Adam Fein at Drug Channels pointed me to a June 2022 report from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) on the price of drugs. The report is full of tidbits on drug spending. For example, the report states that prescription drug spending represents only 14% of health care expenditures. It is true that drugs are the best value in health care (especially over-the-counter drugs but that was not in the report). While it is true that drugs tend to be a better value than, say hospitals, not all drugs are of equal value. (That too was not in the report.)
This is David Brooks:
If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: We’ve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. We’ve made life better for adults but worse for children. We’ve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options. The shift from bigger and interconnected extended families to smaller and detached nuclear families ultimately led to a familial system that liberates the rich and ravages the working-class and the poor.
Few hospitals in the United States have any idea what their costs are to perform various surgeries. The second most common surgery in U.S. hospitals after those related to childbirth is knee replacement. The price is more than $50,000 at Gundersen Health System’s hospital in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The facility has been systematically raising the price of knee surgery about 3% every year. None of administrators had any idea how much was profit and how much was the cost of nursing care, labor, overhead, supplies, etc. Gundersen, like most U.S. hospitals, didn’t know the cost because they do not face still competition and are not competing on price. Unlike most U.S. hospitals, however, Gundersen set out to find out its cost.
Ever since Obamacare became law, my colleagues and I have been writing about a race to the bottom in the exchanges – where health plans try to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. The result: people with serious health problems are being denied access to the doctors and hospitals they desperately need.