The Real Reason We Pay So Much for Healthcare

A lengthy New York Times report yesterday detailed just how much more Americans pay for medical services than people in other countries. Often a lot more: almost twice what the Swiss pay for a colonoscopy, three and a half times more than the Dutch for an MRI and five times more than Spaniards for a hip replacement, according to the International Federation of Health Plans.

The high per-unit price of medical services in this country is an open secret, well documented in the health-policy world but largely ignored in the political debate. Rather than rail against high prices, Americans should rail against this: The fixes for those higher prices are clear enough, yet they get almost no consideration from policymakers.

The rash of recent proposals to slow health-care spending have focused on reducing the use of health-care services or shifting those costs to beneficiaries, rather than bringing down per-unit costs. Take the Bowles-Simpson report from December 2010: The largest proposed Medicare savings came from asking the elderly to pay more for their care. Other reports take a similar approach.

Read the full story here:

Source: Bloomberg News