A CHANCE TO COMPARE, A HIP STORY

In their 7/7/2015 Op-Ed “The Coming Shock in Health-Care Cost Increases”  Ezekiel Emanuel, one of the guiding forces behind the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and Tophor Spiro state:

Still, most analysts expect that the growth in health-care costs will rise without further action. And the latest data from the Census Bureau indicate this acceleration may be starting. The country is at an inflection point: Will we let our foot off the brakes, or will we permanently bend the cost curve?

Just a few years in and not fully implemented, The Affordable Care proponents are out giving dire warnings of uncontrolled rise in heath-care costs. Isn’t this exactly what the ACA’s opponents predicted?  Ah, Emanuel & Tophor have come up with a solution:

 Before it is too late, the Obama administration must focus on a reform that can be scaled. Medicare should lump together physician services, hospital costs, tests, medical devices, drugs and rehabilitation services related to common ailments—such as broken hips, heart stents and cancer treatments—into a bundle. It could then pay a medical provider a discounted amount for the whole array of services.

Wow, what a discovery!  Imagine common procedures sold as package or bundle at an all inclusive price. Why hasn’t anyone ever thought of this before?  Oh wait, in areas not commonly covered by insurance or government programs, package pricing has been the norm.  For instance, Cosmetic surgery, Lasik and many dental procedures  are ones that people pay for out of their own pockets  and are regularly priced as a package.  Google Lasik or breast augmentation and you’ll have offers covering what the whole procedure will cost.  Even if you were going to pay yourself for a hip replacement or stents by Medical Tourism, you’d be offered a package price covering everything often including transportation.  More importantly the cost history of any of these compares very favorably to areas where the Government and insurance companies dominate.  Taking inflation into consideration Lasik has had hardly had a price increase.  The same seems to b true of breast augmentation surgery.

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