Thursday, June 11, 2009

Health care debates of 2009 in US - Its hot again!!

Debates on healthcare reforms in US heated up after President Obama made speech in Green bay, WI "".

President is not pushing for any specific plan of his but is asking congress and everyone to think on reforms and finalize the plan to cover all 50 million uninsured American's. I wonder if it’s the way healthcare developed in US which is causing increase in the medical cost. They are discussing public plan sponsored and funded by Government (like Medicare and Medicaid) and co-operative plans. Co-operative plans, as I see, is private plan (co-operative of few members who can gather the Money) and stamped by Fed.

If I think from practitioners, hospitals or providers in general, the rising cost can be explained by multiple factors. They need insurance to cover from law-suits (I think law suits are biggest trouble). They are entrapped in a whirlpool where they need to keep receptionist, claim filing person and other office staff. They have to track multiple transactions to ensure they are paid for past treatments done to patients. They need software to help track them. Improvement in medical techniques and sophisticated surgeries surely increase the cost of peculiar illness. The gap between offering the service and getting paid completely for it is in weeks and may prompt providers to further increase the price to cover for current expenses.

But I wonder won't it be better if all practitioners were employed by Government and paid nice salary, benefits and other comforts. Then a lot of IT cost of payment tracking will be taken away. A patient would visit a doctor, get treated nicely and come back home in good health. There will still be need of quality checks on practitioners but they can get rid of lot of office overheads and staff. Government or some other agency will have to monitor few parameters - quality of practices followed by doctor, patient to doctor ratio in the area and wait time for patients.

It’s surprising to see that general care of also a lot costly in US. Being from India I can surely say that general medical facilities are far better than what is present in US. In US even emergency person have to wait for hours to get Doctors attention. Getting treated for general ailments like high fever, severe stomach ache also cost more than hundred dollars. If one has insurance then yes you just have to pay co-pay but still it’s ridiculous to see that doctor charges huge fee for treating general ailments.

Like everyone, I am keeping an eye on how the reforms take place (if at all!!)

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