Thursday, August 26, 2009
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
WHAT DO WE DO IN LOUISIANA
ABOUT THE COST OF HEALTHCARE?
Riots at town hall meetings, threats for an abrupt ending to congressional careers, patrician political posturing and some of the most vitriol rhetoric in recent memory. All this and more has been churning up continuing controversy in the national healthcare debate. Each day seems to bring renewed charges of the dastardly consequences that will take place if proposed healthcare reform either passes or does not pass. So what’s the real story? What’s the straight scoop on the present condition of the maligned patient, the American Healthcare System? And where does Louisiana fit into the mix? Are we better off or in deeper trouble than the rest of the country? Here’s the skinny.
Is there really all that big of a cost problem? Unfortunately, despite what some naysayers are bellowing, yes. Escalating costs are taking a major toll on families, particularly in Louisiana. Several recent studies found that since 2000, health care insurance premiums rose more than 83% in Louisiana with little or no gain in additional earnings for Louisiana workers. In actual dollars, premiums for both employer and employee combined went from $6,536 to $11,913. Yet in many cases, deductibles have gone up and coverage has included fewer benefits. And with employers absorbing increased costs, there is little left for employee age increases.
What kind of care are Louisianans receiving? Good, but at one heck of a price. The U.S. spends 60% more on healthcare than do most of the other industrialized countries in the world. We have more equipment, run vastly more tests, and there are less waiting times. But when you look at numerous world rankings, the U.S. comes in at number 37, behind such revered healthcare bastions as Costa Rica, Malta, Columbia, Cyprus, and all those socialistic European countries like (gasp!) France and England. Life expectancies? Japan leads the list with an average age of 82 years. The U.S. is number 27th at 78 years. Louisiana has the second lowest life expectancy in America, second only to Mississippi. Continue reading “Jim Brown does some Q&A on Healthcare”