New Delhi: Winner of three Olympic gold medals, Indian-origin Sikh hockey player Balbir Singh was honored in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC).
92-year-old Indian field hockey legend Balbir Singh was honored by assistant deputy speaker of the B.C. Legislature, MLA Raj Chouhan, in the House on Wednesday, was reported on Thursday.
“Madam Speaker it gives me a great pleasure and honour to speak about an unsung hero and a forgotten legend. Balbir Singh has won three Olympic Gold medals in field hockey. The first in 1948 in London, winning India’s first gold medal as a sovereign nation. He won the second gold in Helsinki. He led his team in scoring, including setting an Olympic / Guinness Record in the final when he scored five goals. That record stands to this day,” Chouhan said.
“Then again in 1956 in Melbourne, he won his third gold medal when he led his team. He scored 22 goals over three Olympic Games. Singh was the only chief coach and manager to lead India to a World Cup victory in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur, he added.
Singh was one of 16 Iconic Olympians named by the International Olympic Committee along with Jesse Owens and Australian track and field star Cathy Freeman in 2012. He was the only South Asian and field hockey player on the list.
“Today he is joined by a great author Patrick Blennerhassett. Patrick has written a very invigorating book about him called ‘A Forgotten Legend’. This book will be launched on March 5,” Chouhan noted. (IANS)(Image Courtesy: balls.com)
U.S. insurers and providers spent more than $800 billion in 2017 on administration, or nearly $2,500 per person — more than four times the per-capita administrative costs in Canada’s single-payer system, a new study finds.
Over one third of all healthcare costs in the U.S. were due to insurance company overhead and provider time spent on billing, versus about 17% spent on administration in Canada, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Cutting U.S. administrative costs to the $550 per capita (in 2017 U.S. dollars) level in Canada could save more than $600 billion, the researchers say.
“The average American is paying more than $2,000 a year for useless bureaucracy,” said lead author Dr. David Himmelstein, a distinguished professor of public health at the City University of New York at Hunter College in New York City and a lecturer at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
“That money could be spent for care if we had a ‘Medicare for all program’,” Himmelstein said.
To calculate the difference in administrative costs between the U.S. and Canadian systems, Himmelstein and colleagues examined Medicare filings made by hospitals and nursing homes.
For physicians, the researchers used information from surveys and census data on employment and wages to estimate costs. The Canadian data came from the Canadian Institute for Health Information and an insurance trade association.
United States vs. Canada
When the researchers broke down the 2017 per-capita health administration costs in both countries, they found that insurer overhead accounted for $844 in the U.S. versus $146 in Canada; hospital administration was $933 versus $196; nursing home, home care and hospice administration was $255 versus $123; and physicians’ insurance-related costs were $465 versus $87 They also found there had been a 3.2% increase in U.S. administrative costs since 1999, most of which was ascribed to the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid managed-care plans.
Overhead of private Medicare Advantage plans, which now cover about a third of Medicare enrollees, is six-fold higher than traditional Medicare (12.3% versus 2%), they report. That 2% is comparable to the overhead in the Canadian system.
Why are administrative costs so high in the U.S.?
It’s because the insurance companies and health care providers are engaged in a tug of war, each trying in its own way to game the system, Himmelstein said. How a patient’s treatment is coded can make a huge difference in the amount insurance companies pay. For example, Hammerstein said, if a patient comes in because of heart failure and the visit is coded as an acute exacerbation of the condition, the payment is significantly higher than if the visit is simply coded as heart failure.
More and more paperwork required
This upcoding of patient visits has led insurance companies to require more and more paperwork backing up each diagnosis, Himmelstein said. The result is more hours that healthcare providers need to put in to deal with billing.
“(One study) looked at how many characters were included in an average physician’s note in the U.S. and in other countries,” Himmelstein pointed out. “Notes from U.S. physicians were four times longer to meet the bureaucratic requirements of the payment system.”
The new study is “the first analysis of administrative costs in the U.S. and Canada in almost 20 years,” said Dr. Albert Wu, an internist and professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. “It’s an important paper.”
‘Inefficient and wasteful’ system
“It’s clear that health costs in the U.S. have soared,” Wu said. “We’re paying for an inefficient and wasteful fee-for-services system.”
“Some folks estimate that the U.S. would save $628 billion if administrative costs were as low as they are in Canada,” said Jamie Daw, an assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
“That’s a staggering amount,” Daw said in an email. “It’s more than enough to pay for all of Medicaid spending or nearly enough to cover all out-of-pocket and prescription drug spending by Americans.” (VOA)