Why your healthcare is so expensive (or free) | Did You Know?


Imagine you needed an MRI. Now, depending on where you live, it could be free, or cost hundreds of dollars. And it’d be the same whether you needed
your appendix removed. Or a CT scan. We can all agree that our health is important. But unfortunately, where you live can be the difference between not having to worry about doctor’s bills, and avoiding the hospital because you know there’s no way you’d be able to afford it. Different countries choose to approach health care in different ways. One thing a lot of countries have in common is universal coverage. That means all their citizens have access
to healthcare. They usually also control which drugs are
available and subsidised, and also what prices hospitals and doctors can charge. Some countries have mainly publicly-financed healthcare, like Canada. Others make it mandatory to buy regulated private insurance, like in Switzerland. In places like France and Germany, you must buy statutory health insurance provided by non-profits. Singapore requires its citizens to have a
mandated savings account. In Australia, care is free or subsidised through the publicly-funded Medicare. You can choose to get private insurance for faster access and the choice of a private hospital. It’s a good system, but not perfect – one
year, 1.3 million Australians put off seeing a doctor when they needed to, because they said they couldn’t afford it. So does that mean countries should be spending more to help the poor access healthcare? This is how much some countries spend on healthcare as a share of the economy. The country that spends the most is the US. Yes the population is big, but it also spends the most per capita. But people in the US don’t visit the doctor
a lot more than other countries. And despite the money, it’s ranked low on
both life expectancy and infant mortality rates. Let’s dig a little deeper. Here’s the split between public and private spending. It’s this part that makes US healthcare
so expensive. In the US, the price for the same procedure can vary widely, even in the same hospital. You’re charged a different amount depending on what insurance you have – because the US does not have universal health care. Some people are eligible for government-run programs. The government can help negotiate prices down for this group. For everyone else covered by private insurance, it’s the job of those companies — and there are THOUSANDS of them — to negotiate those costs down on their own. Millions of people in the US are uninsured, but it’s still less than the number before coverage under the Affordable Care Act began. And if you don’t have insurance, you’re most likely paying the highest price of all, because you have no-one negotiating for you. Hospitals and doctors can charge you much more for the same service. And because of all that money they make, you can see how there’s little incentive for big pharmaceutical companies and hospitals to lower prices. If you live in the US, you can expect on average to live at least two whole years less than other similar countries. One country you might be surprised to find so close on the chart to the US is its poorer neighbour, Cuba. That’s because, despite being a controversial country in many ways, healthcare in Cuba is protected as a fundamental human right – it’s free and universal. They focus on cost-effective, preventative
care, with about triple the number of doctors for its population than other richer countries, and many of them based in local neighbourhoods. Annual check-ups and vaccination is mandatory. So even though it spends far less on healthcare, its citizens can expect, on average, to outlive Americans. The UK also has free universal healthcare. The Government provides healthcare, funded by the taxpayer, through the National Health Service. Most treatments are free of charge to everyone except visitors and illegal immigrants, but even those groups can access emergency care. All prescription drugs are also free or subsidised. But while the costs are low, the NHS also controls which new treatments and drugs the government should allow and pay for. The UK has relatively high cancer mortality rates, partly because some of the more expensive and newer cancer drugs aren’t available in the country, because they haven’t been deemed cost-effective. That’s measured by NICE by whether a drug would cost more than 20,000-30,000 pounds for each extra year of quality life it would
provide – anything above this limit tends not to be recommended for public subsidies. Australia does the same thing through the
Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, although they don’t have an explicit threshold. The US, on the other hand, has no agency regulating drug prices. So while this means there’s technically
full access to all drugs deemed safe by the FDA, pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever they want. Whatever. They. Want. So whether you can afford it is another question. So why doesn’t the government just force
them to lower prices? Because big money means big power, especially in places like Congress. Those high selling prices also attract investors, which in turn helps with research and innovation towards new cures. And this benefits not just the US, but the
rest of the world too. The real dilemma for the US is whether the trade-off between more accessible drugs and innovation is worth it. So what is the best way to go about healthcare? Some countries offer a cost-efficient solution but don’t give access to all treatments and drugs. Innovation is great for improving drugs, but it comes at a steep cost which makes its way back to the consumer and patient. There’s no golden solution, but at the end of the day, a country’s main goal should be prioritising the health of their citizens. So as you can imagine, it’s really hard to boil down several different healthcare systems in just a few minutes, so we’ve had to leave out a lot of small detail. So I’ve put a heap of links down below which will go into a lot more detail about that and also a few links about the data sets we’ve used.

24 Replies to “Why your healthcare is so expensive (or free) | Did You Know?”

  1. This is great, can you do more comparisons of different sectors of government services with other countries around the world?

  2. I lived for nearly a decade in Australia and USA. Private Healthcare is about the same price, but the specialists in USA are faster to get an appointment.

  3. If the US didnt have a strong capitalist healthcare system the price of healthcare in other western nations would go up.
    US market are early adopters which means they get new health treatments off the ground.
    God bless America.
    PS White Americans live longer than White Aussies/Brits, their numbers are tanked by Black people and Immigrants.

  4. The Global Plutocrats are attempting to privatize the planet to extract more wealth from the majority, and healthcare is just another target in their crosshairs. Sure, in the US the majority wants “Medicare for All”; a government funded universal healthcare system you would find in much of Europe, but as the US is the heart of Darwinian Capitalism, “Medicare for All” has little chance of passing even with popular representatives of the people like Ocasio Cortez. The US can't afford "Medicare for All"; even though a Koch funded think tank proved it would considerably reduce the average American's health care cost, there are wars to fight and a military budget to distribute between the plutocrats and don't forget the recent trillions is tax "relief" for the plutocrats. Don’t be fooled, the US is not a democracy; it is a fabricated political and electoral system that gives the illusion of democracy and the media is used for distraction and control to make the soft totalitarianism more palatable. Whether it is the Plutocrats Democratic Party or the Plutocrats’ Republican Party in office, the Plutocrats are always in control.

    To increase the wealth and income gap even further, the plutocrats must extract more from the majority and privatization is just one of the many mechanisms used. You may have noticed during Trump’s visit to Britain, he was pushing to open up the British health care system to US investment. The British healthcare system is already under stress by deceptive design, and the British Plutocrats are attempting to find a way to privatize the National Health. Once the NHS has been defunded to the point where it becomes unacceptably inefficient to a critical number, the plutocrats and their government puppets will be able to justify global privatization.

    The same is on the drawing board for Australia. It started when Howard introduced Health Insurance; the thin end of the wedge. Like the “boiling frog” principle, the public healthcare system will get considerably more inefficient and understaffed until one day the people will cry out for an alternative system. It is far more politically strategic if you allow the public to demand a change. Abbot has shown defunding can’t be done abruptly; his rapid defunding of healthcare was even noticed by the cognitively challenged and had to be reversed. But if the Global Plutocrats who wish to extract more wealth from their investment in Australia play their cars right, they will be able to implement this deception right under the nose of the sleeping public. After all, which party are you going to vote for to protect the public healthcare system; when it comes to the crunch you may be surprised at the convenient, if denied bipartisanship of Labor and Liberal.

    And European nations with their exceptional free healthcare systems shouldn't become too complacent, the Plutocrats will be coming to extract their pound of flesh from your health budget some time soon. I'm sure the plutocrats already have strategies on the drawing board for privatizing European health care. The US pays by far the most in healthcare for mediocre results and that's how the plutocrats can extract the most wealth. You can be sure it will be coming to a government near you soon.

  5. Sorry but this video is rubbish…how can you measure a health system by how long the people live….how about measuring the sufferring because you cannot access the drugs you need… In Australia you cannot access drugs treatments unless you have a specific condition deemed acceptable to medicare regardless…yet those who have rare diseases cannot access any drugs that could help them because medicare says no….at least in the US they can access any drugs for any condition and their private health pays for their medication! So the US has Choice of drugs and treatments for all where we do not and their Private health pays for their drugs and treatments where Australias do not for all. If you have to stick a bar graph of life expectancy to convince everyone that that is proof of the effectiveness of a health system then how about a bar graph for those that suffer due to lack of drug treatment options in their health system…its not about being alive ..its about a health system that gives a quality of life for ALL not just a selection of a people.!

  6. This video makes very little sense. In 2:40, you contradict yourself in the very next sentence. “If you live in the US, you can expect on average to live 2 whole years less than other similar countries. One country you might be surprised to find so close to the US is its poorer neighbour Cuba. That’s because despite being a controversial country in many ways, healthcare in Cuba is protected as a fundamental human right, it’s free and universal” What??

  7. remember. UK companies often pay for your private medical There are no excesses . This means employees get best and back to work. I now live in Australia now and its more expensive

  8. It's actually pretty hilarious that most of the medication developed in the US is developed with tax payer money at universities and then the pharma companies get the rights and price gouge consumers, meaning that Americans get screwed over twice in this process.

  9. Here goes the misleading (and shall I say downright dishonest) life expectancy and infant mortality stats.

  10. Is this old info? I remember hearing congress passed a law barring govt departments from using their position in the market to negotiate lower prices for pharmaceuticals. Meaning Medicare, Medicaid, the military, VA, State institutions, Fed & state Corrective Services depts, etc now have to pay retail for pharmaceuticals. Is this still the case?

  11. Please dig deeper into the Cuban life expectancy statistics. You are using my tax dollars to spread dangerous misinformation.

  12. Will it be more efficient to abolish private health industry and cover everyone under Medicare with higher Medicare surcharge

  13. I'm loving all these satirical communist jokes in the comments. Here let me try one. Governments are the cheapest healthcare providers bahahaha!

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