Everyone is talking about the economic bailout for the banking industry, and how our country nearly fell apart. We acted swiftly and quickly to fix the situation.
It’s time to discuss a healthcare bailout. The healthcare system in place is non-sustainable and the fundamentals are weak (unlike our economy).
What’s wrong with the healthcare system? Lots of things, but where to start?
Dr. Alo’s Health Care system Bailout:
1. Either fix medicare for good, or fund the heck out of it. Unfortunately, medicare has become a disaster. Over spending and being defrauded in some areas and not paying enough in others. Who suffers? Patients. Especially those that don’t have medical insurance. They get stuck with medicare, which works for now, but not well enough.
Some of the problem is that this is a government program and hence, is bogged down by typical governmental red tape. The problem with eliminating medicare, is that tons of people will go uncovered.
Medicare, if it is to remain in place, needs to be funded properly. Real properly! Fund medicare so it can start paying hospitals, clinics, and physicians. Almost every few months, congress has to enact emergency legislation to not slash medicare funding.
Medicare pays so poorly, that many physicians can not take medicare patients, because it costs them more to see these patients than they will ever recoup. For an orthopedic surgeon to grow his practice and start seeing medicare patients, it will cost him more in additional malpractice insurance than it will in additional revenue from medicare. So they don’t do it. Try finding an specialist that will see medicare patients? Very rare. These patients end up getting subpar care.
It’s extremely complicated, but medicare needs to be fixed or funded properly.
2. Stop the malpractice lawsuit lottery. People should not feel like they can sue the healthcare system, be it hospital, physician, clinic, and win the malpractice lawsuit lottery. Cap lawsuits at a maximum of $10,000 and no lawyer or patient will bring frivilous lawsuits. The amount that physicians and hospitals have to pa in insurance premiums is so much that physicians and hospitals have to rush patients in and out to try and keep up and make any money at all. A hospital should not have to count “empty bed days” and find ways to fill their beds, just to make a buck. Physicians should not have to see 8 patients an hour to make a buck. They should be able to see a few patients, spend extra time with them, and still be profitable. The revolving door and rush makes this crazy and dangerous. Physicians are to blame. They should just stop paying malpractice premiums, until they come down. They should all do it together. It’s a never ending cycle. The more we pay in premiums, the more insurance companies get sued for (deeper pockets), the more they raise our premiums, the more they can be sued for. Bad cycle.
3. Pay physicians and hospitals what they are billing. Doctors are just dumb. Why they accept not being paid till 90 days later, I don’t understand. They bill $150 per visit and after months of chasing down insurance companies, hiring 4 staffers to call the insurance companies daily, and writing letters to insurance companies, they finally get paid $18 dollars for that visit 6 months ago. This is ridiclous! You spend hundreds of dollars a month chasing eighteen dollars. Wow. Next time your plumber or refridgerator repairman asks for $150 bucks, tell him you’ll pay him $18 in 6 months and only after he sends you 4 letters, has five staffers call you daily for three months. That’ll work.
4. Physicians are being squeezed and squeezed every day. They are being pushed around and walked all over. As an economist, I know that when you squeeze smart people, they find other places to put themselves to use. If we keep squeezing the brightest people, they will find other ways to use their intelligence and make a living. Many physicians are already retiring early and putting a strain on our healthcare system. They are finding other ways to be productive and earn a living. This leads to healthcare being managed and administered by less qualified individuals (Walmart MiniMarts and Minute Clinics) and people’s lives at stake. I have nothing against Walmart clinics, the more competition, the better (I am a free market capitalist), however, our system is now designed to force the intelligent, good physicians into other sectors. This does not bode well for our system. We alread have a diminishing supply of physicians and by 2020 we will see further decline in supply. Physicians need to band together and take healthcare back and stop allowing others to dictate healthcare.
5. Pay primary care physicians and fund preventative medicine. If every American were forced to see their physician yearly, we would have fewer heart attacks, strokes, hypertension, diabetes, and other disease would be caught early. Physicians are trained in prevention. The way medicare and the insurance system is set up, we pay for catastrophic health care, rather than prevention. We will pay for the heart attack, cath, stents, but not seeing the doctor once a year and getting on lipitor. Unfortunately, more and more people are shying away from primary care. After being saddled with $250,000 in debt from medical school, they can’t afford to go the primary care route and live a normal life. Pay these people more! And keep physicians in primary care, they know how to keep people healthy. It’s unfortunate that these Quick Clinics are being run by nurses and people are using these as a substitute to medical care. No matter how good a nurse may be, they are not physicians. What the nurse thinks is a little nose bleed, could turn out to be some major issue. Don’t denigrate health care to such a low level.
6. Healthcare Insurance should not cost that much. Families should not be paying thousands and thousands of dollars for their healthcare insurance. Further, if they show up to their prevantative visits, they should get discounts.
More to come…