The gentleman who wrote the riveting “Time” article on spiraling health care costs recently had to have open heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm.
In the new issue of “Time,” (Jan. 19, 2015) Steven Brill shares some of his firsthand experience(s) with our health care system—specifically at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.
I share some fascinating factoids that Mr. Brill lists in that article below:
1) We spend $17 billion a year on artificial knees and hips, which is 55% more than Hollywood takes in at the box office.
2) America’s total health care bill for 2014 was $3 trillion.
3) America’s total health care bill of $3 trillion in 2014 was more than the next 10 biggest spenders combined (Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia.)
4) There are 31.5 MRI machines per 1 million people in the U.S., but just 5.9 million per 1 million in the U.K.
5) We spend $85.9 billion trying to treat back pain, which is as much as we spend on all of the country’s state, city, county, and town police forces. Experts say that as much as half of that is unnecessary.
6) 1.5 million people work in the health insurance industry while barely half as many doctors provide actual health care.
7) The President of the New Haven Health System makes much more than the President of Yale University.
8) The President of the supposedly non-profit hospital where Brill was treated, Steven Corwin, makes $3.58 million a year.
9) A box of gauze pads costs $77 and a routine blood test can cost hundreds of dollars.
The rest of the article concerns Mr. Brill’s suggestions for “fixing” the broken system. I won’t steal all his thunder by revealing what he suggests, but all the facts above made me think of an interesting conversation I had with a journalist from Spain in the Press Room of Belmont University in Nashville just prior to the Belmont Town Hall Meeting, who was marveling at how a nation like the United States had no universal health care for its citizens.
Of course, thanks to Barack Obama, we now do have a system, which the Republicans now in power are intent on dismantling.
Obamacare may have its flaws. However, it is the best it has been for the uninsured in some time, so thanks, President Obama. And thanks, too, for the $1.99 gas I saw at the Phillips Station on Kennedy Drive tonight!