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Why an MRI costs $1080 in America and $280 in France
Old 03-27-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
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Why an MRI costs $1080 in America and $280 in France

Why an MRI costs $1,080 in America and $280 in France
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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The exchange rate is a killer...
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:33 PM   #3
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The exchange rate is a killer...
THAT explains it!
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Old 03-27-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
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Didn't we have a thread on this a bit ago?
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #5
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Didn't we have a thread on this a bit ago?

Right, at only $8000 per year per person, it really isn't worth discussing.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:25 PM   #6
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Yes, and I can think of at least one thread on a similar topic that got closed.
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Didn't we have a thread on this a bit ago?
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:29 PM   #7
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Yes, and I can think of at least one thread on a similar topic that got closed.
That inevitably happens when folks are so "split" on the "causes" of a certain "problem" in our society. Some think it's the gummint's fault and some think it's business's fault. A few even think it's our own fault (we have met the enemy, etc.). The data is probably there to ultimately tease out what "share" of blame there is to split up. But, no one really wants to use data when "opinion" is so much easier to advance than facts.

For instance, the article is one of the few which puts at least part of the "blame" on the governments (or collectives or whatever you want to call it) of OTHER countries who piggy-back off of US investment and research. You rarely see this piece of the puzzle. It's not the whole story, but it's usually ignored when folks debate the issue (it's easier to just blame those "evil fill-in-the-blank")

But, the "answer" to the issue of health care costs is actually quite simple. Freeze all health care costs. Then, there will be no more innovation and at some point (after the last patent expires) all health care costs will be determined strictly by supply and demand. Of course, there will be no more cancer research, no more drug research, no more innovation which saves more lives or makes lives more worth living. AND, HC services and products will be "honestly" rationed instead of doing it through price or gummint fiat.

I say none of this with "tongue-in-cheek". I don't think it's a good idea, but it would work. Then, we would finally have a chance to see where the real "fault" is. Now, it's too clouded by the difference in "quality" of health care available to us. Who believes that the current level of HC is similar to what it was 40 years ago. It SHOULD cost more when now, you can pop a "purple pill" and prevent ulcers, for instance. In the old days, a surgeon had to slice you open and cut out half a stomach, several nerves, and risk your life. Now GERD pills are so common that they are probably over used. But virtually NO one has surgery for ulcers any more.

There are dozens of other examples where the current "outcomes" are much, much better than they used to be. Unfortunately, the alternatives to the old methods/procedures cost a bundle to come up with in research (and, yes, marketing) costs. Who would have taken the "purple pill" if a drug company didn't hawk it on TV? Is it over prescribed? Yes. Does it cost more than it costs to make it (i.e., profit)? Yes. Could the pill be sold for less? Yes. But, does anyone want to go back to the days of surgical intervention for ulcers? I don't think so. Do we hope for yet more effective (and less side-effect) drugs. I think we do.

So the issues gets very cloudy. There are so many folks involved (docs, drug companies, medical device companies, for-profit hospitals, not-for-prifit hospitals, insurance companies, gummint entities (fed, state, even local), tort lawyers, patients demanding "purple pills" when they don't really need them, etc., etc., etc. Finger pointing is the easiest thing in the world. Understanding the interrelationship of all the factors (even deciding what all the factors are) is not quite so simple. Then, if we could actually "assign" the appropriate "blame" to the various parties, there are still political issues as well as economic issues to deal with. (Who would be the first to "limit" end-of-life intervention "excesses" for instance?)

It's one thing to figure out "what's wrong". It's quite another to figure out how to fix it. AND, so far, we really don't know what's wrong (even though we all have our own opinion of what is wrong.)

Because it's so complex and because we all have way more opinions than facts, can Porky be far behind. I think not. Of course, that's just my opinion so YMMV
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:43 PM   #8
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The coach of one of the schools in the NCAA tourney sold a medical equipment company, cashed out like $100 million, then took up coaching.

Its evidently very lucrative, the US health care business.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:44 AM   #9
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I had an MRI last week,there was no charge involved as i just flashed my Canadian healthcare card,same will happen with an upcoming CTscan and peripheral arterial study tests (doppler)
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:22 AM   #10
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There was an interesting story on NPR today about a cancer center that decided to not use a new drug. The drug's cost was double the cost of the old drug ($11,000 versus $5,500) and the effects were just about identical. They wrote an Op-Ed piece about their decision for the local paper. A representative from the drug company contacted them and offered a 50% discount on the new drug.

When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug : Planet Money : NPR
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:49 AM   #11
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The OP (excellent link, thanks kevink) refers to an article which in turn references a study. The author is the International Federation of Health Plans. They recently published a survey comparing costs for specific procedures among OECD countries. The results don't explain why the costs are different, just show how much. The results betwen US and the rest are breathtaking.

The study can be seen here http://www.ifhp.com/documents/2012iF...NALMarch25.pdf

Here is a chart showing comparative costs for one day of hospital stay. In addition an average cost more than 3x the next most expensive, it shows the dramatic range in costs in the US, which doesn't exist in the other countries.
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File Type: jpg Hospital Cost Comparison.jpg (202.5 KB, 16 views)
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:54 AM   #12
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Do the other countries have formal rate-setting laws or bodies?

Kind of like there are state commissions which set utility rates for electricity or phone service?

The range in prices in the US suggest a market approach -- charge what the market will bear. Obviously someone is paying those higher prices, paying much more for a bed in private hospital A instead of a bed in community hospital B.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jambo101
I had an MRI last week,there was no charge involved as i just flashed my Canadian healthcare card,same will happen with an upcoming CTscan and peripheral arterial study tests (doppler)
Curious how long you waited to have that mri? Some family & friends love in British Columbia....one of them has been waiting over a year for an mri of their knee/ hip area. They probably will have no co-pay...but there is a physical cost to waiting over a year to finding out what is wrong and how it might be corrected and in the meantime perhaps deterioriating. They said their dr. Is also frustrated about it. Have heard private clinics are being considered so people dont have to wait so long, but might have to pay something....money well spent probably.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:55 PM   #14
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Just a few data points: My Canadian friend recently got a knee MRI done at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok for about $475. That included a very detailed interpretation and consult. I had a visiting French friend go to Bumrungrad for an emergency 3 years ago and he needed an emergency MRI on his head/brain and it was going to be $600 (presumably with consult included). The wait for both of these procedures was essentially zero time.

Also, as another data point, my Canadian friend above actually injured his knee 3 years ago on a motorbike visiting me. He only spends 5 months per year in Canada, but could not get an MRI in that time during his last two years there (he spends 5 months per year there, the minimum to maintain medical coverage in Ontario). The waiting list is longer than 5 months in Toronto if it is not urgent. That is why he finally got it done in Thailand two and a half years after the original accident, because it was really causing him some pain and inconvenience. Another data point: Canada will pay for this MRI and consult that he got done in Thailand. Also, he is bringing all the medical results back to Canada when he returns and he may get a surgery done in Canada.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:15 PM   #15
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Just a few data points: ........
So as an extension of your data points, would it be fair to say that most Canadians would rather have our healthcare system as it now stands, than theirs?
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:46 PM   #16
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So as an extension of your data points, would it be fair to say that most Canadians would rather have our healthcare system as it now stands, than theirs?
Most Canadians I know (and I meet many overseas) seem pretty happy with their health care system although some seem to be worried about future funding for the system.

I don't think most countries prefer other country's medical systems or they would have already copied that other country's system.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:55 PM   #17
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Yeah the Brits grouse about the NHS, which is often cited in the US for having long wait times and other ills of govt.-run health care.

But they wouldn't give it up and no UK politician would ever propose eliminating it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:19 PM   #18
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You don't even have to venture outside the country to find price discrepancies apparently. I was just reading in morning newspaper, an article that was written about state laws keeping patients in the dark on their costs until afterward, and a need for pricing transparency. In the same California market knee replacement surgery ranged from $15,000 to $100,000 plus depending on the hospital with no discernible difference in quality, according to the article.
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:21 PM   #19
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Yeah the Brits grouse about the NHS, which is often cited in the US for having long wait times and other ills of govt.-run health care.
This was covered in the other thread. Wait times in most other countries are the same or shorter than the US wait times for both surgery and outpatient visits. (Btw, Canada is an outlier. France and Germany and .ch have wait times equivalent to the US.)

Regarding innovation, the article mentions,

Quote:
“We pay twice as much for brand-name drugs as most other industrialized countries,” Anderson says. “But the drug companies spend only 12 percent of their revenues on innovation. So yes, some of that money goes to innovation, but only 12 percent of it.”
In other words, it's a great bargain for pharma to charge double and pay out a sliver for R&D and then claim the moral high ground.

The end of the article has this gem:

Quote:
Even so, Anderson says, “if I could change one thing in the United States to bring down total health expenditures, it would definitely be the prices.”
The elephant in the room -- if we cut the prices, then someone's got to take a hit on their profits. Should we continue acting like someone is going to come along and volunteer to take one for the team?
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:13 PM   #20
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If they were going to take one for the team, there wouldn't be so much noise when there is any talk of health care reform.

Someone is making a lot of money and it's understandable that they're not going to give that up without a fight.
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