An Expensive Arms Race
No, not nuclear arms, nor even conventional weaponry. In fact, nothing about the military industrial complex. Rather, the medical industrial complex has an arms race which is costing us big time. This was covered by American Public Media Marketplace (http://www.marketplace.org/topics/life/health-care/battle-over-billing-c...). Excerpts:
There are two main things that happen when you go to the doctor. You get your exam or check-up or treatment for whatever ails you. And there's a bunch of paperwork. Some that you do before you get seen -- histories, allergies -- and some the doctor does afterward. Usually a piece of paper with a bunch of numbers on it. Procedure codes. You probably don't pay much attention to 'em. No reason you should. But they're the very heart of the way we do health care because every one of 'em has a dollar amount attached.
It's like a code war between doctors and insurance companies. And the hotter this war gets, the more it costs... us. Our premiums and taxes pay for the coding gurus and soldiers on each side. There are now 2.2 people doing billing for every one doctor in America.
That back and forth -- you'd know this if you've ever been caught up in it -- means reams of extra paperwork and referrals and authorizations and denials and appeals and this costs an extra $360 billion a year. That's according to the Institute of Medicine.
Take a few minutes and listen to this brief radio piece documenting the intense bureaucratic warfare that characterizes the modern American health insurance business model. Note that the physician featured in this piece employs his entire family in the endless search for reimbursement. No wonder overhead in health care delivery is overtaking everything else. This is the inefficiency waste that has been repeatedly featured on this blog and website. Any proposal, such as Obama-Care, for health system reform which does not directly attack this massive waste will fail to reform anything useful. We can not afford this stupid approach to health care financing. Real reform means really changing the way we do business. Help the Utah Healthcare Initiative do away with this nonsense. Become a fan on Facebook. Use the website to make a PayPal donation. Invite a UHI speaker to your community organization. Do something, or be overwhelmed with health system waste.
Dr. Joe Jarvis