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Healthcare: $3.5 Trillion A Year Market

1 week, 5 days ago

1025  0
Posted on Jan 09, 2019, 2 p.m.

If the US healthcare system was a country, it would be the 5th largest GDP in the world, the $3.5 trillion a year industry has become one of the world’s largest money makers, that is seen by some as a money making scam.

Only China, Japan, Germany, and the USA have a GDP that is larger than the 3.5 trillion dollar US healthcare market, if this sounds obscene to you, well that’s because it is. People should be attracted to the healthcare industry to help people not because of the mountains of money that can be made. Just like many other things in today’s society the healthcare industry has become all about pursuit of the almighty dollar and bottom line, which is just wrong.

To keep this massive money making machine moving the healthcare industry has to do a tremendous amount of marketing. According to a study recently published in JAMA at least 30 billion is spent every year on such marketing, nearly doubling from 1997 to 2016. With hopes of earning its share of the 3.5 trillion dollars the medical industry is pouring more money than ever into advertising its products ranging from high priced prescription to do it yourself genetic testing and stem cell treatments both approved and unapproved.

Such marketing can take many forms but the most obvious and possibly most obnoxious are the tv adverts endlessly hawking various pharmaceutical drugs making it look like the best thing since sliced bread, ending with the phrase ask your doctor about, followed by the long lists of possible side effects which most times are worse than what they were to treat. Most often those side effects are over-shadowed by the vibrant, smiling and healthy people participating in various outdoor activities on glorious days, which are intentionally used to inference if you want to be like these people you should take their product. As a result of these adverts millions of Americans rush out to their doctors and ask about drugs they do not need to treat conditions they do not have due to the power of suggestion.

On January 1st many pharmaceutical manufacturers shovelled out another annual round of massive price increases. Most Americans will just keep taking these drugs because that is what they are being told to do in the media and by their doctors. Most people will never find out or chose to remain blind to the pharmaceutical industry going to great lengths to get doctors to do what they want. NBC News has aired episodes showing that big pharma companies are constantly showering doctors with free food, drinks, speaking fees, and paying for travel to various conferences. Technically it is a legal form of bribery, and it works most effectively.

When a patient goes to see a doctor for a concern there are typically two solutions to whatever problem that patient may have, either drugs or surgery, unless that doctor has a more alternative mind, which to be honest is rare these days. Since most people don’t like to be cut open and drugs are generally less expensive that is the typically taken option.

Should a doctor get off the big pharma path and try to propose alternative solutions that can lead them into trouble. Today’s medical doctors are not allowed to give nutritional advice or the American Medical Association will come knocking at their door and possibly shut them down. Why you might ask, that is because unlike days of yesteryear doctor’s don’t know the right things to say, because unless they took extra specialized training they were not educated that way in medical college; instead an M.D can only dole out experimental and possibly addictive drugs at symptoms of deeper rooted sickness, along with immune system destroying antibiotics and carcinogenic vaccines.

Some may be shocked to find that outside of antibiotics there isn’t an actual cure for anything, despite the studies showing great promise and breakthroughs that get pushed under the rug. There isn’t as much profit to be made in actual cures, but there is in treating symptoms just enough to keep you hooked and coming back for more. This is why medicines that wreck your health are easy to come by, just like all those junk food vending machines. Very little money can be made off of cures in comparison, the real money is to made off of the unwell who are repeat patients that keep going back for more as they are told in chronic sick care or symptom management. Some people may even be shocked to find that prescriptions drugs are the 4th leading cause of death within the USA, even when taken as directed, that’s a cold hard fact.

Most often people go to the hospital in a time of great need, are gravely ill, in an accident, and may even think you may die; at these times no one thinks about how much this medical care will cost, at these moments all you know is help is needed and unfortunately this is also the perfect opportunity to be taken advantage of.

Here is just one example: Nina Dang broke her arm bicycling in San Francisco which resulted in an emergency room visit. A bystander saw her fall and called an ambulance for the semi-lucid woman who was awake and not able to answer basic questions. Doctors took a CT scan of her brain and spine, and X-rayed her arm. The 24 year old left with her arm in a splint, on pain medication, and had a recommendation to follow up with an orthopedist. A few months later she got a bill for $24,074.50 as her health insurer only cover an amount they thought was fair for the services provided which was $3,830.79 Dang was left to pay the balance of over $20,000.00, which the hospital threatened to send to collections in mid-December.

Most assume that if they have health insurance they will be covered if something major should happen and they need care, but just as Dang found out you can still be hit with massively crippling hospital bill even with insurance, due to over inflated charges. Medical debt is the number one reason why Americans are declaring bankruptcy, which is so wrong. Because of the way the healthcare system is setup in America the majority of families are just one major illness away from their financial ruin.

These kinds of things are not just isolated to San Francisco they are happen across the nation. Median charge for a single visit to an emergency room nationally is well over $1000.00, in which you can be billed as much as $30 for a single tablet of aspirin.

The American healthcare system is broken and designed to squeeze as much money as possible out of everyone. Americans are unfortunately stuck with this system for the time being as the industry will not reform itself, and gridlock in Washington from lobbyists paired with the deep pockets and far reach of big pharma are going to make a political solution quite probably impossible for the foreseeable future.  

Materials provided by:

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

https://khn.org/news/health-care-industry-spends-30b-a-year-pushing-its-wares-from-drugs-to-stem-cell-treatment/

https://www.investopedia.com/insights/worlds-top-economies/

https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/highlights.pdf

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https://www.thebalance.com/medical-bankruptcy-statistics-4154729



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