If you have ever wondered why health care is so expensive in the USA, the New Yorker has the answer.  It intends to focus on key procedures over the coming months and dissect their component costs to analyse exactly who and what are responsible for the high price of American health care. First stop, colonoscopies.

The one quote summary: “Whether directly from their wallets or through insurance policies, Americans pay more for almost every interaction with the medical system. They are typically prescribed more expensive procedures and tests than people in other countries, no matter if those nations operate a private or national health system. A list of drug, scan and procedure prices compiled by the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurers, found that the United States came out the most costly in all 21 categories — and often by a huge margin.”

The Health Care Renewal Blog reports on a case of a medical technology company found to have offered doctors incentives to use its products, designed for radiation treatment of prostate cancer. The blog surmises that this type of behaviour by medical technology companies may be behind the USA’s high rate of unnecessarily aggressive treatment for prostate cancer.

The one quote summary: “A large health care company allegedly bribed doctors to use its products.  It seemingly tried to shut up a whistle-blower.  Seven years later, the company got a financial slap on the wrist, but no one directly involved in the alleged kickbacks, and no one whose compensation may have been enlarged due to such apparently unethical activity paid a price.  Never mind that the alleged kickbacks may have induced doctors to use treatments that provided no overall benefit, but could have harmed patients”.

BBC News describes the role of a simple cardboard box in reducing the infant mortality rate in Finland.  The longstanding policy of sending new parents a cardboard box (which can be used as a crib) with supplies for the baby is a great example of how governments can build social cohesion and support community through their policies and programs.

(Quote from a new dad) “This felt to me like evidence that someone cared, someone wanted our baby to have a good start in life. And now when I visit friends with young children it’s nice to see we share some common things. It strengthens that feeling that we are all in this together.”

Can you imagine anyone talking this way about the Baby Bonus?

 

 

 

 

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