Health care: U.S. ‘system’ has failed

Washington hospital leaders are reported to be pleading for help from the state while simultaneously threatening to curtail services. In “Hospitals, facing huge financial losses, may cut some services” [Dec. 14, A1], these hospital leaders, represented by the Washington State Hospital Association, are said to be seeking a significant increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates when the state legislative session convenes in January.

Doesn’t this demonstrate the idiom “throwing good money after bad?”

The U.S. health care “system” is not failing, it has failed.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we are now spending $12,530 per capita on health care, nearly twice as much as people in most countries receiving universal health care. Health care spending grew 2.7% to reach $4.3 trillion, and health care comprised 18.3% of the gross domestic product in 2021. Incidentally, in 2020, the CEOs of 178 major health care companies collectively made $3.2 billion in total compensation — up 31% from 2019.

So, how does this all end? Is this sustainable? Essentially, we are now paying more per capita to support our existing ineffective and inefficient system than if we were to adopt a single-payer or Medicare-for-all-system.

Enough is enough.

Doug Baier, Poulsbo

Leave a Comment