By Dr. Edwin A. Hissa M.D.
Well … I think people are finally starting to get it. Certainly we have been preaching it since the mid-1990s, but no one was listening. We lobbied in Washington for over 11 years and people there (our elected officials) mostly went the other way, avoiding hearing us. (Not all of them.)
One other thing. When you have teachers, you will get a lesson; with engineers, a solution with diagrams; and when you give politicians something, they play politics with it. With politicians, you don’t get a solution, you get the next step toward their re-election. (They promise to solve it then.)
All you really have is your health. Would you like to wonder what might happen next term if you are ill? Give it to a politician. Since most people are healthy, little collective thought, in our country, is given to sickness; as long as it is someone else.
We are of the opinion that health is not to be politicized. We want as little government intrusion as possible.
Here is a problem … The average breadwinner with a family of four pays more than $475,000 in premiums from age 18 to 65. Think of that … for a couple of trips to the ER and 2.1 children, maybe a vasectomy. Then that person goes on Medicare, and has used up his earned benefits in 3 years. Then, 3 current workers support that person. This is not sustainable. Consider that the most likely disease this breadwinner will suffer is usually injury. That will be picked up by Workman’s Compensation or auto insurance.
What about this…
– Make health insurance portable, available across state lines, eliminate “pre-existence.”
– Change insurance companies to a mutual type company with the premium payers the owners, not a stock type company. Let the healthy make a profit by staying healthy when they are young and have a cost defrayal mechanism when they are old. This account travels with the worker and is accessible at a certain time and for certain illness. That also increases liquidity in markets. That would happen quickly, too.
-Tort reform is healthcare reform
Realize … Medicare is not health insurance, it is sickness payment. Do you really think “wellness” spending on a prodigious scale will decrease costs in the last 10 or so years of life? It won’t.
We continue to recommend the same strategy for Medicare as a stopgap which will really become the norm. Use market tools to determine the value of services in an antiquated system designed on information over 20 years old, and slowly turn the train back on to the track of sustainability.
Want to know more?
In the “healthcare” debate…The silence is deafening, isn’t it? About the answer No, I mean the other answer.. The one involving the free market.
We have absolutely the best healthcare in the world. It isn’t broke. Go ahead … have your heart attack or a car accident. Have insurance or not, you will be inserted into a system that will give you a more thorough going over and treatment, and have you back at home with the remote watching the Ohio State game; faster than, and more connected to more post-op resources, than any place on earth. Give me broke every time!.
But the one thing we don’t have is the customer responsible for the bill. If you buy your salt and fat laden fast food burger and have your neighbor pay for it, do you care about the price? Maybe, if he is going to give you a hard time. Its called a third party payment system. We have major medical paying for everything. That is a mistake. We should pay for the regular things.
More on that later.
When I started in medicine, we had over 3000 insurance companies. Now apparently 1300 are left. Fewer companies, less competition, higher prices. And by the way, the government has set the reimbursement schedule (the price actually paid for the services you receive, not what your charges were) that your insurance company uses to pay out, no matter what insurance you have.
So how is that pricing scheme working for you? Incidentally, if someone can do something better and cheaper, it doesn’t mean your insurance or the government will embrace it. Weird, huh?
Think if it like this. An inventor makes a better car part, and when the auto manufacturer finds out, it wants to buy the invention and shelve it or block the invention. Innovation can actually be stifled.
Which part is broken?
Medicare and Medicaid are “broke.” That is what always happens when the government gets involved. Wasn’t it originally meant to cover a few thousand destitute Americans and cost a billion dollars? Get the government out of the options. When you get politicians involved, you get politics; (but not always a solution).