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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

US Health Care: Why We Rank Low

I have yet to see the AMA do anything that has stopped or changed these obstructions.

What's wrong with U.S. healthcare

NEW YORK, March 8 (UPI) -- U.S. healthcare is determined by a myriad of large and powerful interconnected organizations that have dictated the "rules of the game," researchers said. 

Study authors Salinder Supri of Anderung Consulting in New York and Karen Malone of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, characterize the U.S. institution of medicine as not as a single, comprehensive and cohesive system of healthcare, but instead, a myriad of powerful organizations. 

The researchers said these powerful organizations have determined the rules of the game:

-- Insurance companies have set the rule "restrict choice and coverage" by using an elaborate system of co-payments and deductibles, exclusion clauses and loopholes.

-- HMOs have set the rule "manage care" to limit the number of treatments patients receive, the days spent in a hospital and their choice of provider. 

-- The pharmaceutical industry has set the rule "charge as much as we want, because insurance will pay," resulting in prescription drug prices nearly 60 percent higher than in Canada and patients being prescribed sometimes "unnecessary, often useless and even potentially dangerous drugs."

-- Corporate hospital chains have set the rule "test (patients) as much as we want because insurance will pay," even when excessive or unnecessary.

"The sum of the 'rules of the game' devised by these organizations has resulted in a fragmented, haphazard and broken system of healthcare," the authors said. 

The article is published in The American Journal of Medicine.

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