A More Efficient Medical System

I was going to call this “Brooklyn Bridge Still for Sale”, but thought that I might be besieged with offers so I changed it to the more prosaic one above. Our troubles with the high cost of medical have been solved. The American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and the American Hospital Association are going to reduce medical costs by 1.5%. This will save $2 trillion over the next 10 years, ie $200 billion a year (which used to be a lot of money). How? The cost savings would be achieved through steps such as streamlining paperwork and changing the way hospitals deliver and bill for services to patients. If it’s so easy why haven’t they done so sooner? Seems pretty simple, just shuffle a few papers around an voila you’ve got an extra $3 trillion so spend on funding a new government run medical system. We probably should put a few administrators in the dock for keeping this easy solution hidden all these years. We can put them in the same jail as the lawyers who wrote the torture memos.

Well, you may have to fiddle with the inheritance tax or death tax depending on whether you look left or right and whether it might affect you or not. The New York Times says a change (that means increase) in inheritance tax will be proposed to pay for the new medical system. Also factored in are savings in Medicare. I was worried that savings here meant rationing, but the AMA, et al will prevent that by making medical providers  more efficient. Pretty good for an organization that represents less than 15% of practicing physicians in the US.

What’s noteworthy is that the credulous press swallows this whole. They really believe what they’re being told. They think that our medical system can easily be streamlined. That we can provide more care at less cost and without causing anyone any discomfort. The current economic dyspepsia should enlighten all about the prospect of getting more for less. But experience is the worst teacher.

Of course if medical costs don’t come down at the same time we insure 47 million new people we know who to blame. All of these improvements should be good news for Medicare which is in desperate financial trouble. Last year, “Medicare’s costs were equal to 3.2% of GDP. But they’re projected to soar to 11.4% by 2083. [Its} trustees estimate that the 2.9% of worker’s wages dedicated to Medicare today would have to rise to 6.78%. Or Medicare’s outlays would need to be reduced by 53%.” Think carefully about how we are going to fix this problem without pain. After that dolorous exercise revisit medical reform with a cool eye.

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2 Responses to A More Efficient Medical System

  1. Medicare Beneficiary says:

    Obama is on to something!
    Let me share:
    On are recent trip to the emergency room ( it was too early in the morning to go the Dr’s office) to treat a painful cinder in the eye I received a thorough eye irrigation with saline solution dispensed by a nurse practitioner, for about ten minutes and was discharged. Problem was resolved!

    The hospital billed Medicare $2,727.00. Medicare approved and paid the full amount. I never saw a bill.

    When President Obama, Congress and the health-care establishment finish streamlining and thereby reducing the amount of increase in cost for the health-care system by 1.5% we can expect that similar emergency room procedures will be done at a greatly reduced cost,Say 1.5% less.

    In 10 years such treatment would only cost $4420 instead of $5118. A nearly 16% savings and clearly a bargain!

    Over time we will save trillions!

  2. Thanks for the comment. Look carefully at your Medicare provider’s statement about your visit to the ER. They likely paid the hospital a small fraction of what it billed. The hospital almost always writes off the difference. They charge so much because they’re afraid that their reimbursement will be lowered even more if they decrease their nominal charge.

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