Is Health Care a Pyramid Scheme?
Health care in the United States provides many benefits to the working population as taxpayers contribute a sizeable portion their paychecks to the government in order to fund our health care system. While the amount paid for health care is determined by several factors including personal health, where you live, and who you work for, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that health care providers may not be disclosing the necessary information to its insureds and charging them more than they otherwise should.
This question of disclosed information has begun and will be confronted further in the near future. “At the beginning of this year, a federal rule took effect requiring hospitals to publish their discounted cash prices and all contracted rates by payer and plan” (Fisher). Yet, it has been analyzed that less than 6% of hospitals are complying with this new mandate (Fisher). To further strengthen the transparency related to the cost of health care, the Biden administration is taking further steps expected to be in-force next July, “...requiring (hospitals) to post their historical claims data and out-of-pocket cost information so that consumers can enjoy systemwide access to actual price information” (Fisher). The overall objective of these new rules is to increase transparency of information as well as create more competition within the industry, subsequently lowering the costs paid by employers and employees. These lower costs will result in higher real wages earned by the tax-paying citizens, which is something everybody hopes to achieve.
As it stands today, health care accounts for 18% of national GDP (Yang). Those with lower incomes who make up a majority of the population are the ones paying the highest health care insurance premiums as they have more health issues in nature. As important as health care and its funding is to the overall health of the country, finding a way to reduce health care premiums will inherently help the lower earners retain more of their paychecks. Yet, the see-saw that needs to be considered is how much we can reduce health care premiums while not deterring the strength of our health care system. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and those alike indicated they were suffering from underfunding.
This is an incredibly important question for the Biden administration to address moving forward. There are many factors to consider whether more or less money should be put into our health care system. But as a tax-paying citizen, don’t you question how these tax dollars are being spent and whether or not there are cheaper health care plan alternatives than what you are currently paying?
Fisher, Cynthia. “Healthcare Costs Are Eating Workers’ Wage Gains. How to Fix It.” Barrons, 10 Oct. 2021, https://www.barrons.com/articles/chip-shortage-stocks-with-upside-51633993513.
Yang, Jenny. “U.S. National Health Expenditure as Percent of GDP from 1960 to 2020.” Statista, 8 Sept. 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/184968/us-health-expenditure-as-percent-of-gdp-since-1960/.