The fact remains that the U.S. spends over $2 trillion per year on healthcare, or $7,000 per person, or an estimated $28,000 per annum for a family of four, for that kind of money, we should be able to obtain universal coverage for those that place a tremendous financial burden on the industry (illegal aliens, uninsured and underinsured, young people, etc). So why is the system failing us, and where does this money go? Experts state that 1/3 to nearly 1/2 of our annual cost are directed at marketing, advertising, unneeded and ineffective medical procedures, management, fraud and abuse in billing practices.
So why are American's upset over reform? Is it because we like to talk about change, yet, when confronted with it we have trouble ridding ourselves of our Puritanical genome. Would it be bad for private insurance to compete with the government (read on)? Does anyone believe that the consumer would be forced to accept a different plan if they were happy with their current healthcare plan? What would happen if you had a better option? The most perplexing aspect of the on-going debate is that up until reform became the focal point for the POTUS, no one complained about government involvement in Medicare and the Veterans Administration. Wouldn't these be considered socialist programs? If its good for the government to provide healthcare for those who serve and protect this country, wouldn't it be good for us? Recently, the Treasury bailed out Wall Street to the tune of billions of dollars, wouldn't you consider this welfare for the banking industry? What happened to the uproar over the bailout? Obviously, Congress did not hold any town hall meetings! It's interesting analyzing the publics' reactions.
Just like the Obama Administration, the Bush Administration tried its hand at managing the rising cost of healthcare. The model that was proposed would be an industry in which the consumer would be responsible for buying and investing in their own services, hence the moniker Consumer Driven Healthcare. This platform included insurance based on type of coverage (high-deductible-low premium/low deductible-high premium), a medical savings account, and the freedom to choose. The premise was that in a free-market, hospitals, diagnostic centers, clinics and physicians would compete for your business based on price and quality of care. The intent was to encourage ownership in how much you spend, and what type of medical treatment you want. Physicians, diagnostic centers, hospitals and clinics would publish a price list, and the consumer would have a choice whether they would want lettuce, tomato, a pickle or ketchup. In simplistic terms, it would be like ordering a sandwich! Yet, the question must be asked, how would you, the consumer, compare price and quality? Can consumers be prudent decision makers when they have no medical education, and little information about the nature of services that they would need?
Think about the current state of healthcare. Unfortunately, the Bush model did not compel a change in the behavior by the insurance industry, it did not change a fee-for-service reimbursement system, or the confusion that lies in hospital billings and insurance reimbursements. Would a consumer driven healthcare industry be chaotic? Consumers may be able to make good decisions in choosing insurance plans, physicians, and hospitals, yet, can they be expected to act as the decision maker? We are curious to know if our readers are willing to endorse a system where you would share the risk, and assume the cost of your healthcare, or does anyone have a better idea? Could it potentially be a co-op? Single Payer? Or, do we continue going down a path that could put us into another teetering economy? Since Congress cannot agree on anything, maybe its up to the people, the Spine Blogger wants to know what you think?