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Column: Waste in Health Care System Demands Reform

Dec 10, 2021 | News

I was honored to have my column, “Waste in Health Care System Demands Reform” recently published in the Lassen County Times. You can read an except below and the full column by clicking the button at the bottom.

Waste in Health Care System Demands Reform

$935 billion is a huge amount of money. Taking it in perspective, it is much more than the United States spends every year on the military. It is about as much as the entire federal government spent in Ronald Reagan’s fifth year in office, 1985.

Yet, according to a recent study by William Shrank, Teresa Rogstad and Natasha Parekh, that’s the upper end of the range of waste estimated in the American health care system.

This figure includes $266 billion in excessive administrative costs, $240 billion in inflated pricing, $166 billion in failure of care delivery, and $84 billion in outright fraud and abuse.

Simply eliminating that massive amount of waste would enable us to provide all 330 million Americans with a $3,000 per year ( $250 per month ) basic catastrophic health insurance policy to cover them in the event of a life- threatening medical occurrence, such as a heart attack, cancer, or accident which requires hospitalization.

Americans today spend more ($4 trillion per year or $12,000 per person ) on health care to get less than almost any place in the world. We have fewer doctors per capita than comparable countries. We no longer enjoy the highest life expectancy rates and we are shamed by the low infant mortality rates abroad.

A large part of the waste in the “Health Care Swamp” can be attributed to our health insurance companies and our hospitals.

The average surgeon earns $306,000 a year. The average general practitioner about $185,000. Do you know what the CEO of CVS (which owns Aetna) made in 2019? More than $36 million. Cigna’s David Cordani pulled in $19.3 million while Molina’s Joseph Zubretsky scooped up $18 million in total compensation. Humana’s Bruce Broussard raked in $16.7 million and Anthem’s Gail Boudreaux $15.5 million.

Now, when you’re on the operating table or in the ER waiting for treatment, who will be showing up to care for you, the CEO of Anthem, Aetna, or Cigna? Not likely. It will be your surgeon or doctor, whose compensation pales beside the likes of the health insurance barons. Talk about misplaced priorities and misallocation of resources…

About Me

I am a family physician and past Congressional candidate in San Diego, CA. I am on a mission to find smart, common sense solutions to many of our most challenging problems as a society.

I am a proud legal immigrant to the United States, arriving here when I was just eleven years old.

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