Thursday, December 3, 2009

What do they think?

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In the midst of our current health care reform, I keep wondering, what do our health care providers think?  Have any doctors or nurses been consulted before writing new legislative?  

Below are a few snippets from an article written by John D Lilly, MBA, D.O.; from the December issue of the Greene County Medical Society Journal.  I wish he would submit his article to the editor of the news paper...
Since 1969 numerous presidents have declared there was a health care crisis.  It is really a health care cost problem. It started in World War II when wage and price controls were in place and companies attracted new workers by offering health care benefits. Since then, we paid for hospital care principally through a cost-plus system of health care finance. That cost-plus system has evolved into a cost control phase with rules and restrictions written by impersonal bureaucracies far removed from the doctor-patient relationship. 
The difference between a normal marketplace and medical marketplace is striking. In a normal marketplace consumers spend their own money,  producers search for ways to reduce costs, individuals choose from diverse products, technological change is viewed as good for consumers and producers advertise price discounts and quality differences. 
In the medical marketplace consumers are usually spending someone else's money, physicians and hospitals increase costs to increase their income, most people who have health insurance are covered under an employer or government plan, third-party payers are increasing hostile to new technology, patients cannot find out the costs prior to admission and cannot read the hospital bill upon discharge and patients rarely can obtain information about the quality of physicians or hospitals.  
In a normal marketplace, like cell phones, quality increases and prices decrease with time. In the medical marketplace quality improvements are questionable and prices continue to rise.
Health care costs will never come under control until individual patients are put back in charge of making their own health care decisions with money that they control. We must also subject the health care sector to the rigors of competition and create market-based institutions. Health care costs cannot be controlled unless we empower individuals and make it in their self-interest to become prudent buyers of health care. 
This can best be achieved by promoting health savings accounts and eliminating Medicare reimbursement guidelines. It would be cheaper for the federal government to give every senior money to cover a health savings account each year. Insurance companies and physicians would then be forced to compete on price and quality.  Only a fundamental shift away from the cost-plus system will reduce health care costs and truly reform the system.
Wow!  Definitely a different approach than we're hearing on the news.  Hopefully more health care providers will continue to speak out. 

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