Opinion: The U.S. can slash health-care costs 75% with 2 fundamental changes — and without ‘Medicare for All’

My Comments: We can argue ‘till the cows come home’ about whether health care is a human right and how it should be paid for. Regardless of your feelings about it, what’s happening today is a necessary conversation. What we have now in America is a mess and changes are inevitable. If you follow any of my blog posts, you’ve already read some of my thinking about this.

For 13 years, I’ve been covered by Medicare and a supplemental plan that essentially pays the 20% not covered by Medicare. I’m very lucky in that if I have a health issue, I have no hesitancy about seeking medical advice. Many of you under age 65 don’t have that luxury.

Too many people are forced to wait until their situation becomes untenable before they seek help. Those without coverage find themselves at an urgent care facility or emergency room. That’s the most expensive care on the planet, and while probably effective in giving them a remedy, too many of them cannot cover the cost.

That cost is born by the rest of us. If you have insurance coverage, someone, either you individually or you and your employer collectively, are paying premiums to an insurance company. Those dollars are inflated to include a legitimate % to cover the administrative costs associated with being an insurance company, and if it’s privately owned, a return on investment for the company shareholders.

Where I live, the largest hospital is owned by the University of Florida, and by extension the State of Florida. It is not routinely subsidized, but extracts it’s operating costs from either patients directly, or from insurance companies, including Medicare. If you’re one of those who just showed up in their ER and have no money, you can be assured UF Health charges inflated fees to those who are covered, to make sure they break even. Those are the rules of the game.

And one way or another, we’re paying for it. As a nation, our costs are higher than almost every industrialized country on the planet, and while we have state of the art healthcare, life expectancys in this country are lower than in other highly developed nations.

If you consider yourself responsible for your own health and welfare, know that you’re effectively subsidizing those folks who don’t have health insurance. Until you’re ready to let those folks suffer and die in the streets, you’re going to continue that subsidy until something is done about this at the Federal level. Get used to this idea because the young people coming behind you are not going to sit still and let themselves die in the streets.

by Sean Masaki Flynn \ September 2, 2019 \ https://tinyurl.com/y2qhnfzx

As the Democratic presidential candidates argue about “Medicare for All” versus a “public option,” two simple policy changes could slash U.S. health-care costs by 75% while increasing access and improving the quality of care.

These policies have been proven to work by ingenious companies like Whole Foods and innovative governments like the state of Indiana and Singapore. If they were rolled out nationally, the United States would save $2.4 trillion per year across individuals, businesses, and the government.

The first policy—price tags—is a necessary prerequisite for competition and efficiency. Under our current system, it’s nearly impossible for people with health insurance to find out in advance what anything covered by their insurance will end up costing. Patients have no way to comparison shop for procedures covered by insurance, and providers are under little pressure to lower costs.

By contrast, there is intense competition among the providers of medical services like LASIK eye surgery that aren’t covered by health insurance. For those procedures, providers must compete for market share and profits by figuring out ways to improve efficiency and lower prices. They must also advertise to get customers in the door, and must ensure high quality to generate customer loyalty and benefit from word of mouth.

That’s why the price of LASIK eye surgery, as just one example, has fallen so dramatically even as quality has soared. Adjusted for inflation, LASIK cost nearly $4,000 per eye when it made its debut in the 1990s. These days, the average price is around $2,000 per eye and you can get it done for as little as $1,000 on sale.

By contrast, ask yourself what a colonoscopy or knee replacement will cost you. There’s no way to tell.

Continue reading here: https://tinyurl.com/y2qhnfzx