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Thread: Health care

  1. #1
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    Health care

    5% of US patients account for 50% of health care costs

    New Jersey’s Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers founder and family medicine practitioner, Jeffrey Brenner, used medical billing records to find that just 1% of patients accounted for 30% of health care costs in Camden. And that's not all he discovered in the city's three hospitals. He says: "We learned that someone went 113 times in one year. Someone went 324 times in five years. In similar workup in Trenton, they found someone who went 450 times in one year." These were people with complicated medical histories and chronic illnesses. One patient alone racked up $3.5 million in medical bills over a five year period. As Brenner says, :"They're the difficult patients to treat, and no one is being paid and incentivized to pay attention to them."
    What's more, Camden's problem is America's problem. Just 5% of Americans accounted for half of our nation's health care costs in 2009. This is perhaps the crucial statistic to understand about America's health care problem.
    #occupyER
    Last edited by Hotblack; 03-28-2012 at 01:06 PM.
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  2. #2
    Jonzard's Avatar
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    :HowardHughes: /1% /5%

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    mlyons's Avatar
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    This is why I can't get too worked up one way or the other about the Supreme Court case. Whether or not Obamacare stays as law, it's not really going to make a difference to the underlying problems in our healthcare system. Until we actually go after the reasons costs are spiraling out of control (hint: it's not uninsured patients racking up ER costs, malpractice lawsuits, or excessive insurance company bureaucracy), any sort of reform that just tries to shift around who's paying those costs is doomed to eventual failure.
    Things can always be worse.

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    Johnny Slick's Avatar
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    A tiny percentage of the population making up half the costs of healthcare is right in line with that same tiny percentage using the ER the way the rest of us use our family doctor. The CNN article didn't go into detail as to how exactly that 5% incurred those costs so I'm willing to see the uninsured patients bit refuted. I do think that anything that doesn't offer some kind of public option is probably only slowing down the spiralling costs, not arresting them completely.

  5. #5
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    I was trying to look for the source study but I couldn't find anything. I too would be very interested to know who these people are.
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    mlyons's Avatar
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    The CNN article is drawing on the same data as a New Yorker article from about six months ago, which did indeed indicate that the super high cost patients aren't uninsured people using the ER.

    EDIT: Okay, much longer ago than that.
    Last edited by mlyons; 03-28-2012 at 02:12 PM.
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    Johnny Slick's Avatar
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    The CNN article didn't cite anything. Do you have a link to the New Yorker article?

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    mlyons's Avatar
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    Probably.
    Things can always be worse.

  9. #9
    Bronx County Lou Hotblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlyons View Post
    Speaking of "much longer", 10 pages? I'll save this one for later.
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  10. #10

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    I'm sure there are a few mentally ill people who go to the emergency room every day instead of going to the store, but most of this 5% are likely to be just the sickest patients with the most serious illnesses. Identifying them as responsible for most of the cost doesn't tell you much, unless you're ready to fire up the death panels.

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