The biggest obstacle to healthcare reform is the cost of healthcare. Many people look at reducing the cost of healthcare by addressing insurance. One of the issues with health insurance, though, is that to be profitable, insurance companies do not want to have to pay out, and so will try to do everything they can to deny claims. Addressing insurance is not going to solve the issues with affordable healthcare for every American. So what will?
One possibility is to do away with private medical practice and private hospitals. Currently, many of the costs of medical care are administrative. Does it really, for example, cost 9,000 dollars to transport someone from one hospital to another only an hour away? Does a tylenol really cost 40 dollars for a hospital? With all these institutions being private, corporate, for-profit organizations, it will always be an issue.
However, what if we made all hospitals, all doctors part of a centralized organization? What it we made the costs for everything directly based on the cost to perform the procedure? How much money could be saved just by saving doctors from having to pay out the administrative costs. From there, comes a standardization of pricing across the board. If, say, we paid doctors 40 dollars an hour, but they usually had 2 patients an hour, so we charge the patients 30 dollars for a basic office visit. If you have an 8 hour operation, you can figure that it would be a minimum of 480 for the surgeon and 480 for the anesthesiologist, plus the cost of the supplies, plus the cost of the nurses and assistants for the operation. This would still make it cheaper then current where such procedures could be tends of thousands of dollars.
Perhaps the idea of adding extra to a Doctor’s salary for specialized skills or experience would be useful for encouraging doctors, but that puts us at risk of something similar to now. These sorts of salary modifications would have to be carefully thought out to prevent said doctors from risking insurance companies refusing to pay for a doctor due to his experience.
One further advantage of having a single, centralized agency that all doctors are apart of is that it could easily be organized in a manner similar to the Post Office, where, while it is allowed to make a profit(which is directed to be, in effect, malpractice insurance and to enhance local hospitals and doctors offices), it is paid for entirely by the payments of the patients. It also means that you cannot have a doctor lose his or her license in one state, move to another, and get a new license. This also applies to nurses and other professionals, and would impose set standards across the country for licensing.
Is this possible? Will the Medical Industry allow it? Who knows…but it is something to think about…