Saturday, November 17, 2007

How to Make Health care Cheaper

Seems everyone is talking about health care. It doesn't matter which side of the isle you are on, health care is a major topic in both politics and private life. In the past twenty years health care and health insurance have zoomed to new heights. Many are declaring health care unobtainable and yet necessary to survive in the modern world. The cost of health care seems to be hooked to a rocket and launched into outer space.
The question seems to boil down to how do we fix the cost side of the equation. One group wants to create a new level of government that would run a national health care program and other groups want to do more to privatize or reduce regulation so competition can step in and fix the cost structure. Few want to actually address the rising concerns that are driving the ever increasing price of health care or how health care is paid. Let us take a look at the real driving factors and what can actually be done to treat the problem as opposed to the symptoms.
The first and most visible problem with health care nobody wants to talk about. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that everyone steps around and dodges. Immigration and more specifically, illegal immigration attacks and destroys our hospitals and medical facilities everyday. Many hospitals and medical centers have financially crumbled due to mandatory medical responses for those who refuse to pay for the service. These facilities are left holding the bag for billions of dollars in costs and are forced to increase the cost of service on those who do pay. These increased costs translate to higher health care premiums and larger out of pocket expenses. The American citizen is left to pay the bill for anyone who walks through the door.
Solving illegal immigration and securing this nation would be a first step to reducing the cost of health care for everyone in America. Yet that is not the only problem increasing the cost. Tort Reform would also do a lot to cut the cost of health care. How many times have you picked up the paper or seen the news and heard about some doctor or medical facility that has had a multi-million dollar judgment levied against them for what we would call a trivial event. Don't get me wrong here, if they make a major mistake that will cost someone millions of dollars to live with their error then so be it. Let us tackle the whole Tort Reform issue. We need a cap on pain and suffering. We need a cap on real damages. We need to stop striving for records in awards and start applying real justice for the action committed. We need to stop looking at the way to punish a major company but instead to balance out the injustice on the one who suffered loss. These huge settlements and awards only increase the cost of health care for all of us.
In my article titled To Tax Or Not To Tax I placed before you how businesses deal with added costs. The cost of legal expenses and judgments will increase the cost of insurance and operating expenses for everyone causing a drop in employment and an increase in product cost to the consumer. Businesses are in business to make money and they will find ways to pass these expenses along. These major awards are costing all of us in higher prices for health care and insurance from health to business. Doctors have seen Mal-practice insurance skyrocket as our court system passes out everyone else's money.
Solving both Illegal Immigration and Tort Reform would do a lot in reducing the cost of health care, but there are still other issues that need addressing. Education or the lack their of has further raised the cost of health care. We no longer have the capacity to do the basic things to care for ourselves. Proper diet, regular exercise, basic disease prevention are all areas of concern that are effecting the cost of health care. It has recently been reported that the majority of Americans are over weight if not obese. We currently have colds and transmittable diseases running ramped over our land. Available food has been processed to the point of removing any nutritional value in our quest for sterilization.
We need to stop wasting time indoctrinating our youth will useless information and start teaching them the basic things that would allow them to care for their own bodies. Doctors and nurses are bombarded daily with calls and visits over what should be common body 101 education. Many of these contacts are generated because of impatience and lacking simple understanding. By freeing up our medical personnel to actually take care of serious medical needs we could reduce the cost of health care. This was not said to reduce the importance of physicals or annual exams. These exams allow doctors to establish a baseline for you in the event you should fall seriously ill. We have failed to teach people that we all have small differences making us unique. We instead try to force normality and commonness on us all only to be shocked by reality on a routine basis.
The most over looked reason for the high cost of health care is Doctor availability. Has anyone bothered to point out that the medical field is dwindling. What incentive is there to become a doctor anymore? Everyday we are bombarded by news articles talking about doctors who have lost their license and careers for various reasons. A couple of years ago OB/GYN's were leaving in droves due to the number of complaints and lawsuits that was increasing their malpractice insurance. After spending tens of thousands of dollars for eight to twelve years of education only to find all you make being paid out for insurance tends to dampen ones enthusiasm. We need an educational incentive program that draws people into the medical field and creates competition in the market place as well as knowledge. It is no longer the lucrative business but an assembly line of constant monotony. HMO's have taken over the medical industry as well as all the profit.
The HMO system has created another problem. The co-pay system takes away any incentive for the patient to learn or do basic care. The medical facility is forced into a bad guy roll by denying some level of care. The Personal Medical Savings Account is a far superior method for restoring some of the accountability back into the system. If someone had to actually pay for the requested service even knowing they would be reimbursed for a qualified medical visit, they would spend some time verifying and learning how to qualify. If there was the possibility that they would foot the bill they would be absolutely sure they needed to go. On the flip side if the medical facility was paid by the patient and not some formulary centered third party, they would be more prone to quality customer service. The incentive to please and help the patient would be returned to the health care industry. It would also be easier to focus on care when only patients with real needs came, hence education.

The health care industry as it exists in America today is still far superior to anything else available on the planet. The cost structure has increased due to a multitude of problems but the key issues can easily be addressed and turned around. Socialized medicine or increased government bureaucracy will not solve any of these problems. If real consideration was given you would find it would make them far worse.
We already know what it would take to fix the problem all we need are real leaders willing to take action. I believe that if you embraced the problems as I have laid them before you and took action, we would restore health care in America and reduce the cost.

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Anonymous JMB said...

Some very excellent and effective reasoning presented here, good job on this one Ablur.
I believe that all of these things considered would go a long way in reducing health care costs, as long as my governments remember that I am an individual American citizen, and that as such, all precautions must be maintained and afforded me, that they are not unduly telling me how I must live my life.

12:08 AM, November 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a thought out and very informed post Ablur. I think I am going to link this as my next post! You should really post this again, Ablur!!!!!

Such common sense is lacking in health care and we need to bring it back...this post is a great start!!

1:37 PM, July 07, 2009  

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