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How Broken Is The U.S. Health Care System? Let’s Count The Ways

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
September 7, 2012

Just about everybody who’s ever needed health care in this country has seen firsthand the problems that make our system inefficient, costly and often downright unsatisfying.

The nonpartisan Institute of Medicine just put out a 450-page report about the problems along with some ideas for improvements.

How bad are things? Well, nearly a third of spending on health care — or about $750 billion in 2009 — is wasted. There’s lots of inefficiency, excess overhead and some outright fraud, too. But the biggest slice, as you can see in a chart from The Atlantic’s Brian Fung, is unnecessary care — about 28 percent of the waste pie.

Now, money’s not the only issue. Poor quality hurts patients. The report, called “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America,” says that about 75,000 deaths a year might be prevented if the type of medicine practiced in the best states was the standard nationwide.

The numbers and technical details in the report could really glaze your eyes in a hurry. So it was nice to see a passage in the introduction that boils down the problems into some analogies. I’ve boiled them down some more and offer them up to you for a vote. Which one does the best job of conveying the routine screw-ups in health care?

Now, it’s true the report offers some suggestions for improving our system of care. Better use of technology, such as widespread adoption of computerized medical records and mobile devices, would help a lot, it says.

Besides the analogies in the report, the IOM also put together a handy infographic that summarizes the problems and ideas for fixing them. Click on the excerpt below to see the whole thing. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

One Response to “How Broken Is The U.S. Health Care System? Let’s Count The Ways”

  1. Dead Man Walking says:

    Oh yes, – I am 55, just now having to avail myself of our fraudulent healthcare system. What a a journey of discovery. I have great Insurance coverage thru my employer, BUT – here's the reality… if you are diagnosed with a terminal disease and cannot work any longer, then you get in the tunnel for Long-Term Disability coverage via the insurance(IF your coverage has that) – at 60% of your salary,- mind you, at that point you are at the mercy of a profit based system that makes profit by denying such claims.
    You lose your job, COBRA for a lousy 18 mos if you can afford to pay that. You can apply for Social Security Disability IF you have sufficient pay-in, I do, been paying in for 35 years – but that still will only pay me about 1600 a month. You will also need to hire a lawyer for a 25% nick off the first payout, as Social Security will deny all claims outright as a stopgap measure, then apply for Medicare, etc, which is not free either.
    The upshot is best case scenario, you still won't be able to afford care and what benefits you might get are only forthcoming if you are under a doctor's care that you won't be able to afford…… no hope no future, better to bail now to another country where they don't leave their ill to die in the street. yet the corporate lapdog politicos villify socialized healthcare and the people here cheeer them on to their own doom. MADNESS

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