Did I Solve Denise’s Problem? Not yet!
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
My last few blogs dealt with Price Transparency. These posts were meant to describe the problem as well as offer a solution to the problem.
Denise, as an uninsured patient, was thrown into a situation where she was at a tremendous price disadvantage. The solution presented would provide her with price ranges that she could negotiate. However, when you are ill, you do not want to be forced to negotiate the price of your own care. If there was a Universal Medical Saving Account available to everyone, sold by insurance companies without eligibility or tax restrictions, the fees would have already been negotiated for Denise. Her decision making would be simplified. She would decide whether the insurance company was allowing too little or too much to be paid for a service with her MSA money. She should have the opportunity to express her impression of the quality of the service. If she was displeased with the service, she should be able to choose another insurance company, physician or hospital.
These simple principles would create a competitive marketplace in favor of the patient. The impartial web site would permit other patients to judge the quality of their care. The provider could defend the quality of his care to others in this transparent marketplace. One can begin to see that a Consumer Driven Healthcare System (CDHCS) could be effective by market forces determining cost and price. It could also be a good deal for the patient. An effective CDHCS could encourage a system of patient responsibility for his care. In turn, it could increase adherence rates to treatment and reduce complication rates of chronic illness. The result would be a decreasing cost of care to the healthcare system. I will, in future blogs, discuss the system of Consumer Driven Healthcare that would work.
I mentioned that Dr David Westbrock was correct when he stated that the insurance industry has subverted the Medical Saving Account product which is key to the Consumer Driven Healthcare movement. They have substituted an alteration in the original system called the Health Saving Account. This alteration serves the insurance industries’ vested interest and not the patients’. In the long run, the HSA will serve as a false hope to the Repair of the Healthcare System.
Next, I will return to the evolution of steps that have distorted the Healthcare System. They are a threat to destroy our medical care system.