OUR VIEW: U.S. medical system must be reformed

The cost of health care is outstripping the cost of living increases in Social Security for area seniors. It has gotten so bad that it often means the difference between taking your pills and eating. Now, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute has revealed: They aren't the only ones.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

The cost of health care is outstripping the cost of living increases in Social Security for area seniors. It has gotten so bad that it often means the difference between taking your pills and eating.

Now, a report from the McKinsey Global Institute has revealed: They aren't the only ones.

The United States today spends more money on health care than it does on food.

Indeed, McKinsey went so far as to compare the United States to other countries and estimate, after adjusting for America's size and quality of life, what we should spend on health care. The nation spends more than $500 billion more every year on health care than we should, based on what other nations are spending.

And contrary to popular belief, Americans do not receive the best health care as a whole, despite the trillions we spend on it.

Of that overage, $98 billion extra is spent on administration and insurance. An additional $66 billion is spent on excess drug costs.

On the other hand, McKinsey estimates the cost of insuring our uninsured at $77 billion.

The system is ripe for reform. It must be reformed. Every year the amount of money we spend on health care increases faster than the total production of the country.

A paucity of leadership over the last few decades has left us with this crisis and other problems that only get worse the longer we leave them unattended. Not only can individuals little afford the increasing costs, but it's crippling companies, such as GM, that were once considered invincible.

There is so much waste in the system, it wouldn't even be hard to make significant reductions in everybody's health care bill.

It is time for our leaders to get their acts together to give us real reform. And it is time for the rest of us to get our acts together and demand it.