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Healthcare System Issues: Price and Secretiveness

Info: 1132 words (5 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 11th May 2021

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I have never had to deal with medical problems, my mother has always insured that I had the best medical insurance because I am prone to becoming seriously injured.  But in America the healthcare system is not the best, the lower-class struggle with finding insurance or even possessing medical insurance and are penalized for not having medical insurance on their taxes.  The problem with the outdated insurance-based model we call the American healthcare system is that it does not have to be absurdly expensive and secretive to get a check up from a local doctor.

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 Healthcare in America is absurdly expensive. If you have ever looked at the uninsured bill for a hospital visit it is probably in the thousand if not tens of thousands.  In most cases the actual physical cost of the visit will be in the hundreds and only hit the low thousands.  But the hospitals know that if they keep their normal uninsured rates high, then when insurance companies make deal with them they have more room to negotiate and make money to further treatment or treat people who can’t pay immediately.  But with cost this high you are paying way more then you should for something that effectively is a mass produced inexpensive commodity; for example, if you just go in for a IV the bill could come out to hundreds if not thousands. For what effectively could be 200 dollars in labor and 10 bucks for the saline solution.  But your punishment for not paying the thousands of dollars a year for medical insurance is paying the difference. [1] This is a problem for those who are just visiting America or are new citizens.  This lack of affordable healthcare can put people into large amounts of debt for something that isn’t even their fault. This model of government enforced lack of choice forces people to make life altering choices when they are severely injured or sick.[2]

The second problem with American healthcare is its secretiveness.  If you call a hospital or most primary care doctors and ask for the price of a procedure, odds are you will get led on and you will not get a solid dollar amount until after you receive the procedure.  This is a problem for those whose insurance doesn’t cover the procedure and want to find the best deal on it. This is a problem for people who need lifesaving procedures but know that they can’t afford it, because they can’t find the best option or even a hospital that is willing to work with them on the price because of secretiveness  Problem is, to do so would force hospitals to show what they charge for each of their services and disposable items which is not in their best interest because it would cause competition amongst hospitals which would lower cost causing the need for medical insurance to dwindle.  Every hospital has a charge book which is kept secret and only a handful of people know where it is and the amounts, most of it is just plugged into spread sheet and used to output the bill.  [3]

To solve this issue it is simple, take away government subsidies and incentives to buy medical insurance and force hospitals to be transparent about the costs of common procedures, allowing for competition will allow for bills to be less and for hospitals to make more money then they are taking deals with the current insurance companies.  Naysayers will claim that if someone who can’t pay receives medical treatment it will bankrupt hospitals or that it will collapse the economy which heavily relies on insurance and the employment that the companies provide.  Well to that I say, there are precedents available to observe, if you can not pay for a procedure you get a bill in the mail. This would not change. If you do not pay, the same charges and processes will be followed, and in the case of collapsing economy and massive job loss, countries like France and Switzerland[4] have adopted a combination of both universal healthcare system and our outdated insurance model this allows for competition, price transparency and the right for the consumer to choose where he or she would like the procedure or routine medical check up to be done.  These countries have solved all of the problems that exist in out current model of health care and address it in a way that allows for insurance companies to keep jobs, the economy to stay stable, and the person who was just severely injured to have the choice between extremely debt or slightly less debt.[5]

Bibliography

  • Bodenheimer, Thomas. "High and rising health care costs. Part 1: seeking an explanation." Annals of internal medicine142, no. 10 (2005): 847-854.

  • Belk MD, David. http://truecostofhealthcare.org/hospitalization/.

  •  "Forbes Welcome". 2018. Forbes.Com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/05/08/the-great-american-hospital-pricing-scam-exposed-we-now-know-why-healthcare-costs-are-so-artificially-high/#674319423bff.

  • Herzlinger, Regina E., and Ramin Parsa-Parsi. "Consumer-driven health care: lessons from Switzerland." Jama 292, no. 10 (2004): 1213-1220.

  • Field, Robert I. "Government as the crucible for free market health care: Regulation, reimbursement, and reform." University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2011): 1669-1726.

 


[1] Bodenheimer, Thomas. "High and rising health care costs. Part 1: seeking an explanation." Annals of internal medicine142, no. 10 (2005): 847-854.

[2] Belk MD, David. http://truecostofhealthcare.org/hospitalization/.

[3] "Forbes Welcome". 2018. Forbes.Com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/05/08/the-great-american-hospital-pricing-scam-exposed-we-now-know-why-healthcare-costs-are-so-artificially-high/#674319423bff.

[4] Herzlinger, Regina E., and Ramin Parsa-Parsi. "Consumer-driven health care: lessons from Switzerland." Jama 292, no. 10 (2004): 1213-1220.

[5] Field, Robert I. "Government as the crucible for free market health care: Regulation, reimbursement, and reform." University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2011): 1669-1726.

 

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