32 million people have a Health Savings Account with more than $100 billion in balances. And they love them. They would love them even more if we could dispense with the across-the-board, high deductible requirement and let the account be perfectly flexible with respect to their health insurance.
Category: Cost of Healthcare
Senators Sanders and Paul Try to Sneak in Drug Reimportation Amendment
Drug reimportation is an attractive idea until you think it though. Importing drugs from abroad would seem to make sense in a global economy. Proponents point to the fact that the United States pays the highest price for drugs of any developed country. U.S. prices are far more than developing countries pay. Opponents correctly point out what you’re importing is other countries’ price controls.
Medical Debt: Yet Another Way Obamacare Harms the Sick
According to a Kaiser Health News / NPR investigation, 100 million Americans are saddled with medical debt. This includes 41% of adults. KHN reports that more than half of adults have gone into debt to pay for medical bills within the past five years. One quarter of those with medical debt owe more than $5,000, while 20% never expect to pay it off. Going into debt to pay medical bills is no worse than indebtedness for a car, house, a boat or designer clothes. However, much of this debt is despite having health coverage of some type.
How a Needless Test Starts a Cascade of More Unnecessary Tests
A man came into the Denver VA hospital complaining of a painful hernia near his stomach. His doctor knew he needed surgery immediately but another doctor had ordered a chest-ray, which is standard practice. The X-ray revealed a shadow, possibly a mass (cancer) or more likely a harmless cluster of blood vessels. A follow-up CT scan showed his lung was fine but found something suspicious on his adrenal gland. A second CT scan cleared his adrenal gland but by this time two months had gone by. It would be another four months due to scheduling conflicts before the man finally got his surgery. This “cascade of care” is what results when one test is ambiguous resulting in additional tests that ultimately find nothing was wrong in the first place. These unnecessary tests and procedures are what medical research refers to as “low-value care.” There are no clinical benefits from low-value services and potential for harm.