With the inevitable collapse of obamacare looming on the horizon, people are once again making the case for “healthcare reform”. Sadly, even the so-called experts are ignoring the best reform of all–transitioning back to, as far as possible, direct pay health care.
Once Upon A Time, Health Care WAS Affordable…
Those of us who grew up before the government got involved in health care remember “affordable care”. You paid your doctor cash. And for things that were expensive, you made payment arrangements. The indigent and the working poor had a wide variety of options, from sliding scale and free clinics to special funds that hospitals managed and funded through donations from individuals and from profits.
People weren’t being refused care for inability to pay, and they weren’t dying in the streets by the thousands either. And health insurance was a benefit that came to those who were proven “good employees”. Private health insurance was also reasonably priced, in real dollars, compared to what we have now.
Why Did Health Care Become So Expensive?
There are a few reasons for this, but the main cost drivers were lawyers and the government. Lawyers due to changes in medical malpractice laws that allowed for an increase in frivolous law suits and more out of court settlements, and the government through increased legislation and regulation of the healthcare industry.
Were things perfect before then? Nope. There were cases where people didn’t get necessary care, and where people fell through the cracks. But had we addressed those issues with free market based solutions rather than government regulation we would have been far better off than we are now.
Now, we have the most expensive health care in the world, and we have more people falling through the cracks. Now, instead of your general practitioner handling 90% of your health care, regulation and fear of lawsuits forces the GP to refer many cases to specialists for treatment rather than treating their patients themselves.
In the past, your primary care physician or GP would prescribe your pain medication, and take care of the vast majority of your healthcare. If you did get referred to a specialist, it was because something was seriously wrong. Now, a GP can’t diagnose asthma–he or she refers you to an expensive pulmonologist to confirm what they already know. Rather than prescribing Tylenol 3 for your arthritis, your GP must refer you to a pain management specialist. Instead of sending you directly to a testing facility to get a colonoscopy, and then to a gastroenterologist if the results come back looking odd, you have to go to the gastroenterologist first, then to the testing phase.
This, along with the horrific amount of coding doctors’ offices have to do just to get paid by an insurance company or the government, is one of the largest drivers of health care costs. The same group of people who ironically protested for the government to keep its laws out of the doctor’s office and “off my body”, are responsible for the crippling layer of bureaucracy that currently stands between the average person and quality, timely health care.
Time To Bring Back Affordable Health Care
In the following articles, we’ll be looking at some of the alternatives to obamacare that are available for everyone, not just “the 1%”. Because as it stands now, the government has, through over regulation, legislation, and interference, taken much of the privacy out of the doctor/patient relationship. More than that, the average healthy person is paying far more for health insurance than is necessary–and health insurance does NOT equal health care.
If you want actual health care, obamacare is far from the best answer. If you want to be able to develop a long term relationship with one doctor or a team of health care providers, then using insurance as it currently is sold isn’t the best option either. The best option is the oldest option around–direct pay health care.