Blaming the problems in American healthcare solely on issues of coverage is missing the point. Costs of healthcare services have spiraled out of control.
Everyone has a different idea about how to fix healthcare in America — but there is little debate that yes, it needs fixing. The system as it currently stands is broken, and everyone is worse off for it: patients, doctors, hospitals, and insurers all have their hands tied to some degree and are forced to play a game with unfair rules.
The common narrative is that people in this country are lacking good access to healthcare. Another way of putting that is that we supposedly have an issue of coverage in America. This idea makes sense if you accept the realities of the insurance industry as an unmovable fact of life from which we all must operate under. But in reality, the “root” of the problem, as Forbes recently asserted, isn’t access at all — it’s cost.
When the cost of absolutely everything related to your healthcare (as well as the drugs and physical products associated with your treatment) is inflated to the point of absurdity, of course there will be issues trying to provide coverage for these insanely exorbitant costs. At that point, it’s like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, the insanely bloated costs being passed around like so many cells on a spreadsheet. Eventually, these dangerous fiscal practices can and will torpedo our entire healthcare system.
One thing is abundantly clear: the way the system currently stands puts the patient as the least important part of the entire healthcare food chain. It’s why, as Forbes notes, a hip replacement in America costs north of $40,000, while in Spain the same procedure ends up being a little under $8,000. Doctor’s fees add up to a measly 8 cents out of every dollar spent on health services in the USA. This unsustainable model is enriching the wrong people and must be entirely re-thought.
What if the middle-man was removed entirely, and the average patient had complete transparency about where the money they spent on healthcare was going? What if the artificial inflation associated with healthcare in America was slashed down to the cost of services plus reasonable doctor’s fees? In that scenario, it might actually be affordable for patients to simply pay for their care out-of-pocket, as the system wouldn’t be attempting to gouge them, and doctors would be able to charge extremely reasonable prices without having to surrender huge payments to the insurance industry.
Over the next several months, we’ll be examining this issue in more detail, and we hope you follow along as we attempt to unravel the problems with paying for healthcare as it currently stands in California.