Re: The Health Care Cartels
Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:37 pm
sophie wrote: ↑Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:51 pmActually, I don't like the $50K deductible plan, because the huge expensive structure that drives up the cost of routine office visits, tests, and meds would all remain in place. I would like to see those things removed from the arena of insurance entirely, and made all self-pay. Third party billing, EHR/PQRI/all the other crazy documentation requirements etc would all disappear. For people truly too poor to self-pay, there can be Medicaid clinics staffed by residents at teaching hospitals, or volunteer-staffed free clinics - just exactly as they exist now. Insurance coverage should only be for hospitalizations and expensive outpatient treatments, such as cancer chemotherapy and dialysis.
Not to mention, if people are self-paying, a lot of non-compliant behavior and excessive testing, whether instigated by patients or physicians, would be instantly resolved. That stuff just wastes resources not to mention everybody's time.
What exactly would the cutoff in dollars be for what is considered "expensive hospitalization" and "expensive out patient treatment"? Unless said cutoff is income based (as a given percent of income) then you will have essentially made medical care unaffordable for millions of people; a $5000 procedure is nothing to a multimillionaire hedge fund manager, is barely a minor nuisance to a doctor or lawyer making $300K, is a major financial hit to a factory worker making $35K, and might as well be five billion dollars to someone making minimum wage because both amounts are so far beyond their ability to pay they will have to skip treatment the same either way. This is a non-starter unless massive expansions to Medicaid (and/or free clinics, etc) are funded, likely to the tune of several hundred billion $ a year (a rough estimate based on what is now spent on Medicaid and on the ACA to provide a even a bare minimum amount of coverage for poorer people) at a minimum.
For anyone making less than, say, 1.5X the poverty level expecting them to pay almost ANYTHING out of pocket is going to be a non-starter because they have to spend pretty much everything they make on food, shelter, payroll and income taxes, utilities, transportation, etc and thus have little or no discretionary income at that income level. If you wanted to keep a "self-pay" system for everyone you would (unless you provide the huge increases to Medicaid funding mentioned above) need to fund it with government HSA matching grants ranging from "free gratis money" to anyone under the poverty level to maybe 1:90 (for every cent the person kicks in up to a certain level/cap the government puts in 90 cents) for people at 150% of the poverty line and the matching grants would get much less generous as people moved up the income scale and would gradually disappear totally at or maybe a little above where ACA premium subsidies currently cut-off.
Oh, and while we are at it, do every single idea Dean Baker suggests (in his book Rigged....it's available free online as a PDF for anyone who wishes to read it) regarding having some actual competition in medical services, physician services, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, etc.
Even with all this you would probably still need to regulate prices if you want a system where cash-paying patients paying out of pocket can get truly affordable health care; if, say, an MRI (basic-no contrast imaging of head or abdomen) can be had in Japan for $98 or Switzerland for $140 there is NO WAY it should cost thousands of dollars here in the US; the same applies for drugs, doctor's office visits, surgeries, etc .... see https://www.vox.com/cards/health-prices ... are-prices and https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... -ludicrous . How many nations have successfully kept medical prices low by "free markets" rather by directly or indirectly regulating prices (and/or by running the actual health system itself in addition to/in lieu of regulating prices)? As far as I am aware of....none.