Will slackers lead us to health-care shangri-la?
I know a fair number of slackers; it seems highly unlikely they will be leading health-care anywhere. Oops, I am two years from slackerdom.
On the WSJ health blog, delivered to me by my new adventure, Twitter, an executive level think-taker is quoted as saying about our present-day health care system…
“Why aren’t masses of people saying that we can do better?” he says. “We’ve anesthetized consumers to say ‘It’s not very good, but I’ll live with it.’”
The masses are not rising up. Why?
There are many reasons, and the complexity level is high, but here are a few notions that stick in my simplistic mind.
Until the recent increase in HSAs, consumers out-of-pocket medical costs are not real. My shoulder surgery, which was done in the twelfth month, had a bill of thousands, but cost me zero. Should I rise up and offer to pay more?
A friend, a highly trained lawyer, writes me about the outrageousness of the fact that his insurance carrier “allowed” 250 dollars in professional fees to my partner, for his heart catheterization. Should he rise up and offer to pay more? That’s a quarter of the 950$ root canal, that is paid with a credit card.
The masses can’t really shop doctors. An AF ablationist who has done hundreds of cases gets to charge the same as the dabbler. Even worse, as it is now, if the dabbler in AF ablation has a better EMR, or is more adept at checking the “quality” of care forms, she (or he) may be considered a better doctor. Why should a consumer pay the same for a dabbler than an expert? The plastic surgeons, with the glossy advertisements adorned with beautiful young women, live in the real world of “normal” free markets. So do the Lasik surgeons. How did the eye doctors, plastic surgeons and root canalers avoid the quagmire?
Oops, did I just mention competition, transparency and free markets along with health-care. I’m stepping back. Sorry, I almost fell off the ledge, into the Republican ravine.
Oh my, it is so convoluted. Even more complicated than HTML or Geometry.