Thursday, December 16, 2010

Outsourcing Your Heart,9171,1196429-1,00.html

The bottom line: If more private payers sent patients abroad for uncomplicated elective surgeries, the savings could be enormous. "This has the potential of doing to the U.S. health-care system what the Japanese auto industry did to American carmakers," says Princeton University healthcare economist Uwe Reinhardt.
U.S. hospitals could certainly do with a little global competition. For years, their share of the national heath-care bill has grown at a rate far faster than inflation, and today they gobble up a third of all medical expenditures. At current rates, the U.S. will be spending $1 of every $5 of its GDP on health care by 2015, yet more than 1 in 4 workers will be uninsured. The ingrained inefficiency of most hospitals doesn't help. "A lot of them still don't know how to schedule their operating rooms efficiently," says Reinhardt. "They've never had to. They always get paid, no matter how sloppy they are."

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