I had a long, drawn out political discussion with a teammate at work today (he just wouldn't let it rest, either). He pretty much insisted that the only thing we as a nation needs to do to improve our health system is "tort reform", because it is putting doctors out of business. He also has nothing but bad things to say about any health system other than our own (He's Ukranian by by birth, moved here in 1988).
So, since he wouldn't accept any of my figures from memory, as soon as I got home, I did some research (excluding Michael Moore (Sicko), because everybody knows he's a commie wacko
Oh, and he says no Democrat has ever proposed a plausible reform package, so I threw in a presidential candidate comparison chart. Not perfect, but they are proposals with some attempt at cost estimates.
I decided to upload the links I emailed to myself at work for posterity. Some of you might be surprised at the information here, others will shrug and think "you mean this isn't common knowledge"? I know it always amazes me when people spout propaganda points and insist they are irrefutable facts.
This one balances the points of view. The tort reform is crap, but so are outlandish insurance seller profit figures.http://www.factcheck.org/politics/insurance_industry_ad_makes_fishy_claim_about.html
This debunks Bush's cost claims:http://www.factcheck.org/president_uses_dubious_statistics_on_costs_of.html
This one points out that malpractice costs are a serious problem, but also that .5% (that's right - 1/2 of 1 percent) of U.S. health care costs are caused by them. Also points out that premium costs are rising FASTER in states with malpractice caps. See also section on drug costs in America vs Canada.http://dkosopedia.com/wiki/Health_Care#Malpractice_Litigation_As_A_Source_of_Rising_Health_Care_Costs
Reachable from the above Wiki, this page points out several real statistics as of 2005, and states that 44% of health care costs are paid by the government, despite there being no national health care.http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/6/20/18596/5352
Note, any malpractice figures from Tillinghast-Towers Perrin, a consulting firm that is paid by insurance companies, are suspect. (there are a LOT of articles using their figures as evidence that tort reform is critical to the survival of our medical system)
Hmm... except for the recent stock correction, health insurance company stock value seems to have a trend...http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=hmo&sid=0&o_symb=hmo&freq=2&time=13
Aetna: 7.6%, 8.1%, 39.9% profit growth for the last three years. The 2004 figure excludes a one-time "income from discontinued option" benefit. (2007-2004)http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/quotes/financials.asp?symb=AET
Humana: 71%, 64%, 9.6% profit growth for the last three years. (2007-2004)http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/quotes/financials.asp?symb=HUM&sid=2451&dist=TQP_Nav_financials
Wellpoint / Anthem net income/profit growth: 8%, 25.6%, 256% profit growth over last three years (2007-2004)http://www.marketwatch.com/tools/quotes/financials.asp?symb=WLP&sid=1881894&dist=TQP_Nav_financials
side-by-side comparison of presidential candidates' plans - including how to pay for them:http://www.health08.org/sidebyside_results.cfm?c=5&c=11&c=16
40% - 60% of health expenditures in USA are paid by our government (as of 2004);http://www.globalhealthfacts.org/topic.jsp?i=48
USA has the highest per capita health expenditure in the world (2003).http://www.globalhealthfacts.org/topic.jsp?i=45
One staggering point in this healthcare primer is :
The U.S. spends substantially more on health care than other developed countries. As
of 2004, health spending in the U.S. was about 90 percent higher than in many other
Despite this relatively high level of
spending, the United States does not appear to achieve substantially better health
benchmarks compared to other developed countrieshttp://www.kff.org/insurance/7670.cfm
I could go on, but it is Friday night and I want to relax.