Some have said it is the profit motive that is at the core of our health system’s problems:
- Insurers need to provide profits to their shareholders
- Hospitals and hospital systems need to provide profits to their shareholders
- Physicians perform tests with their own economic interests in mind
- Pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers charge too much
A system that is not designed for profit might look as follows:
- A single payer health system
- All hospitals should be not-for-profit
- All physicians should be employees, and their employers should be not-for profit
- Pharmaceuticals, devices and supplies should be subject to price regulation
What do you think? Please select only one response.
As we all know, the federal government and nearly every state is facing huge budget gaps. Health care is a large part of every crisis:
- Medicare is a large part of the federal budget crisis
- Medicaid is a large part of every state budget crisis
Health insurers are not to blame this time:
- The Medicare discussion is about Medicare, not Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, United or Humana.
- The Medicaid discussion is about Medicaid, not Blue Cross, Aetna, etc.
The health care reform bill that we recently passed was really health insurance reform- yes, we needed to reform the insurance system.
Since Medicare and Medicaid are not traditional insurers, but still seem to be drowning in costs, the question is, “Where should we focus our reform efforts going forward?” What do you think?
It is becoming more and more important for each of us to take charge of our own health care and not depend on the “system” to do everything for us. The costs of care are slowly being shifted towards the individual. Consider:
Trends in private insurance:
- increased premiums, copayments, coinsurance and deductibles
- insurers can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions (a good thing), but this coverage is becoming much more expensive
Trends in Medicare:
- increasing age of eligibility (proposed)
- increasing premiums for part B coverage
- increasing annual deductibles and copayments
- limitations on government responsibility (proposed voucher system)
Trends in Medicaid:
- reduced eligibility
- increased copayments
- fewer physicians will accept it
- shifting patients into managed care programs
What all of this means is:
- health care will become more expensive for the individual
- access to the system will become more difficult
To protect ourselves, our health and our finances, we must each become more self sufficient and take charge of our own health.
Here are some things that we, as individuals can do:
- Adopt healthier habits (diet, exercise, stress avoidance or stress management)
- Do your own research and have your own opinions about what is best for you
- Request (and receive) copies of your test results and exams
- Use a Personal Health Record (PHR), and keep copies of your test results in this PHR
- Ask your doctor educated questions about your plan of care. If you don’t understand something, discuss it
- Ask about the safety of drugs and medical devices
- Join disease or care-focused groups. Network, and ask people with similar conditions about what has worked for them.
- Research the cost and reputation of the doctors and hospitals who will be treating you
Most important, stand up for yourself. After all, it is your health, your life, and increasingly, your money.
We are headed for difficult times in this country.
Over the past 50-60 years, the economic pie has been growing. This has made possible a number of positive social changes, such as Medicare, Social Security, Civil Rights and Women’s Rights. When our situation is getting better, it is easy to share a little with those who have less.
We are now entering a period where the economic pie is shrinking, or at least perceived to be shrinking. What we now see is an unwillingness to share- in fact, many want to reduce or eliminate some of the social programs that have been introduced over the past half century.
I am not arguing that this is either good or bad. I am asking “how do we get there?” How do we reduce the costs of health care in a way that is fair? Who pays? Who sacrifices?
This is what this blog is about.
Further, it is not just about what I think. Over time, this blog will make available a discussion forum and brief surveys (polls) so the readers, you, can make your opinions known, hopefully with a minimum of partisan politics.
I hope you will participate, and that you find this blog and related forums and polls to be useful, timely and engaging.
Steven Yergan, CEO, Health Tactics