A BUG IN THE SYSTEM
by Janet A. Ginsburg
“Pricing health care? It’s not that easy” – that’s the headline in today's Chicago Tribune. The story outlines one of the more glaring Catch-22s of modern American health care, while deftly puncturing the myth of consumer choice.
It begins with the sad tale of Margaret Zilm, a Kansas City woman with a $5,000 deductible policy and a cataract in need of removal. Poor Margaret was spun in circles as she tried to shop around for a good deal. Doctors didn’t know how much her insurance company would pay. Her insurer refused to tell her. And the Missouri Department of Insurance hid behind a curtain of confidentiality, citing policy against revealing the details of doctor / insurer contracts.
As reporter Judith Graham notes:
“This wasn’t a problem until recently. Insurance used to cover most expenses, shielding people from the true cost of medical care. But new products – “consumer-driven health plans” – shift more financial responsibility to individuals and families, giving them a reason to pay more attention to what they’re spending.”“Consumer-driven health plans”? If anybody's being driven, it's consumers -- six million, so far -- who are forced by spiraling insurance premiums to accept these less-for-more, high-deductible plans. Rather than create a health care system designed to promote health – both individual and public health – we now have a tangle of secret deals wrapped in a free-market bow of consumer choice....
To read the full article, including info on using wildlife and pets for disease surveillance and in-store pharmacy clinics, go to the archives page at germtales.com
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