Figures on Medical Issues
The Varieties of Excessive Costs (Cato Institute Analysis)
The excessive costs of our current medical system can be classified into three major categories:
• The first, and by far the largest excess cost, is due to the current overuse of medical resources by patients. Overuse is the rational response of consumers who do not have to pay the entire cost of the medical services they use. The causes of those excess costs are Medicaid, Medicare, and tax laws that provide incentives for individuals to have their employers purchase their medical care in the form of private health insurance. (NOTE: Part of this overuse is tied to expensive technological advancements and pharmaceutical innovations . These may be related to both diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Such innovations are extremely expensive further exacerbating rises in costs incurred within the medical system.)
• The second category of excess cost consists of administrative and paperwork costs that are unnecessary for the provision of health care, but that have come into existence because of the current patchwork of third-party payers and their attempts to control their increasing costs by closely monitoring the behavior of doctors and patients. Even worse is the fact that those cost-containment activities do not seem to have contained costs very well.
• The third excess cost is associated with the fear of malpractice suits. Administering medically unnecessary tests and procedures helps to insulate doctors and hospitals from the potential wrath of patients or their families when inevitable accidents occur in medical treatment or when treatments just do not work.