OnDemand WTP Pricing Research

Physician Salaries, Drug Prices Help Drive High US Health Costs | MedScape

He points out that in the United States there are 2.6 physicians per 1000 citizens, compared with  Germany, where the ratio is 4.1/1000, and in Sweden, which has 4.2/1000.

He adds that high prices combined with high volumes play a role in the imbalance of countries.

He used an example of angioplasties, writing that the United States has the second-highest number of those procedures worldwide and has total per capita costs of $69.20. However, the Netherlands has a similar rate of angioplasties and per capita costs for the procedure are $13.10.

“Clearly, this difference is the result of prices,” he writes.

For cesarean deliveries, both price and volume are much higher in the United States, he writes. The United States performs them at twice the rate the Netherlands does (33 per 100 live births vs 16 per 100 live births in the Netherlands). Cesarean deliveries cost $61.80 per capita in the United States vs $8.90 per capita in the Netherlands.

JAMA editors Bauchner and Fontanarosa responded that they wish the legendary health economist Uwe Reinhardt, who died last year, could have weighed in on this study, which has findings similar to those in some of his studies.

Reinhardt famously answered the question of why healthcare prices are so high with “It’s the prices, stupid.”

Reinhardt and colleagues had previously compared healthcare spending in the United States with spending in 29 OECD countries from 1990 to 2001 and found the United States spends much more on healthcare than the other countries and provides fewer services.

Reinhardt had been a passionate advocate for healthcare price transparency. He argued that if people knew more about costs, they and their physicians could make better choices, and he suggested that prices negotiated in the private sector “were kept as trade secrets.”

He noted that few providers post their prices for procedures on their websites and few will quote prices over the phone, even for common procedures. Reinhardt had noted that almost every other economic sector has price transparency.

Bauchner and Fontanarosa said Reinhardt would have acknowledged that the study by Papanicolas et al “serves as an important reminder to US residents, policy makers, and legislators that health care reform in the United States has still not accomplished a great deal, although providing health insurance for an additional 20 million to 25 million people is a start in making health care in the United States more equitable.”

Read complete article here:

Physician Salaries, Drug Prices Help Drive High US Health Costs.