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The Difference in Philosophy Between Medical Savings Account and the Present System

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACE,MACE

Let us assume that everyone wants the best Healthcare System possible. I have proposed an effective Medical Savings Account system as the backbone to repairing the healthcare system. Many stakeholders would disagree. Their vested interest would be disrupted by a change in the system. However, the system has to change to a self repairing system because the existing system is so dysfunctional. It hardly works anymore for the most important stakeholder the patient.

The difference between the MSA and the present managed care fee for service model is both philosophical and technical. The philosophy difference deals with respect for the consumers (patients) ability to make wise medical choices. The technical component is the ineffective manner information technology is used presently and should be used in the future.

Presently, to control the costs in the system we pass laws and rules and regulation to limit usage and abuse of the system. In turn, we need larger bureaucratic institutions to administer the new rules and regulations. The result is a tremendous waste and an increase in utilization of non value added resources, resulting in increased cost. The increase in cost leads to an increase in healthcare rationing. The resulting fall out is the increasing number of uninsured patients. The result is a further increase in healthcare costs to society. Rather than controlling the perverse incentives the system creates, the increase bureaucracy stimulates more perverse incentives. Individual self interests continue to spend other peoples’ money, while bureaucratic institutions like the government and the insurance industry continue to make more rules and regulations to block the individuals’ self interests.

The Medical Saving Accounts system creates a system that provides incentive for individuals to become prudent purchaser of health care services in a price transparent environment. Individuals’ having control over their own health care dollar will be prudent and only purchase services that are needed and worth the price. They are spending their own money, or money awarded to them, and not other peoples’ money. The right amount to spend is their choice as long as the prices reflect the real costs of medical services. The government, the employers and the insurance industry would need to negotiate charges from their real costs in a transparent environment.

The result of negotiating charges on the basis of costs creates a need for innovative thinking by insurance companies, hospitals and physicians. The competitive medical market place of consumer driven healthcare forces the hospitals, insurance companies and physicians to realize it is in their vested interest to lower price, improve quality of care and improve communications with the patient in order to survive.

If we develop this system, the healthcare system would become self repairing and cost efficient.

  • ellen

    The doctors and hospitals believe the patient is not spending their own money, but with my years of self insurance I have always felt the money that goes to doctors have always been my own. Even though I pay a high monthly premium, I am so frustrated after visiting a doctor, I feel it was a waste of time.
    I finally went to see a physician after years of not going yesterday, and he was rude, nasty and argumentative. Now I know why
    I stay away. He gave me 10 minutes and wrote nothing down and did not even give me a physical exam.
    My sister had an undiagnosed pituitary tumor for 15 years, She felt hormonal but the internist thought she just needed a good diet. After 1 year from diagnosis she decided to spend whatever years she had remaining not to pursue treatment. She had 17 good years, yet she continued to pay $1400 a month for insurance. When she finally needed some care, as it turned from prolactin secreting to cortisol secreting she was denied care.

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