Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Seen A Doctor Lately?

If you are like most Americans, the answer is no. The Census Bureau found that as Boomers are aging they are doing so well (a pun perhaps?) that they are seeing or using Medical services less. Two thirds of Americans reported being in "good health" vs those 1/3 who said they were in poor health. Given the odds that would mean of the 79 million boomers that is not a lot. And heck that might mean that "Greatest Generation" folks we like to rave about. You know the ones over 70 in other words not boomers.

However, you wouldn't know that given the histrionics from their end and from some political sources that the ever aging boomer population will crush the system not only from their increasing numbers or weight problems or medical ones. Pick one this system seems to find a multitude of excuses, explanations or justifications for the ever increasing costs of Medicine. They forget that greed one or the one tied to debt that many Doctors have over their head as a result of becoming Doctors. Yes I just made an excuse and explanation and justification right there. I would say "don't shoot the messenger" because then I would have to go back to Harborview Hospital and given my last visit the likelihood of me coming out alive is veering to the negative.

In addition there is still that free market equation which ties insurance to jobs and when you don't have a job or have one that doesn't provide insurance (an ever increasing number) that may also contribute. In fact the people without insurance are less likely to visit a doctor, said the report, which was based on the Survey of Income and Program Participation; in addition the Census Bureau found that the share of working-age Americans without health insurance was 21.8% in 2010 up from 17% in 2001. But hey that should change with the mandate in 2014. Hang in there people for the next 2 years. I am sure the roulette wheel will hit black right?

And we have this little gem: People lacking insurance were far less likely to go to doctors. Just 24% of the uninsured went to a doctor at least once in 2010, compared with 72% of the general population of working age adults, the report found.

The share of doctors visits by uninsured adults was low, Mr. O’Hara said, despite the safety net that is supposed to help them get medical care, like as federally financed community health centers and hospitals with charity care.

Remember that MEME that the Affordable Care Act was to stop the crush of people using ER's as primary care or as the last resort. Well another fallacy the fact checkers checking facts miss. Well they are busy like the ER's are apparently.

The other MEME is the belief that its "illegals" or "poors" (you know the 47%) using our ER facilities and once again the study found that is not so.

The report found a sharp difference in medical usage by income. Nearly 40% of people in poverty did not visit a doctor in 2010, compared with 19% of people from higher income levels.

Hispanics were the least likely to seek medical care, with 42% reporting not having visited a doctor at all in 2010. Among whites, the share was 23 percent and among blacks it was 30 percent.

So its income related and nothing more. I have written many times when you have it you use it and when you don't you don't. Can't use something you don't have. And I can assure you as one who was foisted into the matrix of medical incompetence and excess billing you have to fight to get even detailed invoices. Still waiting for mine. I might actually die waiting. Die as in old age.

The article below is from the Economix blog of the New York Times. I think it shows quite nicely how the individual GDP relates to the costs related to medicine. Since we like to use personal colloquialisms of microeconomics to apply to macro ones I thought I would reverse that for a change of pace.

Visiting the Doctor Less, but Spending More on Health

By CATHERINE RAMPELL

The average annual number of times Americans visit medical providers has been falling over the last decade, according to a new report from the Census Bureau. But their overall spending on health care is still rising.
Note: Data on medical services utilization are not available in the SIPP for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 Panel, waves 3, 6, and 9; 2004 Panel, waves 3 and 6;and 2008 Panel, waves 4 and 7. Chart from "Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010," by Brett O’Hara and Kyle Caswell.Note: Data on medical services utilization are not available in the SIPP for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 Panel, waves 3, 6, and 9; 2004 Panel, waves 3 and 6; and 2008 Panel, waves 4 and 7. Chart from “Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010,” by Brett O’Hara and Kyle Caswell.

Among Americans 18 to 64 years old, the average person visited medical providers 3.9 times in 2010, compared to 4.8 times in 2001.

Both healthy Americans and less healthy Americans reported going to the doctor less frequently in 2010 than they did in 2001:
Note: Data on medical services utilization are not available in the SIPP for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 Panel, waves 3, 6, and 9; 2004 Panel, waves 3 and 6;and 2008 Panel, waves 4 and 7. Chart from "Health Status, Health Insurance, and Medical Services Utilization: 2010," by Brett O'Hara and Kyle Caswell.Note: Data on medical services utilization are not available in the SIPP for 2006, 2007, and 2008. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 Panel, waves 3, 6, and 9; 2004 Panel, waves 3 and 6; and 2008 Panel, waves 4 and 7.

Visits to the doctor and other medical providers may be falling, but health spending is still substantially higher today than it was a decade ago, according to the Labor Department’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.

The typical household (including residents of all ages) spent $3,313 on health care in 2011, compared to $2,771 in 2001, after adjusting for inflation.

Sources: Consumer Expenditures Survey, Consumer Price Index.Sources: Consumer Expenditures Survey, Consumer Price Index.

Health care spending has generally been rising even as total household spending has stagnated or fallen in recent years. As a result, health care spending is eating up a larger share of total household budgets than it used to. As of 2011, the typical American household spent 6.7 percent of its total expenditures on health care.
Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey.Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Almost every category of health care spending has been rising.

The average American household spent $768 on medical services last year, an increase of 3.1 percent from the year before. It also spent $1,922 on health insurance, an increase of 1.8 percent from the year before; and $134 on medical supplies, up 9.2 percent from the year before.


Annual household spending on prescription and nonprescription drugs fell 2.3 percent, however, to $489.

Spending growth on health insurance is slower than that for some other health care categories, but the base was so large to begin with that health insurance is accounting for a growing percentage of the typical household’s total health care spending. In other words, a bigger share of households’ health care spending is going through insurance companies as opposed to coming from co-payments and other out-of-pocket spending.







Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey. Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey.

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