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Old 09-03-2008, 06:27 AM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
6,233 posts, read 9,110,464 times
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I think Health care in America needs some major fixing. It'd be great if everyone who needs/wants health insurance could have it. But I don't like govt. run health care either. I don't think it would work here in the U.S. I've heard about "free market solutions" to the health care crisis, but nobody really says much about it, and instead focuses on opposing Govt. health care.

So my question is...can we fix health care via the free market, and if so, how? Your thoughts

Mackinac
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:49 AM
 
3,255 posts, read 4,866,040 times
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If healthcare availability and affordability could be solved through competition, why has it not done so? All the doctors, hospitals, labs and insurance companies are private, have been private, and are out of control.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:19 AM
 
13,056 posts, read 12,435,990 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janeannwho View Post
If healthcare availability and affordability could be solved through competition, why has it not done so? All the doctors, hospitals, labs and insurance companies are private, have been private, and are out of control.
Yet the tendrils of regulation are woven all through the industry which is really part of the problem. The market isn't as "free" as people tend to think.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Boise
2,008 posts, read 3,195,026 times
Reputation: 733
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
I think Health care in America needs some major fixing. It'd be great if everyone who needs/wants health insurance could have it. But I don't like govt. run health care either. I don't think it would work here in the U.S. I've heard about "free market solutions" to the health care crisis, but nobody really says much about it, and instead focuses on opposing Govt. health care.

So my question is...can we fix health care via the free market, and if so, how? Your thoughts

Mackinac
Well for me I see the problem as follows: Having the govt run something is the only way the people can have at least some control of it and assure some fairness. Imagine privatized schooling, eventually just being able to learn to read and write would be something you have to afford, much like medical care now.

Since the only reason one wants to start a business (let's not kid ourselves here, medical care here is a business) is to make money and live the american dream by making a lot of it. But really, everyone out there is looking for a way to make a buck especially those with power like the medical system. To make any changes would come right from the pockets of those making mega-bank off the present situation.

If it were to still be private, the government would have to make so many restrictions and place so many assurances in it, that it may as well be government run, either that or be pretty much what we have now. In short there would be no way to change the medical system without it becoming at least a little socialized.

I'm sure someone has a better idea than mine though, don't pay much heed to my cynicism
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:53 AM
 
4,088 posts, read 5,080,885 times
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1. Take care of yourself. Eat right, exercise every day.

2. Take responsibility for ensuring you see the Dr. at least every couple of years. Don't wait until your foot falls off to see the Dr. about that diabetes problem

3. Choose a PPO plan with a high deductible. Pay for routine care out of your pocket. It will cost you less in the long run.

4. Either better tax credits or stronger patent protection for the development of drugs. It costs millions to billions to develop a drug. Drug companies are for-profit enterprises.

If the country does head towards Universal Care, which I oppose, it should cover only catastrophic or major issues. Everthing else should be out-of-pocket.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:58 AM
 
Location: OH->FL->NJ
16,065 posts, read 11,250,842 times
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This is one of the problems that may have NO solution.

Even cheapo family plan is $500+ a month.

OTOH getting govt involved= unionized bureacracy. The unionized part is part of why the left pushes for govt run health care BTW

>4. Either better tax credits or stronger patent protection for the development of drugs. It costs millions to billions to develop a drug. Drug companies are for-profit enterprises. <

HUH? 17 years is not enough???
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Ohio
23,425 posts, read 17,277,291 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
So my question is...can we fix health care via the free market, and if so, how?
1) Re-evaluate 18 USC 812. For those who keep screaming until they start frothing at the mouth and fall over backwards and **** themselves that Europe has national health insurance, you need to make the US system like the European system. That means re-evaluating Schedule II, III, IV, and V drugs. Removing certain drugs from those schedules eliminates the need to visit a doctor for the purpose of obtaining a prescription for medication. That reduces the number of office visits, lowers costs and increases doctor-patient quality time. Unfortunately, the cost-savings would end up resulting in an "health insurance" CEO getting another $42 Million annual bonus.


2) Evaluate the efficiency of the hospital system. For those who keep screaming until they start frothing at the mouth and fall over backwards and **** themselves that Europe has national health insurance, you need to make the US system like the European system. That means that not every hospital can offer open-heart surgery, or orthopedic services, or oncology services and so on. If a hospital has a psychiatric ward that isn't being utilized 100% of the time with 100% efficiency, then there is waste and inefficiency and loss. The hospital simply charges more than necessary for other services to offset its losses. We know this for a fact from legal documents, legislative bills and investigative newspaper articles which prove that people in the Cincinnati area are paying $13,000 to $24,000 more for open-heart surgery than they should be paying if hospitals operated on a free market system. Every hospital in the Cincinnati area offers open-heart surgery, however the supply far exceeds the demand for those services in the area. In order for each hospital to pay for the equipment, the maintenance of the equipment, the space it occupies, the salary and benefits of the Chief Cardiologist, the Assistant Chief Cardiologist, Cardiologists, the Chief Resident in Cardiology, the Assistant Chief Resident in Cardiology, the Resident Cardiology Staff, the Head Nurse of Cardiology, the Assistant Head Nurse of Cardiology, the Cardiology Nursing Staff, the all other staff members and administrative personnel in the Cardiology Department, the hospitals must over-charge for the services, and over-charge for other services the hospital offers in order to offset the hospital's losses.

The logical solution would seem to be for the hospital to stop offering open-heart surgery if it is suffering financial losses, but the hospitals claim it affects their "ability to compete" because it cannot brag in its television and radio and billboard advertising that it offers those services.

The same inefficiency due to over supply with little demand is the reason all Americans pay at least $7,000 more for child-birth than they should be paying.

3) Outlaw hospital cartels. Dictating to hospitals which services will be provided, like the European health care system is not an ideal situation. In the period 1976 to 1984 BHI (Before "Health Insurance"), hospitals were closing, merging or filing bankruptcy due to heavy financial losses. The financial losses were in no way related to dead-beat patients not paying bills or the poor abusing the system. The cause was mismanagement by hospital administrators who recklessly began purchasing the new diagnostic equipment made available through technological advances, plus the fact that Americans were the healthiest they'd ever been. Before the Great Proliferation of "health insurance" companies, hospitals began to collude to engage in price fixing.

From 1985 AHI (After "Health Insurance") and to the present, hospitals have formed cartels, groups of hospitals, which then fix prices in a sort of "managed competition" scheme. There are fourteen hospitals in my area organized as two hospital cartels. A recent lengthy court battle ended allowing several hospitals to leave the cartel they had been part of. Federal legislation is needed to outlaw hospital cartels, and modification of FTC rules to extend their powers to investigate collusion and price-fixing (which is what would happen if the cartels were abolished) in the health care industry. An FTC representative needs to be assigned to each hospital and have instant access to all administration and financial records, meeting minutes, and communications with other hospitals, in addition to attending meetings between hospital representatives.

In creating a level playing field, some hospitals will close or be forced to merge for financial survival because they can't compete with other hospitals, but that's okay. A hospital that closes wasn't needed in the first place. Hospitals that survive may be forced to stop offering certain services and reducing others, and that's okay too, because it only serves to prove they were needn't and that resources were not being used efficiently.

4) Create incentives for specialized clinics. Two years ago the attempt to create a cardio-pulmonary clinic that specialized only in open-heart surgery here instilled panic and fear in the hospital cartels and the "health insurance" companies. The thought that the clinic would offer open-heart surgery for $13,000 to $24,000 less than other hospitals were over charging and drain profits from the hospitals was more than they could bear. They ran to Columbus with their lobbyists and out-lawed it. In my opinion, that the state legislatures would allow hospitals to steal money from patients by over-charging them is theft and treason, for which they should be summarily executed, but that's just my opinion. Providing incentives for similar such clinics is the best way to lower health care costs and force the closure of hospitals, or at least force them to scale back their operations and run more efficiently, resulting in cost-savings to you.

Think about it. If you had cancer, would you rather go to an hospital and pay twice as much as you should be paying, or would you rather go to an oncology clinic in an old Victorian mansion set in a serene peaceful wooded area with a lake that charged half as much as a hospital and delivered equal or better quality care?

5) Ban for-profit "health insurance" and bar them from using the word "insurance" since it's misleading as insurance is base on actuarial science, which current "health insurance" providers do not employ. If Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield can afford to give its CEO a $42 Million annual bonus, then it could have afforded to give its customers a $42 Million rebate on the premiums they paid.

Those are the things that need to be done in order to have an health care system that operates on the free market providing affordable health care for all without affecting the quality of the health care and without dictating health care choices to consumers.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:02 AM
 
7,642 posts, read 8,032,633 times
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Good question! The whole system is confusing for me and many others. One thing I am curious and confused about is the situation where insurance companies can not compete across State lines. Also, why is it the larger the group coverage for the employer the cheaper it is for businesses and customers and why can't these large groups be easily created from several employers and the independently insured? The link between employment and health coverage needs to ease out somehow and the "pre-existing condition clause" is barbaric. The HIPPA laws need to be simplified by ridding the system of COBRA coverage by eliminating lapse in coverage. Also, wither this is true or not, I've heard that companies have an incentive to keep their employment rolls youthful in order to keep their insurance rates lower. If this is true you can imagine the implications of this. If these things are not taken care of either socially or through the private sector or both the US will lose its competitive edge over time in this global economy if it hasn't happened already. The system that has caught my attention is the Canadian system. I appears to mix both private and public assistance in this matter by having a single payer system that pays out to private practices, each Provence with its own set of rules. Two years ago the US system worked well for me for years. My wife became ill and now I see what the fuss is all about--It is broke and needs fixing now!
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:35 AM
 
Location: DFW, TX
2,935 posts, read 6,456,753 times
Reputation: 571
Quote:
Originally Posted by janeannwho View Post
If healthcare availability and affordability could be solved through competition, why has it not done so? All the doctors, hospitals, labs and insurance companies are private, have been private, and are out of control.
The medical field is the most highly regulated field in the US.

The government regulates who can call themselves a medical doctor, who can prescribe medicine, who can sell medicine, who may consume medicine, which medicines we may consume, and every aspect in between. We can hardly call this a free market.
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Old 09-03-2008, 09:21 AM
 
20,186 posts, read 22,624,964 times
Reputation: 9268
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
I think Health care in America needs some major fixing. It'd be great if everyone who needs/wants health insurance could have it. But I don't like govt. run health care either. I don't think it would work here in the U.S. I've heard about "free market solutions" to the health care crisis, but nobody really says much about it, and instead focuses on opposing Govt. health care.

So my question is...can we fix health care via the free market, and if so, how? Your thoughts

Mackinac
Good question, but I will clarify "government involvement"... the government can be involved but it shouldn't "run" the whole mess... once a government runs something, everybody is in worse shape for the same reason Social Security is in worse shape now... because they do NOT think ahead... they want a quick fix like a heroin user... sure it helps in the short term but over the years it will be just as broken as Social Security... why? Because of money... Every year will be an increase in needed money to fund this program... sure 5% sounds low now... a few years later its 20%... even now Social Security won't survive unless we cut benefits or increase the taxes... so how do we go about fixing health care without stealing from people as politicians loot the money for health care...

Legislative reform... the health insurance industry has "run amok" but they LEARNED it from medicare/medicaid... as medicare/medicaid tries to reduce cost... so goes the health insurance industry... reduce costs = YOU pay more... For instance, it costs $1 for A... next year medicare reduces its cost and payout by paying only $0.75 for A (even though it costs now $1.05)... Yeah! We reduced medicare costs (by the way, you owe and now are paying $0.30 for A out of your OWN pocket now instead of the government paying for it)... so the health industry is doing the same thing as Medicare and raising premiums (their workers are also demanding raises for living costs increases or did you think you were the only one)... The health insurance defends its actions because "medicare" does it too argument...

A California senator had suggested something that might help... he said.. 85% of all premiums collected by the health insurance industry HAS to be paid out to its customers... A maximum 15% is used to pay for overhead costs and collected profit.... this is forcing the health insurance industry to move away from "medicare cheating" (another problem itself)... Other things include reform on customer rights... stuff like "pre-existing conditions" is pure B.S.... like most other insurance companies (car, property, dental, and health)... they repeatedly deny claims first and only after intense arguing do they let up... consumer protection is needed in the insurance business...

I don't think you can control deductibles since deductibles are what keeps the insurance industry afloat... people complain about premiums but honestly, how do you keep premiums from going up when people who work also want raises and the premiums are used to pay for the raises... there are thousands of insurance agents, insurance sales, customer service, billing department, etc etc... they want to increase their wage just like you and the only way that is going to happen is an increase in premiums... its going to happen, its inflation...

People will argue about availability and in such cases, you can mandate that insurance carriers have at least 20% of the customers who earn at poverty level to 200% poverty level and 35% of customers who earn at 300% poverty level to 500% poverty level... If the carriers have to insure these people, I am sure they will make it affordable and spread out the costs... This will make everyone's premiums go up that is 500% above the poverty level.... but the middle class will be hit harder with increasing premiums, the solution? Tax credits for the average household ($50k and below) equal to the premiums... this way, money is NOT stolen from other people and is self-supporting (future-proof, if you will)... this will mean less taxes is collected for the federal government and the solution is cut the fat in government spending and ensure they don't overspend in the future... something both republicans and democrats lack, controlling their spending spree on SOMEBODY else's money...

Another question (which I think is bogus) is quality of health care compared to other countries... a lot of them like to look at neonatal mortality as if it was an "indicator" as whether it is a good/bad health care systems (when did that ever become an legit indicator?)... They tend to ignore a lot of things and a lot of factors as well as believing statistical "lies" given out by other countries.. suffice it to say that the health care system in the U.S. is one of the best (if not, the best) system in the world... what we have here cannot be found elsewhere...
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