I must admit, I have some reservations about Kelly Ayotte. With that being said, her op-ed in today’s Manchester Union Leader is fantastic. Here is the link.
Among the highlights:
We should start with medical malpractice reform to reduce frivolous lawsuits. In underserved areas, the threat of these lawsuits has forced doctors out of practice, and this is especially true for obstetricians.
This needs no further commenting.
We should look more seriously at wellness programs that provide economic incentives for people to live healthy lives and use preventive care programs that have been implemented successfully by many large companies.
My current insurance pays for a portion of my gym membership. My company is instituting a smoker’s surcharge on our insurance premiums for the upcoming year. While I have the knee-jerk reaction of intrusion into lifestyles by outside entities, I think there is merit to rewarding behavior that helps in driving down costs.
Transparency in the cost of services:
We need more transparency in our health care system. Health care is one of the only services we purchase where it is tremendously difficult to compare the prices of procedures and to obtain reliable information on quality. Consumers should have access to better information on the costs and quality of health care so they can make informed decisions about their own care.
Ask anyone how much their last doctor visit cost, not the copay, the actual visit. Most wouldn’t be able to tell you. We have become removed from the cost because of the way health insurance works. We go, pay our copay, and go home completely oblivious to the true cost.
We need to improve the efficiency and delivery of care with electronic medical records and better coordination of care.
I’ll buy that.
Purchasing in the open market:
We should allow small businesses to form a pool to purchase health insurance together.
Finally, we should allow the purchase of insurance across state lines.
I support state’s rights. However in this case we need to get rid of the over regulation by states. This market is so burdened by state regulations that we only have a few providers for each state. Competition in the open market would help this dramatically. Look at the car insurance industry. We need cut throat competition like that for health insurance.