Alternatives to Killing the US Health Care System

I realize that our current health care system is not perfect. However, the system could benefit from treatment rather than euthanasia. Dr. Melissa Clouthier gives her perspective on those things which would help:

1. Require everyone to have high-deductible insurance. That is, a $5 – $10,000 deductible, where the person negotiates with doctors for care. This will bring competition into the market. Also, people with chronic conditions like diabetes will have strong economic motivation to care for their health.

2. Allow people to buy insurance across state lines. This brings more competition into the market.

3. Require insurance companies to be non-profit organizations. When they must answer to Wall Street, suddenly, the focus becomes profits rather than care. In addition, any extra money made, rather than going to drive down premiums, paying doctors decent fees for service, and holding down health care costs, goes to stock holders. The emphasis here is wrong.

My thoughts regarding the above are as follows:

1. An HSA would be an good way to play this. That is what I currently use and have found that I’m much more likely to consider the cost (and yes, even shop around) for procedures instead of simply asking “Does my insurance cover this?”

2. Absolutely. Competition works.

3. Not certain that this would be a good idea. Taking health insurance companies out of the for-profit category makes them less desirable to invest in than any other business or even government health care entity. I believe that if government would get out of the way, competition (coupled with those who do really care about others) would ensure that despite being for-profit, the insurance companies could provide useful services.

4. Dr. Clouthier did not mention it, but addressing the issue of malpractice suits could help people understand that insurance is a safety net, not a lottery ticket.