Winning The Healthcare Olympics

Jeff Goldstein | Divurgent | August 30, 2012

[....] The last comprehensive global analysis of healthcare was compiled in 2000 by the WHO. In that study, the US ranked in 37th place between Costa Rica (36th) and Slovenia (38th). Using the Olympic rankings, France would have taken Gold, with Italy taking Silver and San Marino taking the Bronze. While this particular study is no longer undertaken by the WHO, the organization does compile data that compare health outcomes.

Healthcare is an area where the US should be the world Olympic leader but we are not.  To understand why, let’s look at some of the critical metrics. To begin, a 2008 report by Towers Perrin noted total employee/employer healthcare costs were an average of $9,144 annually with $7,080 being paid by the employer and $2,064 by the employee. The report also stated that the total cost for employer sponsored healthcare was more the $46 billion.

Now let’s look at 2012 and see if, like our Olympic team, we were able to improve over the previous four years.  The National Business Group on Health reported that in both 2011 and 2012, health benefits costs increased at an annual rate of 7% and the same is expected in 2013. Compare this to the 2012 US inflation rate of 1.7%, and it quickly becomes apparent that the cost of healthcare is increasing at a rate five times that of the inflation. From a purely business perspective, the present US healthcare model is simply not sustainable.