American’s blame everyone but themselves for high healthcare costs

  • Most Americans are focused on what they’re being charged for health care, not how much they or an aging population are consuming, according to a new POLITICO/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll.
  • Respondents blamed drug companies, insurers, providers and even the federal government for surging costs while dismissing overuse as a central issue.
  • 54 percent of respondents believe that high health costs are a serious problem. Asked about the reasons, nearly 80 percent said the prices charged by drugmakers were a major factor, while 75 percent held insurance companies responsible and 74 percent held hospitals responsible.
  • Our high cost of care and modest health outcomes will remain stubbornly fixed unless our behavior changes.

As I said many times before, even if all prescription drugs were free our healthcare costs would still be rising rapidly. Consider the following:

  •  Nearly 40% of Americans were considered obese in 2015 and 2016, a significant increase from 2007 and 2008.
  • 2016 study published in the Journal of the AMA found that only 2% of Americans met the ideal dietary guidelines adopted by the American Heart Association.
  • In a 2015 survey, 28% of American adults that they did not participate in the past year in any of 104 listed physical activities and were considered “totally sedentary.”
  • According to the Lancet “from 1995 to 2014, there were 14,672,409 incident cases for 30 types of cancer. Incidence significantly increased for six of 12 obesity-related cancers in young adults (25–49 years) with steeper rises in successively younger generations.
    The risk of cancer is increasing in young adults for half of the obesity-related cancers, with the increase steeper in progressively younger ages.
    Obesity has been repeatedly linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. The World Health Organization has called obesity a “rising epidemic”, with over 1 billion adults considered obese worldwide.

The Milken Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan think tank, released a report on the real economic costs of obesity and overweight in the United States. This report, unlike many estimates, includes both direct health care costs that are caused by obesity and overweight and indirect costs associated with lost productivity borne by patients and their employers. The total number is staggering: $1.72 trillion dollars each year.

Medical costs to care for patients with obesity are estimated to be as high as $210 billion per year. In addition, obesity is associated with job absenteeism and lower productivity while at work, costing the system more than $6 billion each year.

In 2016, diseases caused by obesity and being overweight accounted for 47.1 percent of the total cost of chronic diseases in the U.S.— responsible for $480.7 billion in direct health care costs, plus $1.24 trillion in indirect costs related to lost economic productivity.

Obesity respresents a biger threat to our healthcare than smoking and yet politicians, the AMA, insurers and most HCP’s show little interest in coming together to fight obesity. Employers are talking abou banding together to form theor own health insurance coverage but unless they give employees an incentive to lose weight their costs are going to continue to rise.

The total costs in the U.S. for direct health care treatment for chronic health conditions totaled $1.1 trillion in 2016—equivalent to 5.8 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.  In an eye-opening report, researchers studied men and women between the ages of 40 to 85 over a 20-year period. They found that obesity was likely responsible for about 18% of deaths during that time, one out of five Americans. Obesity is going to increasingly shape the mortality levels in the united states as we move forward.

Also researchers estimate that more than 40 percent of the cancer cases diagnosed in the United States in 2014 and nearly half of all deaths from cancer were caused by potentially avoidable cancer risk factors , including tobacco use, poor diet, alcohol intake, physical inactivity, and obesity (21). In addition, vaccination against infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and decreasing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices can further reduce the burden of certain types of cancer.

In other words American’s are killing themselves but WE refuse to take responsibility and our healthcare system is not designed around prevention, only treatment.