So, what is the solution?
There will never be anything close to a simple, straight-forward solution to an issue as complex and multi-faceted as affordable healthcare. There are simply too many competing forces for one solution to possibly address. Perhaps the closest thing to a solution lies in applying several, proven, cost reducing strategies at once. The idea being that if we apply enough sustained pressure, using multiple cost reducing concepts, we can slow the spiraling trajectory – and eventually stop and reverse it.
A few price cutting strategies.
When it comes to health insurance, for the most part, profit increases with volume. There is an inherent problem when there is a financial incentive associated with having more patients, or performing more procedures. Health care in the U.S. doesn't work so well without profit incentive, however, perhaps we can explore better ways to get there. There are new healthcare industry models, that rather than volume, place more financial impetus on keeping their patients healthy. AM Better, a health insurance HMO company actually pays cash incentives to subscribers that complete certain simple health oriented tasks - such as getting an annual physical, or completing an online wellness questionnaire. The jury is still out, however the initial indications are promising.
Better use of technology.
Improvements in medical technology can help stem the tide. For example, laparoscopic surgery, using miniature digital video cameras and electronic tools, make it possible to perform major procedures with surprisingly small incisions. The result is quicker recovery times and shorter hospital stays when compared with traditional surgery.
Another concept that is rapidly advancing in the health insurance industry is Telemedicine. Telemedicine services allow patients to talk to their doctors by phone or video, saving an enormous amount of time and expense for both physician and patient. Biosensors make it possible for doctors to monitor patients who are at home, reading their blood pressure, glucose level and electrocardiogram in real time, and initiating treatment before a condition becomes serious.
A myriad of cost saving concepts are out there, and more are on the immediate horizon. With coordinated leadership and a commitment to "keep our eyes on the ball", The U.S. can solve its healthcare financial crisis.
Interesting Article: The U.S. Spends More on Health Care Than Any Other Country (Part 1).
Interesting Article: The U.S. Spends More on Health Care Than Any Other Country (Part 2).
Interesting Article: Medicare Supplement benefit changes for 2019