Washington economist Gene Steuerle says the fundamental reason health care costs so much is because both patients and providers spend as if they’re using someone else’s money.
“The original sin of health insurance, public or private, has been to allow patients to demand and providers to supply more health care while pushing charges onto others,” Steuerle wrote for the Urban Institute.
I’ll offer a couple of examples.
A few years ago, neurosurgeons at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano invited people with Parkinson’s disease to come in for a free seminar on deep brain stimulation. This is a surgery where wires are inserted into one or both halves of the brain to provide electrical stimuli that sometimes control tremors or other involuntary movements characteristic of Parkinson’s.
“Does Medicare pay for it?” an audience member asked.
Yes, the doctors replied.
Nothing more was said about cost.
Deep brain stimulation is priced anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
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