It's the costs people!!!http://www.statehealthfacts.org/profileind.jsp?cmprgn=45&cat=5&rgn=1&sub=68
The average cost of hospital stay per inpatient day in the USA as of 2010 was $1910.
The cost of staying a night at a five star hotel, getting a couple's spa treatment and a gourmet dinner for 2, $829 (on the expensive side, a person could probably do this for $600 in some places).
Regardless, why is it that hospital stays cost sooooooo much? For those of you that say it's because hospitals are gready capitalist oranizations trying to profit off of the poor health and misfortune of sick people; how do you explain the fact that non profit hospitals and goverment run hospitals daily costs average about $1,827 here in the US? In addition, why are hospital stays more expensive in Washington, Massachusetts, and California than in places Mississippi, North Carolina, and Minnesota?
Historicaly, the profit margin of hospitals falls below 4% annually and we must realize that hospitals’ ability to hold operating profits is an important focus whether we like it or not. Ideally, they want to keep these profits predictable and relatively steady over the longer term. Their ability to do so is tied to their capacity to control expenses
to match fluctuations in revenues. We have to understand that it is not realistic to think that hospitals can all operate at a loss and we still as potential patients can expect to have access to the quality care we feel we need.
Between the third quarters of 2005 and 2010, U.S. hospitals saw non-labor expenses (which include pharmaceuticals, professional fees, and maintenance of and additions to plant and capital, including technology), increase nearly 20%. On the other hand, labor expenses, (which include salaries and benefits for physicians, nurses, technicians, and numerous other personnel) which represent a greater portion of total costs, grew by 8%. If hospitals could better control non-labor expenses like supply chain and physician preference items, as well as labor expenses such as employee salaries and and the cost of insuring their employees, they could enjoy substantial savings and pass those along to the insurers and patients that have to pay for care. But how can they control these costs? That is the question that needs to be answered because only when it is properly addressed can we, the consumer expect our costs to go down.
When comparing US healthcare costs to those overseas, in many ways the comparison cannot be done fairly. Overseas, wage rates and other labor costs are lower therefore overall hospital expenses are lower. Doctors earn substantially less than comparable physicians in the United States (maybe that's why many doctors in the US come here from abroad to practice). Median nurses' salaries are one-fifth to one-twentieth of those in the United States and the wages of unskilled and semiskilled labor, such as janitors and orderlies, are also much less elsewhere than in the US. Because of this, the prices those hospitals can afford to charge is substantially less thanwhat is charged in the USA. Botom line, these lower labor costs make it much less expensive to build and operate hospitals in other countries.
Also, malpractice litigation costs are also lower in other countries than in the United States. Compare American physicians in some specialties having to pay more than $100,000 annually for a liability insurance policy, while a physician in Thailand or you name the other nation, can spend less than $6,000 per year. Also, malpractice awards overseas are far lower than in the United States and harder to come by. Overseas hospitals have fewer cost-increasing regulations and cross-subsidies than the USA. An example of a cross subsidy is when a US hospital will have ER services and maybe do heart procedures as well. The cross subsidation allows then to run the ER at a loss and make up for that loss by marking up the heart procedures. That is one of the reasons why specialty treatment in the US is outragiously high.
There are also fewer regulations overseas. Some would say excessive health care regulations in the USA prevent American hospitals from making the sort of collaborative arrangements many international hospitals use. Facilities abroad can structure physicians' compensation to create financial incentives for the doctors to provide efficient care, whereas American hospitals usually cannot. The reason: Physician compensation arrangements in American hospitals cannot violate the Stark (anti-kickback) laws. http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st304?pg=5