Tuesday, June 03, 2008

National HealthCare: An Excellent Question

Found on 'The OTHER McCain's' blogsite:

Take, for example, proposals for universal health care. We are told that the annual cost will be X-billion dollars. But that estimate is based on current rates of utilization of health care. What will the utilization become when health care is "free"? What will happen when people develop an entitlement mentality about health care?

Which should have a lot of cachet in SE Wisconsin, which leads the universe in health-care costs, largely due to the old BlueCross/BlueShield model (for you youngsters, that model was "free.")

4 comments:

discalcedyooper said...

I don't know about you, but I was planning on getting radiation once we get universal healthcare. No, I don't have cancer, but I thought I would get it anyway. Admittedly, no radiation facility will presently give me radiation treatment without a doctor's referal, but I'm sure everything will change once the government is paying the bill. On a less sarcastic note, if someone is going to draw up a slippery slope, it helps to define how one is going to start down that slope. Specific to this case, one would have to establish that a significant portion (in price) of care is discretionary - there is some wiggle room here, but I would think usual and customary would be a decent standard - and the degree to which people would seek it out more.

In Eastern Europe, many of the apartment buidling didn't have electric meters, even the buildings themselves didn't. Metering reduced usage by about 1/3. Heck, you probably remember when folks didn't have water meters. There are limits to what people will use for free. There are even tighter limits on what people will use when they know they are paying indirectly. In health care, a large number of the benefits require an explicit doctor referral before care commences. As we have known for a while, the doctor has the greatest ability to reduce costs throughout the health care system because he/she is the gatekeeper to most of it.

Dad29 said...

And as we also know from experience (not from hypothesis,) doctor-ordered tests and lawsuit-prevention procs continue to increase daily.

Your "decreased usage" scenario will work if and only if docs are told to reduce treatment.

discalcedyooper said...

And as we also know from experience (not from hypothesis,) doctor-ordered tests and lawsuit-prevention procs continue to increase daily.

Anecdotes don't equal data. Ever attempt to quantify this has failed to show a correlation.

Dad29 said...

All of SE Wisconsin is the correlation, although SOME of the pricing around here is due to the oligopoly-hospitals (led by Aurora.)

The legacy-BlueCross models plus the oligopoly have made this area THE most expensive health-care market in the USA.