HEALTHCARE 4.0

The easy work is done.  Over the last 4 articles, I’ve listed the major players in our healthcare system and reviewed some of the obvious faults with each player.  Finding fault is the easy part.  The hard part is finding solutions that correct the faults found in the system.

I’ve clearly stated that the insurance industry, as we know it today, has to go.  They skim massive amounts of healthcare dollars right to the top.  At the same time, they demand extensive and extremely costly data input, eating up more healthcare dollars at the physician, lab and hospital levels.  In the end, the insurance industry flourishes at everyone’s expense.

I’ve also stated that the EMR (electronic medical record), which serves as a glorified billing agency, has to be resurrected and utilized for its original purpose: to improve medical care by actually keeping a pertinent record of the individual’s care and making that record available to all treating entities.  We need one standardized EMR design based on scientific research, utilizing AI (artificial intelligence) to monitor care and suggest possible avenues to improve that care.

I hate to admit it but, ultimately, I THINK THE SOLUTION TO OUR HEALTHCARE PROBLEMS IS UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE (UH).  While UH is the mostly likely solution, it is full of risk.  First of all, who runs it and how is it funded?

The politicians on the left, want to build and run UH.  Unfortunately, allowing our government to run and fund UH would let the biggest serpent of all loose in the garden.  Congress is completely inept when it comes to handling money!  Just look at what’s going on today!  We are looking at a possible governmental shutdown again.  Congressmen and senators spend our money as they see fit and take no responsibility when they screw up.  Their answer to “I lost your money” is to raise taxes and do it again.  

Every year I was in practice, Medicare created new, costly regulations and reduced the amount paid for services.  Every year, in December, budget talks stalled and payments for Medicare patients were threatened or halted.  Every year, physicians nationwide are threatened with Medicare audits looking for theft and abuse.  If UH is going to have a chance, the government can’t possibly run it.

So, if the government can’t run it, who can? And how do you fund it?  While it may sound ridiculous, maybe the Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon should run it.  Running UH as a not-for-profit business may be the answer, and Amazon certainly appears to excel at the business of providing the public with what it wants.

Imagine a system where healthcare providers were paid a reasonable yearly salary commensurate with their training and with merit increases based on the quality of care they delivered.  Imagine a world where every medical procedure/medication/test had a known fixed price.  UH would run its own pharmacies and hospitals.  Imagine a world where care facilities were all built on the same, efficient platform designed to maximize care and minimize expense.  Yes, the business world is good at optimizing efficiencies to generate income.  In our world, it would optimize efficiencies to generate wellness and cover its overhead.

So, who pays for it?  I would propose that the government funds the system through a fixed tax similar to the social security tax paid today and that the government be banned from using the proceeds for any purpose other than funding UH.  In addition, a reasonable copay would be charged at every instance when a patient accesses care. Further, a “sin tax” would be levied against those individuals who persisted in doing unhealthy acts despite adequate counseling and warnings.  

Who pays for the unemployed and impoverished individuals needing healthcare?  Initially, the government would cover their needs.  Ultimately, they would be hired and trained by the UH, serving in a multitude of roles.  Their new job would not only provide them with an income, but medical care as well.

UH would not be a panacea.  It would have its own set of problems.  We’ll discuss them at a later date.

Here’s your music.  The joke of the day is the proposal above.  It will never happen; and, if it does, Congress will turn it into one more graft riddled, poorly managed governmental institution.

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