1) Cost control
2) Ensuring coverage for everyone, including portability and continuation of existing plans
3) More control in the hands of patients and physicians
As a side note, I will add my observation that pharmaceutical and research companies are currently rewarded only when they have the “big hit” of a discovery that has widespread appeal and use, such as something like Viagra and, apparently, something to help folks have fuller eyelashes.
The projections for healthcare as it is are ominous – costs will continue to rise. Along the way, insurance companies will continue to look for ways to cap their costs as well and sometimes that means limiting what and who they will cover.
As I look at this, it all comes down to costs. If costs can be controlled, more folks can have coverage and more power can return to patients and their doctors. And yet I see cost containment as conspicuously missing in the proposed reform. I will be the first to admit that I must be missing something though – and I hope that someone can point out to me what I am missing. Where is cost containment in the proposed reform?
I know that part of what is proposed is some way of increasing competition amongst insurance companies. The problem is, competition already exists and, if you increase competition too much, none of them make money, insurers start to pull out, and now you have decreased competition and an environment where costs can really begin to spiral. Simple economics.
I also have heard talk of trying to help smaller insurance buyers tap into larger group ratings. The money still has to come from someplace though so this just doesn’t make sense to me.
It still comes down to controlling costs.
I am not sure what our options are for controlling costs. Tort reform seems like a logical one but it has been talked about for almost 30 years now and the muckity mucks in DC are still too tied to attorneys to do anything about it. The time has come that something must be done now.
The other thing I see is let’s get the advertising out of the pharmaceutical business. Advertising pharmaceuticals just adds cost and encourages drug companies to only work on drugs that will be big widespread hits. Let’s eliminate advertising and encourage that some of our best research be done by smaller companies and (can’t believe I am saying it) government research facilities.
I don’t need to see advertisements on TV that make me think I need the latest drug out there. Let my doctor know and prescribe what is best for me. My doctor knows far better than I and the Madison Street bigwigs do.
Healthcare reform is not really reform if all we do is switch around where the dollars come from. Long term cost containment will not occur that way. Costs will keep spiralling out of control. Let’s instead look for ways of controlling costs and out of that create a system which works for all.