With Health Care Reform so prominently covered in the media, I’d like to give you my take on the issues.
The problem with health care in this country runs very deep and there is no easy solution. In order for meaningful change to take place, I believe the following items must be addressed:
1. Hospital’s must return to being non profit entities. There is too much incentive for corporate profits within these hospital corporations. Returning to non profit as they were years ago only makes sense in controlling skyrocketing hospital costs.
2. Health insurance companies also need to return to non profit status. Again the temptation to drive company profits also drives premiums. Insurance companies also must remove the middle man in their system of managed care. They can control doctor costs by putting limits or caps on many types of care without employing all the personnel in the middle. All that has been done with this approach is shift the revenue from the doctor’s pocket and into the pocket of these middle managers. The doctors will be happier without the extra paperwork and hiring of their own personnel and the insurance companies would simply cut staff and also be able to save money.
3. Pharmaceutical companies need new regulations to control the marketing of their products. We need to go back to when advertisements were not allowed on television and in print. These ads create unnecessary demand and drive up the costs of health care. Just ask any person over 65 how many medications they are on and I’m sure you will be shocked. Many seniors are sedentary and watch hours of TV every day, constantly being bombarded with pharmaceutical ads telling them to “ask their doctor”.
4. More emphasis need to be placed on wellness care and prevention. I’m not talking about more vaccines (which by the way also drive up the costs of health care and in most cases are unnecessary). I’m referring to creating incentives for people to change their lifestyles, from exercising more, to eating better quality food, to getting enough rest and to reducing stress in their lives.
5. There needs to be some kind of tort reform. Many doctors are being driven out of their specialties because of high liability insurance…and while medical mistakes are common and should be compensated, the frivolous law suits must be dealt with as well. I’m not sure exactly what the solution is, however, I do know that this is an area that needs to be addressed.
If we added these areas to the discussion in health care reform and acted upon them, we could solve most of the issues facing health care reform today.