Wednesday, February 3, 2016

U. S. Health Care Costs Explained BY H. M. STUART

U. S. health care costs
As we await the Iowa caucuses and the first real evidence of how voters feel about U. S. politics, including the politics now governing the 17.5% of GDP occupied by the health care industry, as usual Megan McArdle gives us across several articles the most concise explanation of why U. S. health care costs are what they are and not what we might wish them to be if only we did the sensible things other nations did. But before we even get into the underpinnings of U. S. social health care costs, let’s review something I previously pointed out to one of our past physician Authors here, namely, the most inexpensive and cost efficient health care system of all: the human body itself.
One typically doesn’t think of human physiology as a “health care system”, but that is precisely what it is, and nothing but, moreover, one refined over millions of years of fatality-failure testing to automatically perform optimally with minimal cost inputs. Of course, even this health care system doesn’t perform perfectly all of the time, nor at sometimes is it even sufficiently complete, but I bring it up now to stress that, in considering health care overall, we may not value this basic system enough to give it priority of place in our hierarchy of health care systems.
But, as we shall see, and like any other economic commodity, it is the very act of using alternate, social-economic health care systems that triggers and drives their costs. We obviously cannot do without these next tier social-economic health care systems, but it turns out economically that, and unlike the economies of scale of, say, plastic widgets, the more we use them, the more they cost, collectively and individually. Thus, the more our own, individual, natural health care systems can successfully carry the load instead, the lower our net individual health care costs. Obvious as this may seem, this root condition of natural health – as opposed to preventive medicine, which can just as often be gratuitous additional demand-inflation – is not always a primary consideration in most discussions of health care provision and funding.

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