Health Care Reform in the U.S.
By: Richard Modglin
Many Americans agree that the health care delivery system in the U.S. is badly in need of repair or at least updating. Whether you believe health care to be a right, entitlement or you think each person should show individual responsibility, we still need to address these issues.
As President Obama has said, the continued rate of medical inflation is the single greatest threat we have to our continued prosperity in the U.S. Within the already socialized medicine of Medicare and Medicaid the inflation rate is nearly 3 times that of other consumer products. Cost, Access and Quality are all interrelated components determining ultimate costs.
a) Medical records modernized and computerized. This is absolutely necessary to reduce hospital, physician and insurance company costs by saving significantly on labor costs, expediting medical procedure approvals and quicker claims payments. I have seen all kinds of estimates on cost savings from 3% to 20%. After a significant initial cost to put in place, I think it could save up to 10% of overall cost ongoing.
b) The Uninsured The biggest cost savings by far would be getting a high portion of the 47 million uninsured into the system. If these people were insured and paying into the system it could reduce costs by 30% - 40%. The good news is this could be done. According to Aetna Health Care the make up of the 47 million uninsured is as follows:
That means 40% of uninsured are 18-34 years old (mostly invincible).
That means 20% of uninsured earn 75K + (mostly irresponsible).
So, how do we get these 25 M + paying into the system and relieving the rest of us Americans from paying their share? These are mostly working Americans who choose to spend their money on other priorities - some on food, rent and groceries but others on a bigger house, better car or fun and vacations.
There is a great debate going on as we speak regarding these uninsureds. Do we force them to insure themselves? If so, how? Do we require employers to insure all workers? What if this causes some business' to fail? Do we offer government insurance (Medicare/Medicaid) to the uninsured? What if this causes all insurance costs to rise?
These are not easy questions, but they are questions we can no longer avoid.
(The Author is a 25 year veteran of the insurance industry with an office in New Port Richey, Fl.)
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