Consumer Driven Health Care

Monday, July 11, 2005

Consumer Driven Health Care

Health care now drains $1.7 trillion or 15.3% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 50% more than other industrialized nations.

Each year, employers pay an average $7,000 per worker for health insurance ($10,000 for workers with family coverage), and premiums are increasing at five times the general rate of inflation. To cope, employers are turning to overtime, offshore outsourcing, and increased automation—especially for lower-paid positions. Unless health care costs are reduced, jobs will continue to disappear from the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, personal health continues to deteriorate due to sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, and poor personal choices. In contrast to the 20-plus year gain in longevity expectancy experienced during the last century, today’s youth could very well be the first generation in America’s history who do not live as long as their parents. Currently 62% of Americans are overweight and 32% are obese. If current trends continue, by 2030, 100% of all Americans could be obese and their health care costs will be greater than the entire U.S. economy!

And as America’s baby boomers head into the ages of greatest medical expense, alarms are sounding over the future of Medicare and Social Security, states are grappling with skyrocketing Medicaid expenditures, employers are reducing health care benefits, there is a shortage of nurses, physicians and other qualified personnel, malpractice and fraud is diverting vital resources from patient care, and 45 million Americans are uninsured.

So, what is happening and what can be done about it?

In Consumer Driven Health Care, Dr. Roger Blackwell, the "guru on global business" (New York Times), and Dr. Tom Williams, distinguished cardiothoracic surgeon, expose readers to a provocative, yet engaging analysis of America's health care funding crisis and offer solutions to reverse the trends and lower health care costs to a level that makes health care affordable and American firms competitive yet again.


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