Why Our Health Care Lets Prices Run Wild…

SurgeonA central reason U.S. health care spending is so high is because hospitals and doctors charge more for their services and there’s little transparency about why. There is no uniformity to the system, in which public and private insurers have separate, unrelated contracts with hospitals and doctors. The result is a tangled, confusing and largely secretive collection of forces driving health care prices higher and higher.

This isn’t possible in many other countries either because governments set prices for health care services or broker negotiations between coalitions of insurers and providers. Known as “all-payer rate setting,” insurers in these systems band together to negotiate as groups. In contrast, U.S. insurers closely guard the secrecy of their contracted prices with health care providers and negotiate individually. This is why a hospital hosting five patients for knee replacements might get paid five different amounts for the surgeries.

Source: Why Our Health Care Lets Prices Run Wild | TIME.com.

There seems to be so many possible solutions to reigning in our ever-increasing healthcare costs if only those in congress would be brave enough to actually try a few. Instead they seem intent on just complaining about the situation. That’s easy, solving it is where the work begins and I am convinced that those yahoos inside the beltway are just too lazy to do the work to actually affect the problem.

After putting in quite a bit of study in this area I have come to believe that the above quote gets to the heart of the problem.  Like everything else in life if something is totally unregulated and uncontrolled it tends to move to an extreme.  I will admit that there are many doctors who are the exception to this statement but overall doctor’s pay is out of control.  When they believe that they are justified in charging me thousands of dollars for an hour of their time they need to be taught otherwise.

The way that hospitals set their rates is simply insanity. It has nothing to do with the actual cost of the service but more to do with getting the most possible. I love the quote above that “the result is a tangled, confusing and largely secretive collection of forces driving health care prices higher and higher”. As long as all of these price setting schemes are held behind closed doors our costs will inevitably grow higher and higher.  Why can’t we understand that simple fact.

Even a simple solution such as allowing Social Security to bargain for lower drug prices has been deemed not allowed by many of the so-called leaders in our government. Until we can finally realize that at some level of regulation is necessary in order to contain our healthcare dollars we will continue to complain about costs but fail to do any real action to contain them. The rest of the world discovered these solutions years ago, when will we ever catch up with them?

But I’m just a simple guy so what do I know…..

3 thoughts on “Why Our Health Care Lets Prices Run Wild…

  1. The mIlitary has the model to start with. Doctors are paid according to specialties. They do not pay outrageous insurance- we cannot sue individual doctors. (We can get compensation for something botched- and the doctor is fired).
    Military globbed onto the VA and can get drugs from Canada or the US. Surprise, the US drugs drop in price!
    They center services for different things at different hospitals. Burns in San Antonio, regeneration of bones at Bethesda. They place the top people together to figure things out and fly soldiers to them. Why does every hospital need a heart surgeon?
    Unfortunately, the military system is disliked by the free market people around the military. There is a movement to get rid of it. You know- cut the budget and contract out.
    I have appreciated my socialized medicine for the last 30 years. I will miss it when I turn 65 and am forced into free market and Medicare. I am sorry the congress did not have the guts to fix the current system.
    The largest problem with our system? No one wants to die. When they do- even at 90- the family thinks that medicine failed. What ever happened to “God’s will”?


  2. I have been on social security for a couple of years now and believe me it is magnitudes better and cheaper than the private sector. Our military medical care is run similar to what many other countries have long ago adopted. We have all these good examples around but no one with the guts enough to expand them for everyone. Sad isn’t it??

    I can’t say I “want” to die and I also don’t want die prematurely either simply because the cure costs a few bucks.Was it God’s will that millions died of pneumonia before a cure was found? How about TB, or even Aids. Our perception of God’s will is pretty faulty in historical terms for this and many other topics..


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