US healthcare system – NOT broken
A recent Fool article tried to make the opposite point using charts and graphs. The author tried to make the point that our healthcare system is more expensive and less effective, than, say, Europe. Sadly, he left out the most important one: you can find it here in a NY Times blog.
You see, American general physicians and specialists make double what their Euroland counterparts earn per year in wages. As it is with any government budget or corporate enterprise or small business, 2/3 of your costs come from employee wages and benefits. Stopping the ever-rising US healthcare costs is as simple as arresting the wage increases of medical employees thereof. We can immediately bring these costs under control by cutting the wages of the above 2 categories by 50%: with very powerful medical labor unions, good luck on that one.
Nevertheless, let us wave our magic wand and 'fix' it:
**effective immediately, GP/specialist/technician/anesthesiologist wages are cut in half, and are hereby permanently capped at levels commensurate with their European counterparts
**we need more GPs. Any GP who spends a few years serving for slave wages in designated poverty areas will have their student loans forgiven
**remove all legal barriers to having neighborhood health clinics staffed entirely by nurses (who, oddly, are not overpaid compared to their Euroland equivalents) who will provide routine care, diagnosis, and write prescriptions; we will make them as commonplace as 7-Elevens, and as affordable as Walmart.
As you can see, getting US healthcare costs under control is neither a medical, economic, nor technological problem; it is a political one.