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Shaping the New Agenda (A Special Report) — Health Care

By Laura Landro
The Wall Street Journal / 24 November 2008

The Wall Street Journal The U.S. spends $2.3 trillion per year on health care — almost twice as much per person as other industrialized nations — but we aren’t getting what we pay for. Studies show that fully a third of spending is wasted on treatments, drugs, and tests that don’t improve Americans’ health outcomes and that adults receive recommended treatments for many illnesses only 55% of the time. Economists warn that unless we can eliminate excess spending and put health-care dollars to better use, rising health-care costs will present a growing threat to our global competitiveness and long-term fiscal security. Laura Landro, iq option login an assistant managing editor at The Wall Street Journal, moderated the task-force discussion on health. Here are edited excerpts of the presentation of their priorities to the CEO Council. iq option log in Read More »

Discuss This Topic


12/17/2008, 12:23 am


Riad Cachecho, MD,MBA

12/16/2008, 12:23 pm

It costs almost a billion dollar to produce a drug and bring it to the market. However, the same drugs are sold cheaper outside the US because of the involvement of the governments’ involvement in the price negotiations in those countries. Actos might not be the most cost efficient drug for diabetes, there are older, better and cheaper drugs on the market, but we as consumers expect to get the latest of any invention without asking whether it is better or not. One way to beat the free market pricing is by being proactive in the decision making re: our healthcare and by limiting the use of newer drugs unless they are truly better thatn the older ones.

Harold Jacobson

12/13/2008, 05:19 pm

To control my diabetes, I take one 45 mg pill of Actos once per day. The retail price is $7.00 per pill. Insurance (Medicare RX) reduces the cost (a copay) to $1.00 per pill. Those pills are made by machines on an assembly line, so I cannot understand why one pill should cost $7.00. Please someone explain this! This illustrates why medical costs are so high in the U.S.


12/12/2008, 01:21 pm

I grew up in foster homes and on welfare and public health care. Get the government completely out of the healthcare business. They have successfully screwed up almost everything they touch. Make people accountable for their own care. Yes there will be some who can’t get care or proper care but that will always exist not matter what the government does or doesn’t do. There will always be poor people not matter what we do. There will always be sick people no matter what we do. We as a societyespouse capitalism but when the chips are down and we can’t get our own way we want socialism. We can’t have both therefore let the market decide.

Dr. Andreus Wang

12/11/2008, 11:14 am

My recent search in Formulary of several Insurance co in our area found out: The recently generic form of Risperidone which was available late 2008 is no longer in the Formulary of all these insurance co. Something is going on as result the patient most needed on this generic version of very important drug is not getting the benifit of availability of generic cost advantage. Congress should look into this kind of things.


12/10/2008, 12:18 am

America is the only country in the world where death is still an option.


12/06/2008, 02:51 pm

The only people the pharmae manufacturers, hospital owned HMOs and Insurance insdustry benefit is their stock holders. The rest of us pay the bill.

The money the pharmae kicks back to doctors and pharmacies and hospitals to promote their product should be redirected into a central fund to help the indigent. Hospital run HMO’s should not be allowed to stipulate patient care. Hospital policy demands first consideration to avoid suit while patients die needlessly.
Insurance price controls need to be considered seriously by congress.

I would llike someone to explain why we need 55k paid lobbiest located a block from Congress? Apparently our elected officials can’t think for themselves or make a decision without PAC permission.


12/06/2008, 06:52 am

First, I have been battling one illness Epilepsy for 17 years it finally cost me everything! My home, my business, everything! Why? The answer is simple after years insurance had gotten to where it was just unafforable, then after it was unafforable, I had become uninsurable!! How do you like that. And by the way, Yes I even served my country, Yes, I was a soldier from 1979-1985, my only mistake there was after bootcamp I decided to go reserve because the pay was to low to raise my daughter, so that left me without any Vet’s benefits another crack in our system! Now that I have lost everything I worked for, a business I built and employeed 13 full time people for twenty years, but lost it, where was my bailout…its called MEDICAID AND FOOD STAMPS!!! Wheres my pride and ego most likely its somewhere as lost as our government is! If we had Health care for every red blooded american I would still own and employee those men and women and so would many other small businesses, but then again the USA is to stupid to SEE our number one shortcoming is the cost of health care for employers!


12/06/2008, 01:08 am

I love the idea of nationalized health care, except I absolutely don’t trust the gov’t to run it efficiently. Look what happened to airline worker wages when the gov’t took over — they took a massive leap, for no other reason than now the gov’t (taxpayer funded) was footing the bill. It’s no good to have a nationalized system that’s *more* expensive *and* less responsive than our current one, and I’m afraid our history tells us that’s exactly what we would get.

Doctor wages are artificially high because of strict quotas on medical school entrants and limits on the number of doctors from other countries that can come to work here. I’d love to see what a truly free market kind of system would provide in terms of cost reductions. In fact, if a nationalized system was based on that idea (stop letting the AMA and related orgs artificially limit these kinds of things, tort reform for legal suits, etc.), I think I could get behind it.

Think of it, smart socialism giving you the best the free markets had to offer. Then again, I’m still afraid it would only be a matter of time before some kind of preferential treatment for various lobbying groups really screwed it up. *sigh*

Gene Tuck

12/05/2008, 02:22 pm

Have you noticed that countries with nationalized health-care pay much, much less per-person for medical care. At the same time, those countries rank much higher than the US in patient health comparisons. Far too much of our medical funds go to insurance companies and lawyers. Nationalize health-care. Raise taxes to pay for it, and we will still save a lot of money as individuals. Employees at medical insurance companies, and some of the lawyers, can find other jobs.


12/05/2008, 05:57 am

The biggest racket here is going back to the doctor to get a prescription filled. My doctor makes me come back every 12 months to get it refilled, and I have been on it for 40 years! I also have to take tests to make sure that I should still take it. Getting the prescription costs more than the medicine.

Peter W. Pfeiffer

12/05/2008, 12:07 am

whs806 has good ideas. Discretionary Income has a finger on the problem - that is: The ols are indentured to the big contributors. BUT there is a solution - public financing of election campaigns. When the lobbyists can no longer buy the rules and regs for their employers, we might acheive a government more responsive to the public (they are the ones finsncing the campaigns). Hmmm.


12/04/2008, 08:32 am

Has anyone else noticed the proliferation of stand-alone medical buildings in the past few years. Why do these groups of doctors all need their own buildings? I guess it’s the only way they can soak up their excess earnings.


12/04/2008, 08:19 am

Soc Sec per se should be a thing for pensioners as it was intended. It shoould not be lumped with all the other special needs. Most particularly, it is Medicaid and Medicare that is so wasteful and corrupt. Old age SS was paid for month after month and year after year. That should be a totally seperate subject.


12/04/2008, 08:08 am

Raise age to 67 in 2010, allow outside investment of up to 10% in debt insturments of Federal and State Governments

harry Stahla

12/04/2008, 05:36 am

Get read of Gov mandades, people resonsable for thier own lazziness, at young age lit the indusry be competative

Dee Cremeans

12/03/2008, 10:23 pm

Control over health care costs begins with basic values at home. Our diets could be the starting point which would lend itself to many other causes related to the humane treatment of the food chain itself.

Our bodies are not meant to digest the amounts and particularly the quality of the meats that we consume - can you say colon cancer, obesity, cholesterol and blood pressure issues - to name but a few ailments?

Do people understand the reason for the antibiotics in the food chain? Take a look at the process - from birth to slaughter - filth, pain for the animals and let us not forget the abuse and violation of these animals.

Oh yes, there is also the greed that creates so much fraud once you get the diseases and ailments from the doctors, drug companies and even insurance companies but really, if we took better care of ourselves and the world - the chances would be so much less for the financial rip off.

It’s so easy to blame someone else for the woes of the world - but if take better care of ourselves and the planet….

p. wines

12/03/2008, 10:19 pm

Goverment taking “total” control of health care, will be a disater!
England, France, Canada,India, etc. all of these countries & more have socialized medicine & we have recruited their best physicians. Socialized medicine means poor health care.less health care. the USA has the best health care in the world, in fact we treat people from around the world that come here because these patients were on waiting list in countries with socialized medicine.

john woodward

12/03/2008, 08:28 pm

Health care costs are absurd, outrageous, and unproductive. Eliminate many of the useless, health damaging drugs, promote healthy living, and food.

HArry Crowell

12/03/2008, 07:30 pm

Medical insurance is out of control and also too highly controlled by departments of insurance and the federal government. whe I was a child there was no insurance and it was simple to do to a doctors office and have a treatment. the treatment was as up to date as the times were. Today there is a waiting time in the office while the office personel works on the insurance forms to see if the insurance will cover the issue. The doctor can only work on the one illness at one time then you must make another appointment to get another illness looked at this is time consuming for the patient, expensive for the insurance premiunm payment and impossible for the doctor to manage along with care for the patient.

for simplier times

12/03/2008, 06:05 pm

I agree that the patient should review the charges and bills should be required to be in understandable language, not just numbers. I believe that overcharges occur because the patient doesn’t understand and/or see the actual bill, and the direct cause of what insurance will pay means the billing is padded to make up the difference.
I also think that several countries with NATIONAL health care have not succeeded without injustices especially for the elder and anyone requiring special treatment. To place my life in the hands of the government is a scary idea.

Peter W. Pfeiffer

12/03/2008, 05:51 pm

Single Payer (Federal Government) reduces overhead and results in better care for EVERYBODY. Load on U.S. commerce is reduced and results in needed global competiveness. MUCH better than giving manufacturers ($32 Billion now for the big 3 auto mfgs?) bailouts!


12/03/2008, 05:39 pm

Do NOT nationalize health care. Employees should be required to put a percentage of their income (no matter how small that income may be) into a medical savings account that is invested in companies in the health care sector. Example: If you earn $50,000/year, you contribute say 10%. If I earn $100,000 I contribute the same percentage. I would have more saved when I need it, but YOU would get the same care as I would get, same tests, same hospital and doctor benefits….so the health care would be the same for ALL because ALL would have been required to save the same PERCENTAGE of gross income.

Sick And Tired.

12/03/2008, 05:32 pm

Read My Lips. Single Payer Health Care. Just do it and stop the rhetoric.

John F

12/03/2008, 05:20 pm

Devise a model that requires hospitals, medical professionals, and medical supply vendors including drug supplier to create a level playing field for all concerned including the patient. Create an accoutability between the insurance companies and the patient. I personaly would have no problem going over charges for a surgery line item by line item with my insurance company if they would pursue the dollar savings with the hospitals and medical professionals involved. A hospital/MD should be able to negotiate deals with vendors outside the US to ensure that costs are leveraged properly. Drug vendors must present actual costs to government to justify margins. There is a difference between profit and gouging

marsh smith

12/03/2008, 05:12 pm

I went to the dermatologist the other day to have a tiny cyst zapped. To walk in the door cost $250 to do the “surgery”was another $300. I was in there less than 2 minutes and had a practicioner, not a doctor. Blue Cross paid for this, and I had a $15 co-pay. This is truly out of control.

Discretionary Income

12/03/2008, 05:11 pm

Washington right now is controlled by the insurance interests and by the pharmaceutical companies. The Democratic platform committee quickly shot down a proposal for universal single-payer health care. It was because it offended some of the contributors to the party. We must be ready bring health care to all the American people.


12/03/2008, 04:42 pm

I think the medical community has to be transformed. If the compensation of medical professionals was in some way tied to the health performance of the patients they serve health care cost could be signicantly reduced.


12/03/2008, 04:39 pm

Provide HMO type health care for citizens. If they are overweight or smoke, they should pay more because they are a higher health risk.
Health care should be preventitive.

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