Monday, December 4, 2023

Profits over incomes

Profits over incomes

The United States spends an average of about $13,000 per person every year on health care. No other country comes close to spending so much:

What do Americans get for all this spending? Our health care system does tend to produce more innovation than many others. U.S. companies developed some of the first Covid vaccines, for example. But much of the spending does little to improve people’s lives. Despite all our spending, the U.S. has the lowest life expectancy of any high-income country:

Twenty years ago, a group of researchers — Gerard Anderson, Uwe Reinhardt, Peter Hussey and Varduhi Petrosyan — published an academic paper that tried to solve the mystery. The title told the story: “It’s the prices, stupid.”

The main reason that U.S. health spending is so high is not that Americans are sicker than people elsewhere or are heavier users of medical care (although both those factors play a role). The main reason is that almost every form of care in the U.S. costs more: doctor’s visits, hospital stays, drug prescriptions, surgeries and more. The American health care system maximizes the profits of health care companies at the expense of families’ budgets.

Dying broke

You can find a poignant example in a series that The Times and KFF Health News (a nonprofit) have been publishing in recent weeks. It’s called Dying Broke, and it examines the long-term care industry. One major part of the industry is known as assisted living, a name for facilities that are home to about 850,000 older Americans who need help with daily activities — like getting dressed or taking medications — but who don’t need constant nursing care.

These facilities can be highly profitable. “Half of operators in the business of assisted living earn returns of 20 percent or more than it costs to run the sites, an industry survey shows,” Jordan Rau, a reporter for KFF, writes. “That is far higher than the money made in most other health sectors.”

Many facilities, Jordan explains, “charge $5,000 a month or more and then layer on extra fees at every step. Residents’ bills and price lists from a dozen facilities offer a glimpse of the charges: $12 for a blood pressure check; $50 per injection (more for insulin); $93 a month to order medications from a pharmacy not used by the facility; $315 a month for daily help with an inhaler.”

Other countries tend to hold down health care costs through regulation. Their government officials set prices that are high enough for health care providers to operate yet significantly lower than in the U.S. Policymakers here, by contrast, allow the market to operate more freely. But competition often fails to bring down prices because the health care sector is so complex, with opaque pricing and bureaucratic insurance plans.

It’s worth pointing out that the U.S. didn’t always have such high health care prices relative to other countries. The gap began to widen in the 1980s, as Austin Frakt, a health economist at Boston University, has pointed out. That decade also happens to be when the U.S. began moving more toward a laissez-faire economy.

(Related: A 2018 investigation in The Washington Post found that care deteriorated at a chain of nursing homes after the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, took it over.)

Cheaper at home

The problems with long-term care in the U.S. involve much more than high prices, as Jordan and The Times’s Reed Abelson explain in the Dying Broke series. They also stem from our country’s aging population; slow income growth in recent decades that has left families without much savings; a broken long-term insurance market; a lack of subsidies to help Americans care for aging relatives at home (which is much cheaper than institutional care); and a patchwork, inefficient health sector.

Many other countries are also aging and struggling with long-term care. But the problems are worse in the U.S.

For more: At an online event tomorrow at noon Eastern, Reed and Jordan will talk with people who are caring for their parents.

Source: KFF Health News | Data is from 2021 or nearest year. | By The New York Times
Source: World Bank | Data is from 2021. | By The New York Times

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

River of Love 2023 - Hearing God, Healing Others

You Are Warmly Invited!

River of Love 2023 - Hearing God, Healing Others

with Rev. Josh Acton

OSL teaching on YouTube and in person - preregister ahead of time!

WE WELCOME YOU TO JOIN US FOR THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY with Rev. Josh Acton, the North American Director of OSL! Come be inspired and be equipped!

Pre-register for this exciting chance to be taught by Rev. Acton! Spirit-led, spirit-filled teaching in-person and on YouTube livestream!

Date: Saturday, March 11, 2023

Session 1: 

11:00 am – 12:30 pm EST (8:00 am – 9:30am PST)

(in-person attendees may arrive at 9:00 am)

Session 2: 

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm EST (10:30 am – 12:00 pm PST)

Join in lifting up your praise to our glorious God through joyous song. Be inspired by Rev. Josh’s teaching on hearing God and using that to become an instrument for His healing.

Find out more HERE

You do NOT have to be an OSL member to participate! Come join us and share with friends and family who need to hear the Good News of Jesus.

Are you drawn to Healing? Has God placed an interest for it within you? Are you looking for healing for yourself or another? Come hear and find what you’ve been looking for!

OSL is an international Christian organization that empowers God’s people throughout the world with Jesus’ healing ministry by training and teaching you to confidently pray for anyone, anywhere, anytime in the name of Jesus.

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the PEACE of God which passes all understanding, will keep your HEART and MIND IN CHRIST JESUS!" (Philippians 4:4-6)

Questions about the conference? Contact Westshore Order of St. Luke Convener, Cris Till at

Register Today!

More about Hearing God, Healing Others:

Hearing God should not be seen as something unusual, or something only for a certain elite group of Christians. It is the birthright of every Spirit born Christian. God is speaking to us but we may be paying attention to other voices in our head.

"The voice you believe will determine the future you experience." - Steven Furtick

Learning hear to God is really all about recognizing the voice that has been speaking very quietly within you that you may have ignored. You may have though, “oh that’s just me.” God uses your own thoughts and voice to speak to you.

It’s a healing voice which directs us to respond to the tender whispers of the Holy Spirit in spontaneous and surprising ways.

Hearing God:

  1. Instructs us how to live in God’s presence and keep us in the flow of His will.
  2. Empowers us to overcome our fears.
  3. Removes shame, and heals wounds of rejection and insecurity.
  4. Constantly helps us adjust to our new identity in Christ and not just the roles the world has given us.
  5. Shows us how to pray and speak to those in need of healing with powerful results.
  6. Accesses a wisdom from heaven, and insight directly from the mind of Christ.

And so much more!

Friday, January 13, 2023