Friday, June 21, 2013

Health Care Costs: Whose Fault?

In a recent article in Becker's one of the current contenders for Governor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes some rather extreme statements in my opinion.

They state:

The failure of the healthcare system stems from six main areas of waste, Dr. Berwick said: overtreatment, failures to coordinate care, failures in care delivery, excessive administrative costs, excessive healthcare prices and fraud and abuse.

Now let us examine this a bit.

 1. At no time does he put any blame on the patient. Obesity, smoking, diet, sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, and the list goes on are all self inflicted causes of chronic and costly disease. We can estimate the costs quite well but in the mind of this person in my opinion only Government can remedy this with more care not better behavior and personal responsibility.

2. Excessive health care costs are a bit confusing since 20% of health care is Medicare which as a monopsonist sets the price. Insurance companies also have such power. No physician ever collects what they say the costs are.

3. Failures are perhaps a human condition, but through better process are controllable. So what does he suggest? Never seem to get an answer.

4. Administrative costs? Ever try to deal with they Government, they are the cause NOT the solution.

The article also states:

"We live in a civilized and wealthy country," Dr. Berwick said. "We should make healthcare a human right."

A right? A costly right. Perhaps a right to privacy should come first. Also when rights like this are mandated by such as on high they often not only miss the mark but have very negative consequences, intended or not.