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SingleCare Industry News Round-up, 5/27

Cropped SingleCare logo By | May 27, 2016

SingleCare rounds up the healthcare news and developments that matter, every week. This week, read about the recent tripling of healthcare costs and more.

There’s no such thing as a quiet week in healthcare, so here’s a quick catch-up on industry news for the week. First, read a piece about the drastic increase in the cost of health care to American families over the past 15 years, which identifies climbing prescription drug prices and less affordable health insurance as major factors in the increase.

Health Care Costs for American Families Have Tripled Since 2001

For the first time, the cost of providing health care to a typical American family of four rose above $25,000—a three-fold increase since 2001—despite the fact that the rate of increase in health care costs appears to be slowing down. […] Prescription drugs are a major culprit for the climbing cost of health care in the U.S., with spending on prescriptions totaling nearly 17% of total health care spending in the country. According to Milliman research, a typical family’s prescription drug costs have increased four-fold since 2001.

Next, read a report on the problems caused when healthcare costs are not transparent, and how this leads to unfair pricing models and patients in compromised positions.

The Doctor Will Charge You Now — But You Don’t Know How Much

If doctors’ offices and hospitals were like fast food restaurants or hair salons with the prices of services posted on the wall, patients could be selective about which health care providers they use. Market forces would help keep prices down, since fewer people would use the most expensive providers. But in addition to the historical reasons patients rarely see the price of medical services, there are also more practical reasons. Health care, as a consumer good, is just not easy to be price-savvy about. “When you’re shopping for a place to get your car fixed, you can always wait until you’re ready to shop around,“ said Gruber. “When you’re shopping for health care, you’re often not in a position to shop effectively,” he continued. No one is asking for a cost estimate from the back of ambulance, after all.”

Finally, an informative article outlining how Clinton, Sanders and Trump would reform the US healthcare system if elected, with Clinton pledging incremental change while Trump and Sanders have proposed much more drastic plans.

How the Primary Candidates Would Reform Healthcare

What the three candidates propose to reform the nation’s healthcare system is a study in contrasts. Clinton seeks to build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); she proposes incremental change. Sanders seeks to replace the ACA with single-payer, Medicare-for-all coverage. Trump also proposes revolutionary change, starting with repeal of the ACA, but details on what he would replace it with have not yet been revealed.