Monday, August 17, 2009

Retainer Health Care

Back in school, we had a lecturer who was a former CEO of a hospital management group. He spoke about the challenges in healthcare and his potential solutions. I was floored when he said he was speaking to policy makers about his ideas and he mentioned that part of the solution was to have the government pay their "fair share". To me, this mentality is the problem. What is a "fair share"? Who determines what the "fair share" is? Shouldn't the "fair share" be zero since it was the hospital's obligation to determine how the person is going to pay for medical treatment? The government should not have to pay anything, nor is it constitutionally allowed to do anything of the sort.

The real solutions to healthcare problems isn't in corporate crony health care, it is in creative free market solutions provided by individual health care providers. To see an example, read the article below from yahoo!finance.

Simplifying the Health Care System:

The article above demonstrates that primary care can be affordable and simple to administer without health insurance. Retainer care is much like the original health insurance models that sprang up in Texas in the late 1920s and early 1930s. For a fixed fee, patients are given access to their primary care physician. The typical cost as indicated by the article is $50-150 per month or $600-1800/year. The fee is likely determined by age since as age increases, usage increases. Compare this to health insurance provided by employers at $100-150/month and you have a very comparable system.

The solution to lower health care costs is simple:

1. Dissolve the AMA's supply restrictions on Doctors. This would increase the number of primary care physicians to a point where the market could determine a practical fee schedule.
2. Dissolve regulations that require health insurance companies to provide a minimum level of coverage. Health insurance companies should not have to provide a service that a customer does not need or want.
3. Health care should be two-tiered: Primary care and Catastrophic. Primary care would be for routine items and would be paid for out of pocket. Catastrophic would be paid through some sort of portable health insurance, much like life, disability, or long term care insurance. People would pay premiums for the health insurance company to reserve for future use. The premiums would be risk based.
4. Allow healthcare providers to donate services to clinics and charity hospitals and deduct these services from their tax liability. This is a good way to provide care for low income families with limited health care access.

That's it. Our entire healthcare system was fine until FDR incentivized companies to provide health care benefits as part of his wage and price control legislation. After that, the government slowly gathered its influence on healthcare and its rapidly rising costs. On the other hand, corporate crony health care is an MBA concocted scheme designed to limit competition and increase the fees that companies are allowed to charge to you, your employer, and a faceless government.

Wake up America! The solutions to our problems are in individuals' creative solutions implemented through profit-seeking ventures.

No comments: