Constitutionally Right

The only way to predict the future is to create it.

Location: Yardley, PA (Bucks County), United States

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Health I-Don't-Care - Bucks County Courier Times November 15, 2013

     OK, so we’re trying to make healthcare better by making it worse which should definitely end well.  Healthcare is currently 1/6th of the US GDP and growing much faster than the economy.  Yay!
     Why all the soaring costs amidst the best & brightest minds in the world?  Why the inefficient delivery with 40 million Americans still without health insurance?  The underlying cause of all of this confusion is a complex system of payments to providers that comes directly from government and private insurance 3rd parties rather than directly from the consumer.  And the fix that you all voted for further removes the patient in favor of someone in a basement cubicle.
     Healthcare is no different from any other consumer item and nothing will improve until the patient is in charge.  Try getting sick today and navigating through the current system and then report your findings.  Multiple medical issues will exponentially intensify the “human pinball” effect through this fragmented consumer-unfocused industry. 
     This all began in the 1930’s where health insurance was attached to employment.  All was well (even though salaries were reduced by the value of the coverage) until someone in Congress got the bright idea to give companies a tax break equal to their health insurance costs.  Health insurance was now implemented for the benefit of the employer with one-size-fits-all plans.
     We’ve continued to morph in the wrong direction ever since with all sorts of barriers to innovation, malpractice malfeasance (that takes billions of health dollars away from health) and other issues too numerous and onerous to mention.  We’ve actually done quite well in spite of agenda-focused healthcare, but have reached the tipping point requiring some serious medicine.
     The only way to properly price the $60 aspirin is to create a mechanism where the patient shops around for the best value for a proper aspirin and pays the aspirin seller directly.  The same exact concept would even apply to brain surgery, for example.  A free-for-all is created when the customer doesn’t care what the price is so there needs to be an incentive for the patient to shop for their own medical care. 
     The insurance company would pay the patient directly who would in turn pay the provider.  That’s the simplified version, but is the basic theme of the most important concept to fix the mess that we’ve created.  A consumer-focused healthcare market would be created that would serve the patient.  Resources would shift, outcomes would radically improve and costs would plummet. 
     Not only would the poor benefit more than most, but there’d even be competition for pre-existing conditions.  Business models would be turned upside down which would, in turn, make them right side up.
     Of course all sorts of government malpractice and abuse would have to be eliminated so that insurance policies could be tailored to individual needs and resources properly allocated, but this utopia need not be an illusion.  Making the right changes would be easier than not.  Our healthcare system need not be terminal as long as we put our petty political affiliations aside and vote, over time, for the cure.
     Many will say that the health industry is too complicated for the common person to have choice.  Not really.  What would happen would be just like in any other industry where the very well informed minority (who has already done the research for you) would drive accurate information, great options and intelligent decisions.
    Where do we go from here?  Probably nowhere so I may have to leave the planet in search of intelligent life.   I do, however, think that we’re capable of much better so maybe we can run with that.  Either way - I don’t really care anymore and am just going to not get sick or injured.  But if you do get sick or injured maybe you can scream for a politician or a lawyer. 
    Congratulations.  You did good and must be so proud.