I have on several occassions in blogs about our health care,  especially the new health care law, focused on the cost of health care in America.  Our problem is not lack of coverage, but the cost. Why do people fear not having health insurance?  Because the cost of health care is way out of whack with our pocketbooks.

To emphasize the outrageous cost of medical care in the USA I compare it with health care costs in Europe where the standard of health care is as good, if not better, than the USA.  I have just been reminded of this difference once more.

I discussed health care insurance with my insurance lady here in Mallorca who covers my house and car.  She offered what is essentially an HMO that covers all medical expenses, even emergency care outside of Spain, for less than what I pay for Medicare part B coverage.   Given my wife´s and my income level I pay $160 a month for Medicare B and drug coverage.  The plan offered me in Mallorca costs the equivalent of $110 for exactly what I get from my Medicare Advantage plan.  I save $50 a month and have health care more closely at hand.  And the $110 I pay in Spain is the entire cost, since Medicare pays about $600 a month for my Medicare Advantage plan, of which I pay $160.

I ask you, how can I get health coverage for $110 a month in Spain that costs about $600 a month in the USA?  The answer is easy, much cheaper medical care costs.  And why is the cost so much higher in the USA.  No, it is not because of the insurance company, if anything insurance companies in Europe make a higher profit than in the USA, not because of drug costs, which are comparable, not because of hosptial stays, which are comparable, not because of high-tec exams, these too are comparable.  No the reason health care is so much more expensive in the USA is because of doctor fees.  The average doctor in the USA makes three to four times what  a doctor in Europe makes.

Imagine what health care would be like in the USA if it cost 50-70% less than it does today.  We would not have any problems in providing care for all.  But until we address the core issue of doctor fees, we will not get this fortuitous result.