Reforming Health Care by Lowering Expenses
Reforming health care by lowering expenses was never a real goal of this Obama Care. There is a lot of debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Although the United States Supreme Court will ultimate decide on the matter of this law, millions of Americans are looking for hope at the end of the road to meet their health care needs. For any type of health care reform to work, for all parties involved, the issue of cost must be dealt with.
In the year 2008, a total of 16.2% of our entire national gross domestic product was directly related to health care. In simple terms, this percentage equates to spending of $ 7,681.00 per American citizen. To think this is sustainable would be completely false. The cost of medical care services, both to Medicare and those with private health insurance, is rapidly outpacing the markets ability to afford medical care.
One of the quickest ways to lower the cost of medical services is to attack unethical business practices which border outright fraud. For example, physicians often receive free gifts from pharmaceutical company representatives in exchange for writing prescriptions for costly medications. These gifts include food, free trips and much more. The legal form of bribery should be halted immediately so that doctors would not be financially swayed by the perks they receive for prescribing medications to patients.
The pharmaceutical companies are not the only ones participating in bribing doctors. Just about every medical device company also maintains an army of representatives that have large expense accounts at their disposal. With the added spending involved in issuing bribes to persuade doctors to use certain drugs, medical equipment and other products, the sale price of these items must be raised significantly. Those price increases are simply passed on to patients.
Reducing the endless red tape in the health care industry is also important for any reform effort. As it stands now, most physicians must have two or three support staff to process the mountains of paperwork involved in processing insurance claims, maintaining patient records and complying with a variety of laws. All citizens of the United States must realize that physicians went to school to treat patients, not to push a pencil, and support such efforts that allow them to utilize their skills more effectively.
Patients also need to be informed consumers when it comes to receiving medical care. Unlike any industry, most patients really have no idea how much the medical care services they receive truly are until they receive the bill afterwards. Giving consumers basic service fee information will permit them to be more conscientious in where they obtain care at, and this will help the competitive free market to work as it should.
Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act promises to help millions of Americans obtain health insurance, the cost of such insurance is directly impacted by the cost of medical services. As it turns out the Act increased the cost of care and insurance at an alarming rate. If anyone in the industry had been included in the process they would have told the president and Congress this would be the case. Substantially lowering the cost of medical services would ultimately reduce the financial barrier that many households have met when attempting to find an affordable health insurance policy. Because of this, health care reform should encompass a broader goal of reducing costs for everyone involved in receiving and delivering medical care.
Another cost reducing and simple piece of legislation would be to permit insurance companies to compete across borders, making competition much stronger. Tort reform would also significantly reduce medical costs, litigation and large (in the millions of dollars) jury decisions have increased the cost of physician insurance, which is then passed on to consumers and the government. Limiting these dollar settlements would have a real effect on quelling unnecessary and fraudulent litigation. Some physicians have gone “naked” ( no insurance) and in many of those cases attorneys will not sue because they will not get any financial reward from the litigation.
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