Saturday, January 28, 2017

Affordable Health Care Through Cash and Competition

Americans were told the Affordable Care Act was the panacea for all of our healthcare needs.  This government sponsored utopia would bring down cost by forcing everyone to buy insurance, or at least enroll onto its lesser cousin, Medicaid.  This flawed ideology is based on the concept that insurance equates to healthcare.  Well how’s that working out?   

Obamacare’s mandates and regulations actually contributed to the cost of healthcare.  True reform will not come from a bureaucrat’s pen.  True affordable healthcare will come from competition and the patient playing an active role in a cost/benefit analysis.  Insurance was meant to cover catastrophes, not pap smears and prostate exams.

A man from Montana found out just how affordable a knee replacement can be when he bypassed his government mandated insurance company.  Here is an excerpt from Time:

When Art Villa found out, after one too many boating accidents, that he needed a total knee replacement, he began asking around to see how much it would cost. The hospital near his home in Helena, Mont., would charge $40,000 for the procedure, he says. But that didn't include the anesthesiologist's fee, physical therapy or a stay at a rehabilitation center afterward. A 2015 Blue Cross Blue Shield study found that one hospital in Dallas billed $16,772 for a knee replacement while another in the same area charged $61,585.

It was in the midst of this confounding research that Villa, who's 68, heard about the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, whose business model is different from that of most hospitals. There, the all-inclusive price for every operation is listed on the website. A rotator-cuff repair for the shoulder costs $8,260. A surgical procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome is $2,750. Setting and casting a basic broken leg: $1,925

What did this knee replacement cost Mr. Villa?

To Villa, the model seemed refreshingly subversive. The Surgery Center would charge $19,000 for his whole-knee replacement, a discount of nearly 50% on what Villa expected to be charged at his local hospital. And that price would include everything from airfare to the organization's only facility, in Oklahoma City, to medications and physical therapy. If unforeseen complications arose during or after the procedure, the Surgery Center would cover those costs. Villa wouldn't see another bill.

Can you imagine what the cost would be if there was competition?  This is true healthcare reform.  This is how to achieve affordable healthcare.


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