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Healthcare Ideas That Might Work
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Partner j_ung


Mar 7, 2007, 2:21 PM
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Healthcare Ideas That Might Work
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Okay, so you don't like the idea of a single-payer healthcare system in America, AKA, socialized medicine. (Cue doom and gloom music.) So, assuming that what we currently have is unsustainable, what are some ideas that will work? I've been hearing some lately (if nothing else, I'm thrilled that this in the national debate right now), and surprisingly, many are coming from Republicans.

Here are the ones I like.

1. Get healthcare away from employers. Give the healthcare subsidy to us directly, instead of to our employers. The subsidy would only be available for those who are employed.
3. Raise taxes to insure those who are not employed.
4. Require insurance companies to offer national rates to compel competition over a larger area.
5. Make it more difficult to bring malpractice suits to bear.
6. Place drastic limits on malpractice damages in all cases except where malicious intent is proven to affect the price of malpractice insurance, hence the price of medical care.
7. Double contribution limits to health savings and flex spending accounts and allow the use of those to purchase health insurance.

I know full well that none of the above are perfect and that, taken alone, no single action will work. I'm just opening the floor to positive ideas, not knee-jerk insults to anybody who proposes that changes are needed.

The way I see it there are actually two issues: the price of healthcare and the price of health insurance. With the above, I'm trying to account for both.


(This post was edited by j_ung on Mar 7, 2007, 2:22 PM)


winkwinklambonini


Mar 7, 2007, 2:42 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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John Kerry's idea was for the Government to pay for catastrophic cases, taking the burden from insurance companies, lowering rates. Don't know how catastrophic is defined though.


reno


Mar 7, 2007, 3:53 PM
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Re: [j_ung] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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J_ung:

I think those ideas have some merit. I'll think 'em over some more, see if I can find holes or flaws, and get back to ya.

I'd add a couple more:

1. As of now, if an insurance company wants to sell insurance in a given state, they have to be approved by THAT state's regulatory agency. So, to sell in 20 states, you have to get approved 20 times. That costs money, and is a factor in how many insurance companies sell in a given state. IF there were ONE single regulatory agency (i.e. Federal) that an insurance group could get approval from, and then sell in EVERY state, you -- the consumer -- would have more options. More sellers of same service for a given number of buyers.... supply increases, demand stays the same, costs drop (Econ 201, sophomore year.)

2. Reduce waste. Most healthcare organizations (hospitals, clinics, and the like) have GROSSLY inefficient systems for administration.... waste is a major problem, and if that is eliminated, the reduction in costs are passed on to the consumer (patient.)

Not a bad start, though, J_ung. Not bad at all.


overlord


Mar 8, 2007, 3:27 AM
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Re: [reno] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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reno wrote:
1. As of now, if an insurance company wants to sell insurance in a given state, they have to be approved by THAT state's regulatory agency. So, to sell in 20 states, you have to get approved 20 times. That costs money, and is a factor in how many insurance companies sell in a given state. IF there were ONE single regulatory agency (i.e. Federal) that an insurance group could get approval from, and then sell in EVERY state, you -- the consumer -- would have more options. More sellers of same service for a given number of buyers.... supply increases, demand stays the same, costs drop (Econ 201, sophomore year.)

really?? thats just, well, dumb. such things are much sipler if aprooved on a federal level.


pro_alien


Mar 8, 2007, 7:00 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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Some ideas:

1. Standardize insurance ID cards (see item 2).

2. Standardize and automate billing, either insurances and providers can agree on something, or the government will do it for them. Paper forms should be outlawed, this is the 21st century.

3. Deductible depending on income, calculated by family.

4. Look at the national overall health care cost as a % of GDP, and do price and quantity limits above a certain limit.

5. Require health care providers to publish their prices.

6. Hospitals are great at nickel and dimeing their victims / patients to death. Standard interventions should be one line item at a flat rate rather than multiple invoices for every little item.


imnotclever


Mar 8, 2007, 7:53 AM
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Re: [pro_alien] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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Isn't the real problem that insurance companies sheild the cost from the consumer.

The doctor says you need an MRI and were to have one and since I have insurance that covers it I do it and go where he says to go. Never asking if there is a cheaper way to find what he is looking for, a cheaper test. Never price shopping between two different places that preform MRIs.

Isn't insurance socialiam (communism) in itself? Everybody puts their money in a big pool and somebody else decides how much you get.


I don't know, what I getting at here.


pro_alien


Mar 8, 2007, 7:59 AM
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Re: [imnotclever] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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With the current systems, the right insurance company will get you better prices than you would get as an individual customer. A Blue Shield / Blue Cross does have a bit more buying power...


imnotclever


Mar 8, 2007, 8:25 AM
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Re: [pro_alien] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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You're right about that, but they are one step away from the decision making process.

Last year I spent $20k+ on medical of my insurance company's money because my doctor wanted to know for sure that something wasn't going on. We were above my out of pocket expense for the year, so if we were going to make sure, lets run all of the tests now. Had that been my money I'm thinking a few of those tests wouldn't have been done.


sdkbcassidy


Mar 8, 2007, 9:10 AM
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Re: [j_ung] Healthcare Ideas That Might Work [In reply to]
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I like 5, 6 and 7, the first 3 a little less so in our current environment.

I'd also add - the Health IT bills where versions have passed in the Senate and House (and differ pretty much only in how much to fund hospitals and some anti-kickback areas) are necessary. They are basically pushing for transparency in pricing, more consistency and the ability to measure quality of care. There are so many hidden costs - I know the pharmacy world much better than the medical billings world and I am amazed at how little each link in the chain (patient->pharmacy->pbm->insurance) knows and has the ability to audit each other's activity. The bill that will hopefully get passed will be a big step forward.

Another controversial area is the pharmaceutical companies - they claim, and I have seen enough evidence to believe they have a point, that drug prices in the U.S. are much higher than they would otherwise be because pretty much the rest of the world regulates drug pricing. You can look at that one of 2 ways - either that the U.S. should regulate prices, too, or that deregulation should be pushed elsewhere.


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