The Health Care Crisis

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The cost of insurance has increased dramatically over the past decade, far surpassing the general rate of inflation in most years. Between 1989 and 1996, the average amount an employee had to contribute for family coverage jumped from $935 to $1778. In 1990, American companies spent $177 billion on health benefits for workers and their dependents; that number rose to $252 billion by 1996, or more than double the rate of inflation. Among the cost drivers: an aging population – the number of senior citizens who need health benefits is increasing dramatically every year; medical technology advances – which decreased the death rate; new drugs – expensive and effective, which make us live longer; and of course the increase of fear in medical litigations among doctors. Increase in usage will surely increase the cost of health care. On average, between the ages of 45 and 65, a person's usage of health care triples. Eighty year-olds use nine times more health care services than 45 year-olds. By the year 2030, the number of people over 65 is expected to double. The cost for medical services have increased as well. Since 1980, medical cost have risen 281%. The number of organ transplants has doubled in the past 15 years, and all transplants cost over $100,000.

From my point of view, I think that increase in medical litigations is one of the most important factor of health care crisis. Americans spend far more per person on the costs of litigation than any other country in the world. The excess of the litigation system are an important contributor to "defensive medicine" – the costly use of medical treatments by a doctor for the purpose of avoiding litigation. As multimillion-dollar jury awards have become more commonplace in recent years, these problems have reached crisis proportions. Insurance premiums for malpractice are increasing at a rapid rate, particularly in states that have not taken steps to make their legal systems function more predictably and effectively....
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