7 years. And neither side has anything to offer.
So, here is what needs to be done to fix healthcare…
- Torte reform. Make it hard to sue a doctor or a hospital that puts genuine effort into a positive outcome for the patient. Surgeries don’t come with guarantees. If something goes wrong, you can’t sue the doctors just because you either refused to realize the inherent risks that come with any procedure, surgery, or the outcome wasn’t 100%. If you make it harder or (close to impossible) to sue doctors then they wouldn’t have to spend so much on malpractice insurance. That would help rates to come down for patients.
- Encourage hospitals to post their rates for surgeries. Make it all-inclusive to show what the final bill will be, factoring in hospital stay, drugs, the cost of tests, medical staff, aftercare, etc. so that you know what you’re in for. This may encourage patients to think about where they go and encourage hospitals to compete for patients by keeping prices low.
- Eliminate expensive tests, x-rays and MRIs. Much of the tests ordered are done to keep the physician protected from unwarranted lawsuits. Many of these tests could be avoided altogether. Listening to a patient’s heart with a stethoscope will yield just as relevant insights as expensive alternatives.
- Charge people who live unhealthy lifestyles more for healthcare. If you smoke then you do so knowing what smoking does to your body. You also do so knowing how 2nd and 3rd hand smoke hurts people around you. If you insist on smoking, then you should have higher premiums than someone who does not smoke. This goes for overeating, over medicating and over drinking. Many of the diseases our society is dealing with are preventable (and the minimum, they are manageable).
- Talk about quality of life. If you are on a breathing machine, unable to get out of bed on your own volition, have reached an age where nothing is working anymore or you can’t enjoy any measure of a pain-free or conscious life then it is time to die. It ought to perfectly okay. The honorable, humane thing to do is to give people a quick departure from their sad existences. We should not prolong lives artificially. We should not allow religious sentiments to muddle the logical decisions to let people control how and when they die. We’d save a lot of grief and money if terminally ill and chronically old people were given an easy way out.
- If you’re going to limit what a doctor or hospital can charge for services then you have to limit what a medical equipment provider or utility company can can charge a doctor or hospital.
- We have to address the notion that a for-profit insurance company must provide coverage to everyone in a population at an equal amount. That’s unfair to the company. It’s just as unfair to force a healthy person to pay more for insurance just to support an unhealthy person who pays zero for equal coverage. Where is the economic incentive to stay in business if you can’t make a profit? Where is the incentive to quit smoking or overeating or abusing drugs if you never have to contribute to your own healthcare costs?
- What if we simply make it illegal to have health insurance at all? Healthcare providers would be able to charge less for services because they would be get paid for 100% of the real rate versus an artificially high rate current charged because insurance companies and medicaid and medicare reimburse so little.
- If we insist on maintaining the insurance model and the drug coverage model then consumers must be able to buy coverage and prescription drugs across state and international lines. Competition is the only way to encourage lower prices. That also means that the FDA should give a green light to more experimental drugs and encourage the proliferation of generics to bring costs down and make them accessible to a greater percentage of the population.
- Stop force-feeding the narrative that we are all in equal. Money buys access to better care. Lack of money buys access to minimal or non-existent care. That’s the reality of a for-profit approach to healthcare. Those who have less will die at greater rates than those who have more. Higher deaths are actually beneficial given that the rate that the overall human population is growing is unsustainable. Not everyone is meant to live into their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or beyond. Cancer serves an invaluable purpose. So do other illnesses. On the same note, if mental illness is not curable and a person suffering from it can not cohabit with others safely and productively then locking them up is not a moral solution. Giving them a way out is moral and fiscally responsible. The same can be said of addiction. If a person is hopelessly addicted to a drug, with no to little chance for a return to functional normalcy, then they ought to be presented with a positive death alternative. In general, we have to encourage people to accept death as “okay” and make dying comfortable and speedy.
- If we are going to insist that governments cover contraception then we have to take a look at sterilization. It costs less to tie a woman’s tubes once and give a man a vasectomy once than it does to provide the same couple with a lifetime of condoms, morning-after pills, birth-control pills or risky abortions. Sterilization also frees the couple from having to remember to use their birth control and cuts down the risk of accidental pregnancy. Fewer children is a boon for a couple trying to get ahead financially and again reduces the overall burden that the human race places on our ecosystem.