Friday, May 16, 2003

Pretty good overview of the Health Insurance woes -- Premium Blend - Why is it so difficult to provide universal health care? By Robert Shapiro
I would like to add to it that I think the author underreports the cost of the drugs and technology-related treatments versus what doctors actually get paid. I was surprised, and somewhat appalled, to find out that an oncologist was billing us $150 for a visit, but was only collecting, including our $20 co-payment about $60-$80. She easily spent an hour or more with us, and had to maintain an office, etc. Every advanced test we had was however running into thousands of dollars for MRI/CAT/etc. It seems to me that the real rising cost of insurance reflects the rise in these prices, and that in fact the use of malpractice suits as a bludgeon drives a lot of doctors to oversubsribe these kinds of treatments and tests.
I keep thinking that if Doctors were allowed to keep more of the total money we would see
1. increase in the number of Drs.
2. increase in their use of traditional doctor-observed diagnosis and less of the uber-reliance on technology.
3. As doctors rely more on themselves, Malpractice suits will regain their relevance, since now a doctor will actually balance his earnings vs. your health, as opposed to just sending you to the most expensive treatment possible since whether it is cheap or not makes no impact on their wallet.

BTW, I still do not see how capping malpractice awards @ 250K will do anyone any good, except very literally limit doctors liability before their patients.

Obviously, this is very rough, but for some reason this is one subject I do not hear much debate on. It is easy to wish for universal health care, but hard to pay for it.


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