Saturday, December 28, 2019

By the numbers - the cost of human needs


Margot Sanger-Katz at the Times reports that In the U.S., an Angioplasty Costs $32,000. Elsewhere? Maybe $6,400. A study of international prices finds American patients pay much more across a wide array of common services. The $6400 is the cost of angioplasty in the Netherlands. Here are some more using ETA - Scriber’s eyeball-estimate technique for averages, in this case the average percentage of U. S. cost.

  • “Health Insurers in U.S. Pay Much More for Hospital Care” (like angioplasty) - 35%.
  • “U.S. Prices for Most Outpatient Procedures Are Also High” (like colonoscopy) - 35%
  • “The Pattern Holds for Drugs, Too” - 30%

So what about this “zero” business? That’s the Scriber’s estimate of the number of health care professionals and health care entities willing to take a cut. Sanger-Katz explains.

Any successful effort to tamp down American prices, of course, will mean reducing someone’s paycheck. The uniquely high prices for drugs in the United States help make pharmaceutical companies profitable. The high prices paid for hospital care keep large research hospitals and small rural providers afloat. The high prices help doctors pay off extensive education debt — but also help place them among the highest-paid professions in our economy. None of those groups particularly want a pay cut.

Yet other countries are managing to deliver quality health care at less than half the cost in the U.S. If you, as the saying goes, “go figure”, you too will come up with “zero.”


Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer, covers the ‘Tough year’ for measles and other infectious diseases in US.

There were nearly 1,300 cases of measles in the U.S. through November, That’s the largest number in 27 years. There were no deaths but about 120 people ended up in the hospital.

This from a disease that vaccines had essentially purged from the country for a decade.

Not only that …

Hepatitis A tends to be thought of as a kind of food poisoning, often traced to an infected restaurant worker with poor hygiene. But the latest wave began in San Diego among homeless people and people who use illicit drugs. In 2017, there were 1,500 cases in four states tied to the outbreak. This year, it boomed to 17,000 in 30 states, with Florida and Tennessee the hardest hit.

Eastern equine encephalitis got its name because it was first seen in horses in Massachusetts. … The numbers remain very low — just 38 cases this year. But that’s more than double the annual number in the past decade, and it included 15 deaths. That prompted health warnings in some places and even calls to cancel outdoor events scheduled for dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.


The AZ Blue Meanie reports on the cost of Trump Trade Wars: farmers who can’t feed themselves turn to food stamps - or simply abandon their farms. All that while 60% of Trump’s tax cuts to farmers in NY state, for example, have gone to the top 10%.

And about that $4,100? That’s the amount of the subsidy for one farm family which is struggling to get by. And, finally swallowing their pride, they’ve turned to food stamps. How long that will help is anyone’s guess now that Trump has attacked SNAP.


Feds deny county’s request to shift funds to Tucson migrant shelter reports the Daily Star. The amount at stake is $200,000.

"It’s pretty disappointing that somebody would think that humanitarian aid that was provided for in the law and in the policy would somehow diminish border security,” [Pima County Administrator Chuck] Huckelberry told the Star on Friday, adding that he’ll “reassess with the board where this will go.”

Federal officials have notified Pima County that their request to use a portion of Operation Stonegarden funding to operate the Casa Alitas migrant shelter was denied after they determined “there is no border security operational benefit.”

Hucklberry argued "that a surge of asylum seekers in Pima County that overwhelmed the Border Patrol and prompted the request from the supervisors is “an appropriate border security risk for mitigation.”

A representative from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security referred questions to representatives from the Border Patrol and Federal Emergency Management Association, who did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Of course not.

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