The Norwegian Versus the American Healthcare System

America’s history is rooted so deeply in freedom of choice to either win or lose in one’s economic decisions. This can be epitomized by so many early Europeans coming to the New World in search of a new life, many of which had very little wealth in terms of personal property or education, but eventually pioneered much of the American wilderness creating farms, small communities, and big cities. From the earliest Americans that came to Jamestown Virginia to the more recent immigrants coming through Ellis Island, many of these Americans have argued for less government intervention in their lives and created a culture that keeps the government from controlling everyday choices like gun control to even universal healthcare. Even today, America does not even have a universal healthcare system, even though many other industrial nations do.

Many Americans argue that a universal healthcare system will not work in America because a large portion of Americans will simply take advantage of the system, in terms of not altering their unhealthy behavior, thus, running up the costs for everyone. Moreover, many feel that healthcare is simply not a privilege to be handed to everyone, and should be employer based to ensure everyone pays for their own healthcare, as much as possible. This seems to be a cultural issue rooted deeply in the American value of individuals being independent as much as possible from government influences. On the other hand, a country like Norway has some pure socialist practices, especially in the area of healthcare. In fact, everyone in Norway has healthcare. It is the law of the land.

Norwegians are more practical than Americans in how they spend their money, they enjoy saving money for quality health care. According to Bruce Bartlett, a Forbes Magazine columnist, on a per capita basis, Norwegians spend $4,763 per year, and covers everyone, while Americans spend $7,290. By various standards of health quality, like life expectancy or rate of preventable deaths, Norway does better than the U.S. One key measure is physicians per capita: America has 2.43 physicians compared with Norway’s 4 doctors per every 1,000 people, even though Norway spends a third less of its Gross Domestic Product on health care than the U.S. does.

Why is the cost of healthcare in Norway less than that in America? The eye catching statistic that reveals Norwegian superiority in providing lower cost healthcare is that the number of doctors in America, per capita, is actually less than in Norway. Perhaps increasing the supply of healthcare providers in America could lower overall healthcare expenditures for healthcare. Perhaps there is a deep rooted cultural reason in Norway that is helping to keep healthcare costs down. Maybe their society has a healthier population than countries like America.

Finally, it appears capitalistic and socialistic policies both can benefit a nation like America. America has the greatest GDP of any nation, but yet, does not provide a universal healthcare system for its citizens. One would think that through sheer size and because of its economic output, America could keep its healthcare costs lower for its citizens than a country like Norway. Perhaps the free market system in America will one day solve all of the demands that its citizens want, like universal healthcare. If not, perhaps a more controlled socialistic policy will be created providing universal healthcare that is similar to the one implemented in Norway. There is a school of thought for each economic approach, but the bottom line is, there is a cost to be paid, and ultimately the consumer/taxpayer will bear that cost.

Cash Cow For Crooks – Our American Healthcare System

The American Healthcare System is pandemic in fraud and that needs to be taken care of first before we can save real money in the system. We could save multi-billions if the system was revamped and the opportunity for easy money was eliminated. I know what a debacle our healthcare system is in, I spent months preparing my company for Medicaid and Medicare approval. It reminds me of taking a dry towel every 5 minutes to dry off when you’re standing in the rain. There seems to be no end to redundancy and complexity. A system in complete dissaray and bleeding profusely.

I know this as a fact since I spent months getting the necessary requirements for my companies approval for Medicaid and Medicare. Just to get the process started you have to get approved and checked by no less than three clearing-houses. What a nightmare.

Lately there has been a lot of talk about IT and cross operational platforms to help reduce costs and save us from high medical expenses. Our government and most consumers havn’t got a clue how our Healthcare System works and how the system has turned into a “Cash Cow” for the crooks. The system is ‘Bleeding Profusely”, and it will take more than a bandaid to fix it.

The consumer is over charged every step in the process, all the way to bankruptcy. I read an article how in 2007-2008, 61% of bankruptcies were caused by medical bills, this was up from 27% just a few years before.

Yesterday I was having lunch with an elderly man 70 yrs old and he asked what I did. I told him very proudly. Sir I distribute premium medical equipment and supplies and my company carries the best crutches, forearm crutches, bedside commodes and bed tables in the country. He could tell I was passionate in what I did and he told me his story. He retired from General Motors and he that was a diabetic he then mentioned that his co-pay was $11.00 every time he went in for a check-up. The doctor usually rushes him through but recently spent approx 10 minutes with him and he appreciated it, until he checked out. It seems the doctor charged his co-pay $33.00 this time. Well lets do the math, for 10 minutes he charged $20.00. That equates to $120.00 an hour.

Oh now if the co-pay was just 20% of total bill then that leaves a bill of 50 minutes more he can charge for and the Insurance would pay for. We know he charges $33.00 for every 10 minutes. This is a patients portion, so $33.00 times 5 is equal to $165.00. so here is what you have. Whether the man or the insurance company pays for this a total cost that the doctor is billing just for a check-up is $198.00. This is not $198.00 an hour it’s almost $200.00 every ten minutes or $1,200 and hour. I don’t care how you cut this it is wrong!

It gets worse. This doctor hasn’t even started charging for any scripts or extras he can bill for. This happening in my own backyard and I’m sick of it!

In every facet of the healthcare process everyone is overcharging and no one is watching the ship.

Significant savings can occur by supporting preventative care, wellness programs and education. Throw real money at this so people will follow and use recommendations. Unless we have a system that provides monetary incentives for better health, consumers won’t use it.

Health abuse and expense occur with the foods that are recommended and are so-called healthy. My pet peeve is our ludicrous diet with all the non-nutritional foods being marketed and promoted as healthy. It’s causing our society to be obese and psychologically we depend on it, many of the additives and artificial ingredients are causing severe mental and physical problems, they have addictive properties and exacerbate current and future medical conditions. Examples include diabetes, headaches, MS and other neurological conditions.