW II. At the time, employers were prohibited by law from directly raising wages, so they did it indirectly by offering benefits, medical benefits in this case. This way they could attract better workers. Thus they set a precedent that picked up speed and became the norm. Hence, the U.S. health care system was never planned, it just happened. This is why the U.S. is the only country in the world with an employer based health care system. The problem is that our existing system is broken, and there is an open question if it can be fixed.
In 1960 5% of GDP went to health care. This increased to 14% in 2000 and has further increased to 18% of GDP today. Further complicating the problem is that we have an aging demographic, resulting in health care costs going up faster than household incomes. If you assume we stay on the existing track, health care would take 100% of GDP in about 80 years. No food, water, shelter, etc. and we would all be dead, so it is clear the system will be changed.
Why is it that the U.S. spends twice as much per capita and 50% more as a share of GDP than other industrialized nations?
Politically, there is no consensus on health care, so it will be impossible to fix it. One would think though that it should be available to everyone on a fair and equitable basis. A very low end Blue Cross Blue Shield type benefit program perhaps. Those with more money could then buy premium coverage.
Any system that would work though is going to have to be a central payer system, using tough fair rules, and a low cost end of life treatment (pain and nausia). In this environment insurance companies (except for premium plans) should not exist. There should be no tort system, but instead something like a workers compensation system where an person who did not receive standard of care treatment would get a nominal payment based upon a grid schedule.
The no brainer change would be to reform the legal system! It is obscene what doctor's pay for malpractice insurance compared to Europe! The problem is half the politicians including the president are lawyers!
Yes, I agree, but there are a lot bigger issues/problems. Insurance companies should not exist. The private sector is a proven case of failure when it comes to providing national health care. Insurance companies serve no useful purpose. A single payer system is needed. One with tough, fair, but sometimes flexible rules. One that can adjust for differences in geographic areas. One set of rules, one set of codes, everyone knows they have the coverage of the basic (but not perfect) plan. If other countries can do a "pretty good" job of delivering health care to everyone, why can't the rah rah bigger and better U.S. do it? Other countries have plenty of problems too. Greed up and down the line in the U.S. A food industry that feeds us #$%$ and turns us all into fatty pork chops. People that don't want to be accountable for their own health. We are a bunch of diabetic pork chop pigs, yea rah rah U.S.A. Insurance companies give us a million plans, all differ, all designed to confuse us, all designed to screw us, all in the name of corporate profits. Plus we have a financial system that is an ever growing black hole.
I agree about tort reform, but that is perhaps 2% of the cost problem. Definitely worth doing ASAP though.