American Hospitals Are Way Too Expensive

Andrew Sprung has a complaint about Elizabeth Warren, one that I’ve shared in the past:

For almost two years, I have complained at intervals that Elizabeth Warren is faking it on healthcare — that is, blaming U.S. healthcare dysfunction entirely on the rapine of health insurers and pharma, while giving healthcare providers a pass.

In presenting her plan to finance Bernie-brand Medicare for All, Warren leads with this rhetorical reflex but then, finally, departs from it. She has to, as the plan’s viability depends on cutting off providers’ most lucrative revenue sources.

Sprung is right, and no universal health care plan will succeed unless it addresses our real problem. Here’s an example:

In Britain, a heart bypass costs $24,000. In America the average price is $78,000, and that can skyrocket to $161,000 or more if you’re unlucky enough to get treated at an expensive hospital.

Why? Because heart surgeons in America are paid more. Hospital rooms cost more. Drugs cost more. And, yes, admin costs are higher. This can’t be cured overnight even with the best health care plan, but it can be slowed down and addressed over time. That should be a goal of any universal health care plan worth the name.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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