Here is another reason why Americans pay twice as much for their medical care as other rich countries. It does of course involve money - money from taxpayers, employers and consumers.
Incidentally, although we pay twice as much as all the other rich civilized countries in the world, we do NOT get better care - as most people believe. We believe this because we are told it repeatedly, over and over, and again and again, by the medical profession, insurance companies and the politicians, who are paid off by them. If you are told something, anything, often enough you will believe it. The average American has a shorter lifespan than the citizens of the other rich nations - in spite of paying twice as much for health care.
The rip offs, scams, thefts, etc that I refer to I was reading about in our local newspaper the Baltimore Sun. They described about a dozen ways that it is done, each one described in detail.
I won't bore you with them all, but one involves paybacks to Doctors. The testing company involved gave cash paybacks to Doctors to send business to them - many, if not most, tests sent out were not necessary or needed. Doctors were paid as much as $200 cash for some tests (For each test!) The same company would send their representatives to Doctors offices to pick up urine samples for tests. They would then do the test that the Doctor wanted - plus they would do other tests that were not asked for and bill the Insurance company or Medicare or Medicaid for the extra tests. (To understand this better you should read here "They billed YOU"!) Who else pays for it? That's right, you pay for the kickbacks, the unnecessary tests and all that in the form of your health insurance premium and Medicare premium - YOU pay for the tests. To the tune of HALF of your insurance premium! Remember we pay TWICE as much as all the other rich civilized countries pay. And we live shorter lives. Got that? We pay twice as much, for less care. HALF of your health costs go to pay greedy doctors, testing companies and politicians (For payoffs) Payoffs paid for by US with OUR money. Not paid for by the insurance companies, as many people think - "They have plenty of money, they can afford it." ALL the money that the insurance companies have comes from us. So, when the insurance company pays for an unnecessary test, they just raise the premium we pay. If you are thinking, "Well I don't pay an insurance premium, my company does", or my State or The federal government if you work for the state, wrong again, if your company is paying $300 to $500 a week for your insurance premium (A normal amount for a family with children) when the amount should be $150 to $250 that is $150 to $250 more that they could afford to put in your paycheck every week!
The rip offs of Medicare and Medicaid are unbelievable. Sixty Minutes did an investigation last year and found THOUSANDS of companies that rip off Medicare and Medicaid. All they do is bill Medicare and Medicaid. Yes, you read it right, all those thousands of companies do is bill Medicare and Medicaid. They don't do any tests, supply any drugs, wheelchairs, walkers, splints, bandages, false arms and legs, heart pumps, or ANYTHING. They just BILL the Government (That's us) for those things. They don't supply anything, they just bill for them. No one supplies them, they don't exist, they bill the government for them. And good old Uncle Sam pays, promptly. BILLIONS of dollars a year are wasted (I prefer stolen) in this way. And every single dollar that is stolen comes out of our pockets. Not out of the insurance company, not out of the Federal treasury - out of your pocket. Next time you send in your premium, remember that - half of it goes to thieves of one form or another, and if your company pays your premium your paycheck could be several hundred dollars more every week if you weren't paying those thieves. (When I was working I paid $1,048 a month in health insurance premiums for just Julia and myself. And it wasn't that great an insurance. Now with Medicare, and the Medigap, and the Part D premiums we "only" pay about $600 a month) Don't forget now, HALF of your premium goes to scammers, rip off artists, dishonest doctors and politicians. Maybe more than half, because that would only make our premiums the same as the other rich countries and some of this must happen there.
Doctors get bribed for referrals. Doctors do unnecessary operations. One hospital in Baltimore did thousands of heart operations involving Stents, mostly by one Doctor (Who gave classes on how to sell them!) It was determined that 80% to 90% of the operations that they did were not necessary! (I guess they were necessary to the Doctors who did them, so they could make the payments on their his and hers Mercedes, their sailboats, private jets etc.) - in case you think I am jealous of someone having these things that I don't have (I am) my real objection is my paying for them, out of MY pocket. Hey, if I could pay the health insurance premium that my counterpart in say Japan pays, maybe I could afford a Mercedes - instead of which I am paying for someone else's toys.
Talking of Japan, here's an interesting fact. I get an MRI done every year - to check on the progress of my brain tumor - it costs $1,500.00. The same MRI in Japan costs - are you ready for this $93.00. True.
Of course we also pay exorbitant salaries and "bonuses" to the health insurance company executives. We also pay double for our drugs (as compared to other countries) because half the costs of the drugs go to advertising them. You didn't know that? Oh yes, no other country allows advertising of drugs. Half of the cost of your drug is what the drug companies pay to advertise them! That has another side effect - not only does it increase the cost of the drug, it also makes people ask their doctor for them. "Doctor, can I get that XXXX drug? I saw it on TV/Radio/Magazine/Newspaper." The Doctor then, as often as not, prescribes it, because he doesn't want to lose you as a patient. So, you (we) pay for an unnecessary drug. Plus you are taking an unnecessary drug - could that be helping with our shortened lifespans as compared to Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, France, U.K., Germany etc, etc, etc who pay HALF of what we pay for health care and live longer?
Think about it!