Every year, the United States spends eight times as much money on unnecessary health-care costs as the Pentagon spent for each year of its operations in Iraq.
The massive annual waste is the takeaway from a new report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which estimates that the country loses some $750 billion annually to medical fraud, inefficiencies, and other siphons in the health-care system. In comparison, the Defense Department budgeted $757.8 billion for the war in Iraq over the eight years it was there. (full article via The Atlantic).
In an attempt to find a silver lining to the Obamacare decision, it’s worth noting that the Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision doesn’t change our main challenge in healthcare.
Third-party payer was our biggest problem before Obamacare was enacted, and third-party payer remains our biggest problem now that Obamacare is being implemented.
As the austerity situation is hitting Spain for real, the pain is being felt beyond the falling IBEX and rising yields. Similar effects as we have seen in Greece are now popping up in Spain, latest being the healthcare sector. With unemployment skyrocketing, the politicians delivering empty promises, Argentina stealing Spanish properties, and healthcare heading for a collapse, expect nothing less than the protest we saw in Greece. From El Pais.
Spain’s hospitals are reportedly in debt to the pharmaceutical companies that supply them with drugs and medical devices to the tune of 12 billion euros. Last week Sagrario Pérez Castellanos, the director general of Basic Services and Pharmacy at the Health Ministry, told reporters that she couldn’t confirm the figure, saying that the government didn’t have data for hospitals’ full costs because regional governments, who are responsible for budgeting their health services, can’t – or won’t – provide accurate figures.
Farmaindustria, the body that represents Spain’s pharmaceutical companies, has a clearer picture of the problem: it says that of the 12 billion euros, “6.4 billion covers medicines, and the rest covers items such as disposable gloves, bandages, syringes, etc.” It adds that regional health authorities take between 18 and 26 months to pay their suppliers.