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OfflineBCBudJohn
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Registered: 06/27/05
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Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
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U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada.
    #4400012 - 07/13/05 04:06 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/s...ienceandHealth/

U.S. surgery costs found to be double those in CanadaBy ANDR? PICARD

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 Updated at 8:16 AM EDT

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

One of the first studies to directly compare the costs of surgery in Canada and the United States has found Canada's single-payer system is far more cost efficient, but it still has a lot of room for improvement.

The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that heart bypass surgery, a common procedure, costs an average of $10,373 in Canada, compared with $20,673 in the United States. (For purposes of comparison, all figures are in U.S. dollars.)

And those are just hospital costs. The U.S. Medicare program reimburses an average of about $25,000 for bypass surgery, and many patients with private insurance pay more. Under Canada's medicare system, patients do not pay directly for medically necessary procedures, such as bypass surgery, which uses blood vessels to reroute blood flow around arterial blockages to improve the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.

"The conventional wisdom is that health care is much more expensive in the U.S. and the conventional wisdom is right," said Dr. Mark Eisenberg, head of cardiovascular epidemiology at Jewish General Hospital in Montreal.

Despite the significantly higher costs in the United States (they are essentially double those in Canada), the rate of complications and death after bypass surgery was similar in both countries.

"All this extra technology, all this extra spending, does not lead to improved survival," Dr. Eisenberg said.

Americans spent $5,635 per capita on health care in 2003, compared with the $3,003 spent by Canadians. Put another way, health spending accounts for almost 15 per cent of gross domestic product in the U.S. and just under 10 per cent in Canada.

The large difference is usually attributed to high administrative costs in the United States and the penchant for overtreatment in the profit-driven U.S. system.

But the new study by Dr. Eisenberg and a Canadian-U.S. research team shows that, when it comes to heart bypass surgery, the reasons are more complex. The research shows that administrative and overhead costs in the United States are higher, but so are labour costs and the price of virtually every product and service, from basic pain-reliever pills on up.

"It's striking how much more everything costs: Gauze pads cost twice as much; stents cost twice as much," Dr. Eisenberg said.

In fact, the new research provides some striking cost comparisons. For example:

In the United States, it costs $1.56 to deliver an acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) pill to a bypass patient, while it only costs 97 cents in Canada.

A simple lab test to determine blood gas costs $21.61 in the United States, compared with $7.22 in Canada.

Catheterization (slipping a thin plastic tube into an artery or vein to determine the health of blood vessels ) costs $511.70 in the U.S. and $306.86 in Canada.

An hour of operating room time costs $397.05 in a U.S. hospital, compared with $313.76 in Canada.

One day in a surgical bed costs $561.53 in the United States and $360.10 in Canada.

The only area where the Canadian system proved slightly more expensive was an intensive-care bed, which cost $1,123.95 daily in Canada, compared with $1,121.81 in the United States.

The research also showed Canadian patients remain in hospital longer after surgery, an extra day on average, which adds substantially to the cost of bypass surgery.

"In Canada, there is no impetus to discharge patients. There is still room for improvement," Dr. Eisenberg said.

About 500,000 bypass operations are performed annually in the United States, compared with about 25,000 in Canada.

The study looked only at the cost of surgery, not appropriateness of treatment.

The study examined the treatment costs of more than 12,000 bypass-surgery patients at nine hospitals in Canada and in the United States. All the hospitals used identical accounting software, allowing direct cost comparisons.

About 74,600 Canadians died of heart disease in 2002, according to Statistics Canada.

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Canada 1
US 0


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Peace
John


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Offlinelonestar2004
Live to party,work to affordit.
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: BCBudJohn]
    #4400031 - 07/13/05 04:11 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)



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America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"

We have "reckless fiscal policies"

America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.

Americans deserve better

Barack Obama


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: BCBudJohn]
    #4400035 - 07/13/05 04:12 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

It's all because of insurance companies and people going to the doctor's for any old reason. If people used a little discretion, we wouldn't have this terrible problem.


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InvisibleGijith
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Registered: 12/04/03
Posts: 2,400
Loc: New York
Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Redstorm]
    #4400044 - 07/13/05 04:15 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Redstorm said:
It's all because of insurance companies and people going to the doctor's for any old reason. If people used a little discretion, we wouldn't have this terrible problem.




This has me thinking... Does anyone know of a public health program where people are only covered if their ailments are deemed life threatening?


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Redstorm]
    #4400087 - 07/13/05 04:34 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

and people going to the doctor's for any old reason.

I doubt that is the case, as we have a lot of this kind of thing going on in Canada!

Because you don't have to pay when you go, people are MUCH more inclined to go to the doctor/hospital for any little ache and pain. Doctor's offices are full of people with mild chest colds or just looking for a note to get out of work/school (I'm serious).

So I highly doubt that is the real reason why costs are so much higher in the US.

Personally, I think it is because the insurance companies (and hospitals, and doctors...) know they can charge that much for their services in the US.

Here in Canada the government is ALWAYS tight when it comes to the healthcare budget. They are ALWAYS trying to find ways to reduce costs because none of us like having our taxes raised :wink:


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InvisibleKrishna
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: trendal]
    #4400125 - 07/13/05 04:45 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

what is the average salary like for a doctor in canada? i know doctors in scandinavia make dick compared to doctors in the us, but haven't seen any figures about their wages in canoodia...


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Krishna]
    #4400165 - 07/13/05 04:57 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I don't have any figures (nor do I know the average) but I do know that doctors make significantly more down in the US.

We've had a lot of trouble KEEPING doctors here in Canada because of the obvious attraction to just go south and get paid more :frown:


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: trendal]
    #4400223 - 07/13/05 05:11 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
and people going to the doctor's for any old reason.

I doubt that is the case, as we have a lot of this kind of thing going on in Canada!

Because you don't have to pay when you go, people are MUCH more inclined to go to the doctor/hospital for any little ache and pain. Doctor's offices are full of people with mild chest colds or just looking for a note to get out of work/school (I'm serious).

So I highly doubt that is the real reason why costs are so much higher in the US.

Personally, I think it is because the insurance companies (and hospitals, and doctors...) know they can charge that much for their services in the US.

Here in Canada the government is ALWAYS tight when it comes to the healthcare budget. They are ALWAYS trying to find ways to reduce costs because none of us like having our taxes raised :wink:




What I said is exactly why US health care costs are high. Since people with health insurance only have to pay a co-pay (mine is only $10 for anything medical related), they will tend to go to the doctor's for anything, even if it is a slight fever. Doctors and other medical practices know people don't eat the whole cost, so they charge an inflated price for their services, which the insurance company has to eat most of.

If people stopped going to the doctor's for every little thing, or insurance companies raised their co-pay, this problem would be much less severe.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Redstorm]
    #4400256 - 07/13/05 05:17 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

If people stopped going to the doctor's for every little thing, or insurance companies raised their co-pay, this problem would be much less severe.

Yes but what I'm saying is we have the same problem here in Canada, yet our services still cost half what they do down there!

Ok, so say doctors in the US charge more because they realize their patients are only paying a small part of the cost...so the insurance co must absorb the rest (technically ALL the customers absorb the cost, by paying higher rates).

Don't you think that would be worse up here in Canada? Here the patient doesn't pay any cost at all up-front (because it comes from taxes). If doctors are willing to charge more down there because their patients only pay a PART of the cost up-front...shouldn't they charge even MORE up here when their patients pay ZERO cost up-front?


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: trendal]
    #4400316 - 07/13/05 05:30 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I'm an not sure in that regard. Maybe since they know that the government has oversight on what they are paying for, they will not stand for price gouging.

Here there is really nothing controlling it, unfortunately.

Other than that, I have no idea. :shrug:

All I know if why prices are so high here, I have no clue why it is so much cheaper up there.


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: BCBudJohn]
    #4400346 - 07/13/05 05:37 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

In the United States, it costs $1.56 to deliver an acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) pill to a bypass patient, while it only costs 97 cents in Canada.


Isn't that aspirin? A buck for a aspirin? That's one hell of a markup.


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It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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OfflineBCBudJohn
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Registered: 06/27/05
Posts: 150
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
Last seen: 11 years, 5 months
Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: cb9fl]
    #4401888 - 07/14/05 01:13 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

This is proof to me.


--------------------
Peace
John


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OfflineSeussA
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: BCBudJohn]
    #4403143 - 07/14/05 12:42 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

One of my clients just got back from Canada, where he grew up. He cut his hand pretty badly with a power saw while there and had to have surgery to reattach tendons and stuff. His cost, all said and done, was $168 (not sure if US dollars or not). He said it would have only been $5 had he been living in Canada instead of in the Caribbean.

We started talking about US vs Canadian drug prices and he claims the big difference between the two is the number of years that new drugs are protected from generic competition. In the US a new drug is protected from competition for ten years while in Canada a new drug is only protected for five years.

I haven't verified his claims, but thought I would share the story to add a bit more to this discussion.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Seuss]
    #4403160 - 07/14/05 12:48 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

He's wrong about the drug part. Canadian prices are still (usually) lower on even brand new drugs still protected by Canadian patent law.

Canadian generics are often more expensive than American generics. Indeed, common generic drugs in Canada such as atenolol, cyclobenzaprine, doxycycline, ranitidine, and sustained-release verapamil are more than double the price of their American counterparts.

The Canadian government (due to their lock in just about all aspects of health "care" in Canada), has bullied pharmacos into pricing their prescription drugs lower in Canada than in the US. The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) is the Canadian government agency that imposes price controls on patented pharmaceuticals. A pharmaco cannot by Canadian law charge more than the PMPRB decrees. Their choice is to sell at the price the Canadian government sets or not sell in Canada.



Phred


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OfflineBCBudJohn
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Registered: 06/27/05
Posts: 150
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
Last seen: 11 years, 5 months
Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Phred]
    #4408508 - 07/15/05 06:09 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Despite Canada's flaws, its still the best. Besides, if you have to wait, you can always go south or abroad to pay for surgery. Not to mention, having to wait is better than nothing at all. This just proves that it is cheaper to provide care for everyone and regulate than it is to provide for the majority


--------------------
Peace
John


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Offlinephreedom420
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Registered: 07/08/05
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: cb9fl]
    #4408899 - 07/15/05 07:57 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

cb9fl said:
In the United States, it costs $1.56 to deliver an acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) pill to a bypass patient, while it only costs 97 cents in Canada.


Isn't that aspirin? A buck for a aspirin? That's one hell of a markup.




Tylenol, I believe.


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Offlinephreedom420
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: BCBudJohn]
    #4408902 - 07/15/05 07:58 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

BCBudJohn said:
Despite Canada's flaws, its still the best. Besides, if you have to wait, you can always go south or abroad to pay for surgery. Not to mention, having to wait is better than nothing at all. This just proves that it is cheaper to provide care for everyone and regulate than it is to provide for the majority




If your system is the best, why would you have to leave it to go to a sub-standard health system, such as those (you imply) in America? Thats like saying that the health care in Boliva is the best, because you can always come to America.


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InvisibleGijith
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Registered: 12/04/03
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: BCBudJohn]
    #4408987 - 07/15/05 08:16 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

BCBudJohn said:
Despite Canada's flaws, its still the best. Besides, if you have to wait, you can always go south or abroad to pay for surgery. Not to mention, having to wait is better than nothing at all. This just proves that it is cheaper to provide care for everyone and regulate than it is to provide for the majority




I'm not usually quick to criticize the system up there, but if you have to pay through the nose and then go and pay for expensive procedures, there's something very wrong.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: Gijith]
    #4409139 - 07/15/05 09:05 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I'm not usually quick to criticize the system up there, but if you have to pay through the nose and then go and pay for expensive procedures, there's something very wrong.

We don't have to pay through the nose. Read the article in the first post.


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Offlinezappaisgod
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Re: U.S. Surgery costs found to be double than that of Canada. [Re: phreedom420]
    #4411210 - 07/16/05 11:28 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

phreedom420 said:
Quote:

cb9fl said:
In the United States, it costs $1.56 to deliver an acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) pill to a bypass patient, while it only costs 97 cents in Canada.


Isn't that aspirin? A buck for a aspirin? That's one hell of a markup.




Tylenol, I believe.




No it's aspirin. And it actually seems pretty cheap to me.


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