Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Great Ferris Wheel

The question of medical care seems simple on the surface, but has many interior complications. Read this Post. There is no limitation on Consumer Demand; when people are Sick or Injured, they want to be fixed. Here is the first Problem faced in the health sector; people simply do not know what they need for health care. The Supply Side not only provides the Goods and Services, it supples Us with the sole source of expertise to determine what health care services are needed. It is at this Point that the business managers enter the Picture; either with the Doctors owning or being employed by the provision centers. The Expertise will always underwrite the capitalization of all medical services provisioned; i.e., they will create their own Consumption base. Medical equipment never before used ever anywhere will be over-proscribed from the first year, even though no use for it had been witnessed previously. It is an economic fact that a single piece of medical equipment or practice can increase the medical cost per patient by 50% per year in a given area, simply by its introduction. Everyone knows the basic destruction caused to the medical allotment per patient coming from X-ray machine, MRI, and internal surgery. There is literally nothing to rein in the health care provider and his employees.

The second major problem with health care comes in the fact that Payment schedules can always be shifted. Nowhere in the health care provision process can the restraint of the Price of Provision fully impact. Doctor, Patient, and Clinic all know major Costs can be switched to a Third Payer; big Pharmaceuticals even pay Patients to take their Drugs as Advertising gimmick. No one feels any Guilt at over-Pricing, and Doctors have even received Kickbacks for Patient referrals to equipment use. Patients are never faced with the real bill for the medical services received; Everyone gracious about helping the Patient by doing the Paperwork. A major Restraint on medical Costs might simply consist on insistence that Patients alone can be paid by medical Insurers; said Patients themselves forced to write the Checks necessary to pay the medical personnel. By the way, I know what a Screw-up such a dictate would achieve, but it could cut medical expenses some potential 30%; as Everyone tired of the medical reimbursement procedures. Here, though, We have the additional Problem of Patients being paid as well as Doctors; a Condition guaranteed to produce fraud.

I personally would favor a health care plan where Doctor, Clinic, and Hospital would go to a defined lump-sum per Patient, then the Patient being liable for the entirety of the medical Cost thereafter. The health care Provider would have to prove usage of their services by the Patient in question in every payment period, and Insurers must prove that they have a Premium schedule designed to repay all medical Costs within a 10-year premium pay period. The lump-sum payments would be paid by direct taxation on all Americans; the limit of payment size being the sole determinant of level of Taxation. I would suggest that initial Tax levels should equal about $300 per person per year; all overage of Cost to be repaid by higher Taxation in following years. The whole Concept will provide a drag holding down medical Costs, as health care Providers find getting additional repayments is as much Fun as going to a Dentist for an Extraction. It might work, though the charade of payment evasion will always continue. lgl

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