Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why Insurance Reform Won't Fix Things

I've blogged about what ails our medical sector in regards to cost and being a smart consumer in Service Catalog. About a week ago I tore the bicep in the my right arm and had another encounter with various levels of the health care system again. I found myself looking back at my post to revisit my thoughts. I still agree with everything I wrote with some new thoughts.

One week into my injury and expecting surgery soon to repair my arm and I still haven't seen any costs or estimates. This is pretty striking to me. Its seems so strange to me that no one consults with the consumer about the cost of the care.

Take your car in to the mechanic and you'll practically get a play-by-play about the work needed and how much it will cost. The consumer is consulted constantly along the way. Not so with medical procedures and practice. Whatever the doctor thinks you need is what you get.

When I saw the general practice doctor he gave me a diagnosis and then referred me to a specialist. At the end of my visit he said "I know the specialist will want to do and MRI or X-ray but I won't send you in for them without knowing what they want." A few days later with the specialist, she asked what tests the GP had done. When I responded that no tests had been done she replied "That was kind of him. He saved you some money."

That's when it struck me: in medicine I am NOT the consumer. I am part of the product. A strange sort of product since I am also paying for the service indirectly.

Reforming the insurance industry is probably a start to fixing some of the problems in health care. Until patients are the consumers again and medical practice is put in a position to deal with patients directly for making care and treatment choices all the insurance reform in the world is pointless.

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