Have you been following the health care-insurance debate? Under the Obama administration, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, a seriously flawed law, based on incredibly faulty assumptions. The proof of its flaws is that it is self-imploding.
Weeks ago, the House passed a replacement bill. In the ACA and the House health care bill, people in Congress, reasonably intelligent people, conflate health insurance and health care. Surely they are smart enough to know that the cost of actual health care is what will determine, in large part, the cost of health insurance.
Just think of automobile insurance. If you double the value of your car, most likely your insurance will double.
Are members of Congress so dim-witted they have yet to look into the actual cost structure of dispensing health care? In the business world, when our profits drop, we examine our cost structure in order to find savings that will hopefully flow to our bottom line. But not for health care. Not one of these representatives has had the forethought to examine a doctor’s cost structure.
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Here are some of the big ticket items a doctor has to cover, ranked in order of importance: office staff; malpractice insurance; medical school costs; and premises. Surely you have noticed on your last doctor’s visit the number of staff members at the reception; one if not two of those employees are dealing with insurance issues.
Malpractice insurance? It is time we join the rest of the world and embrace “loser pay”. This action alone will reduce the number of “ambulance chasers” and help reduce the cost of insurance.
But Congress has not addressed tort reform or dared to challenge drug companies on pricing. In addition, has the time not come for doctors to make public their fee structure? Why the mystery? Do you not think it strange that your local car mechanic must post his hourly rate, but doctors appear to be exempt from this type of disclosure? Take for instance, laser eye surgery. Price transparency made the cost of this surgery drop by at least 50 percent, so we know the free market works.
We need to get the insurance market to insure the risk we cannot truly afford. We need high deductible policies that will insure catastrophes but not routine maintenance. Does your home insurance cover the maintenance of your home, the replacement of your windows, the fixing of your sprinkler system?
By dealing with the component parts of a doctor’s cost we can eventually get the cost of health care down and, by extension, the cost of health insurance.
But for my money, I doubt these fixes will see the light of day.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.