The Ever Increasing Costs of Healthcare

Everywhere we look things are getting more expensive. Gas prices are at an all-time high, grocery prices are on the rise, and even retail shops are turning up the heat with plusher pricing. We are surrounded by dizzying dollar signs that give no hope of releasing their titan grip and giving us consumers some relief. This audacious display of the omnipresent rising dollar can be witnessed in the current state of our healthcare system.

Watch any news program and they are talking about healthcare. What bills are being passed, who does and does not have coverage, and what it all means to us is a constant subject for debate. There is no way around it; healthcare in this system is expensive and it is only going to get worse as time goes on. Let’s take a look at our current state of affairs.

Just last year the Obama administration passed a sweeping overhaul on health insurance with a $950billion plan. Who is going to help cover the costs associated with that plan? That’s right; all of us. Yes, every person will have the opportunity to have insurance without the fear of being denied because of pre-existing conditions, however the bills from our insurers is going to be higher because they cannot deny anyone. Those costs are being transferred to us with no ifs, ands or buts because it does not slow down the overall growth of health spending. Why? Well, there are a myriad of reasons.

To begin with, we are all getting older. Not only are we getting older, but we are living longer. And as we age we are due for more regular check-ups because we are more susceptible to health problems. Not necessarily because we don’t take care of ourselves but because it’s the nature of the beast. And let’s be honest, some of our health problems exist because we do not properly take care of ourselves (for example, the link between obesity and diabetes) and some are just genetics and bad luck, but either way with any disorder we use the healthcare system more. With more visits comes more dollars spent by our insurance which in turn is cycled down to us consumers.

Why would all these costs be cycled down to us even if we personally aren’t the ones with additional healthcare fees? Because insurance companies are in the business of making money, so in order to make money they increase their prices so they are still able to make a substantial profit over what they are paying out to physicians, hospitals and pharmaceuticals. What’s more is that insurance companies are contracted with the physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies and only pay out a fraction of what each sector is charging. That means that insurance companies are doing mighty well despite the slow economy. The negative of this (besides the image of insurance executives rolling around in our money like Scrooge McDuck) is that this process has forced many physicians, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to raise their prices to compensate for the minimal pay from insurers, thus pushing the rising costs into a frenzied cycle.

This cycle is the catalyst for the inflamed costs we are seeing in our healthcare system. The frightening part about it all is that there is no one answer that could help control the rapid expenditures. Essentially, we are helpless witnesses that pay out for an unending car pile-up, even if we were not involved in the crash. Is this the type of healthcare system that we dreamed of or were promised? Absolutely not. So what is the answer? What steps can we take in order to make things better? If someone has the secret, please share with your state politicians, lobbyists, or on this site. We need to put our heads together and solutions out there in order to make real positive change.