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Death Panels, Here We Come

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5% of Americans Made Up 50% of U.S. Healthcare Spending



 



The AtlanticBy contributors@theatlantic.com (Jordan Weissmann) | The Atlantic – 5 hours ago



 



And the top 1%? They made up one fifth of medical expenditures.



 



When it comes to America's spiraling health care costs, the country's problems begin with the 5%. In 2008 and 2009, 5% of Americans were responsible for nearly half of the country's medical spending.



 



Of course, healthcare has its own 1% crisis. In 2009, the top 1% of patients accounted for 21.8% of expenditures.



 



The figures are from a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services, which examined how different U.S. demographics contributed to medical costs. It looked at the $1.26 trillion spent by civilian, non-institutionalized Americans each year on health care.



 



The top 5% of spenders paid an annual average of $35,829 in doctors' bills. By comparison, the bottom half paid an average $232 and made up about 3% of total costs.



 



Aside from the fact that such a tiny fraction of the country was responsible for so much of our expenses, it also found that high spenders often repeated from year to year. Those chronically ill patients skewed white and old and were twice as likely to be on public healthcare as the general population.



 



The graph below looks at how many people remained in each tranche of healthcare spending in both 2008 and 2009. One fifth of the top 1% of healthcare spenders in 2008 also were in the top 1% a year later. More than a third of those in the top 5% stayed there both years.



 



Persistence_Chart_HHS.jpg



 



According to this follow-up chart, elderly patients, aged 65 or older, made up 13.2% of the population in 2009. But they were 42.9 of the patients among the top 10% of spenders in both 2008 and 2009. Middle-aged Americans made up another 40.1% of that category.



 



Distribution_Chart.jpg



 



America's healthcare spending crisis is a concentrated phenomenon. The challenge isn't just about making everybody's insurance cheaper (although that would be nice). It's about figuring out how to cut costs, wisely and fairly, for the disastrously ill and preventing diseases before they become chronic. This is America's 5% problem.






 


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I forgot the exact figures but something like 98% of health care costs are spent in the last year of life. We're farggin nuts. I'm all for death panels, at least the kind the Republicans tried to scare us away from.

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Originally Posted by lichum View Post

 

Someone said - a medico IIRC - that if smoking and obesity were eliminated, healh care costs would be reduced 50%.

 

Never happen.  Sales taxes from crappy food and smokes sales would drop too much.

 

 

 

when they say its not its about the money.

 

 

 

 

 

So we got Gami for tthe death panel, we got government schools preparing to put GPS bracelets on kids they say are fat.  Is this thing working out great or WHAT?

 

 

 

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I forgot the exact figures but something like 98% of health care costs are spent in the last year of life. We're farggin nuts. I'm all for death panels, at least the kind the Republicans tried to scare us away from.

 

Then that 98% will be assigned to another portion of the population......until we eliminate them too. Wash, rinse, repeat.

 

And then there's the whole "we" spend thing. "We" don't spent jack **** for my family's healthcare. "I" pay for it. Leave me alone.

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That report's a real shocker. Sick people and old people use the most healthcare dollars. And I always thought health insurance is primarily for the young and healthy. Nobody seems to have a problem extracting premiums from young and healthy people who get nothing in return except the assurance that they won't be cast aside when they're old and sick.


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Then that 98% will be assigned to another portion of the population......until we eliminate them too. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And then there's the whole "we" spend thing. "We" don't spent jack **** for my family's healthcare. "I" pay for it. Leave me alone.

 

You pay Medicare taxes, right??

You plan to receive it when you're 65, right??

 

It's WE.

 

WE have a finite amount of money that can be spent on healthcare and WE spend most of it on people who are dying. Friggin brilliant.

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I wager that most of the folks riding in the back of an Ambulance are in some kind of trauma.

 

Those folks could die at any minute, let's make the EMT's wait an hour or so to give the patient time to die before transporting them to the ER.

 

One thing is certain, and that is that we all got to go sometime. How much power do we want to give the government in deciding when that will be?

 

I would prefer to be allowed to make that private decision in private, if I am lucky to be able to make that choice.

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I wager that most of the folks riding in the back of an Ambulance are in some kind of trauma.

Those folks could die at any minute, let's make the EMT's wait an hour or so to give the patient time to die before transporting them to the ER.

One thing is certain, and that is that we all got to go sometime. How much power do we want to give the government in deciding when that will be?

I would prefer to be allowed to make that private decision in private, if I am lucky to be able to make that choice.

 

Ummm, the "Death Panels" that were being attacked by the Republicans were actually end of life counseling for people on Medicare who were terminally ill. The horror of it!!!!

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I forgot the exact figures but something like 98% of health care costs are spent in the last year of life. We're farggin nuts. I'm all for death panels, at least the kind the Republicans tried to scare us away from.

 

No one has any business taking my money all my life and then getting to decide late in my life if I get any benefits or not.

 

This is the big crime of collectivism.

 

I am not a drone in a hive. Drone hive economic policies are doomed to fail when tried on societies of people, who are individuals.

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Ummm, the "Death Panels" that were being attacked by the Republicans were actually end of life counseling for people on Medicare who were terminally ill. The horror of it!!!!

 

 

So, you are OK with a government bureaucrat telling you that there is no hope, and no cure for what ever you have.

Not me.

 

 

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Ummm, the "Death Panels" that were being attacked by the Republicans were actually end of life counseling for people on Medicare who were terminally ill. The horror of it!!!!

 

Take your "End of Life counseling" and shove it. When I get to that point, I will make the decisions that are best for me or my wife. The Government can suck it.

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Some of us get to spread the risk a little bit by being part of an insurance group. I would not object to letting others into the "group" if they pay what I pay. I would even pay for my family and my parent [jury still out on inlaws]. I can certainly see that making sure everyone who could pay got a chance to join is fair. If you want the group benefits and don't want to contribute, how sorry am I supposed to feel for you? So what do I want done with freeloaders?

 

 

Let me paraphrase what a friend of mine suggested as a way to think through this problem:

 

If I see an accident by the side of the road, do I stop?

Would I administer first aid and take the person to someplace for care?

Would I tell those helping that I'd pay some now, and pay the rest when I got back?

Maybe I would, if the person was my neighbor.

 

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