Updated: Jul 7
What do you think of the healthcare system in the country? For one, we are sure you would tell it's far from ideal. And it is so- there is so much that we need to work on to bring uniformity to healthcare and ensure proper medical attention to all.
And yet, we have so much going on in the healthcare scene that, at times, it does get confusing!
Universal healthcare, a single-payer system, Government-run health plans- everything is great and idealistic but is it practical for the US healthcare scenario?
Let's explore the Big Picture
The US Healthcare Scenario and its Problems
As much as we have citizens who need healthcare, there are also many political and personal gains. We are spending trillions of dollars on healthcare but without any significant outcome.
The American medical system featured at the last of an 11-country list based on performance while spending more than them. Countries like New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Canada, and others were ahead of the USA in the finding.
Healthcare coverage is also not working out the way it is supposed to. Insurance companies are monopolizing the reimbursement models by limiting them within the regulations of state boundaries. They also manipulate authorization and don't cover many procedures and medications. Skyrocketing drug prices have worsened as they are not covered as advertised on television.
The Commonwealth Fund found that American doctors spend an abnormal amount of time delivering the treatment and medicines included under a patient's coverage.
Patients as the New Age Consumers
In the modern era of smartphones and the internet, healthcare has been invaded by the consumer mentality and high expectations. We are not ready to accept what is given to us; instead, we want what we want promptly!
Some of us are trying to address the concern by promoting a performance-based reimbursement model. We ask our patients to fill out post-visit surveys, but do they achieve anything? We get the feedback but aren't able to provide more options and choices to our patients. It leaves many unanswered questions-
· Can a single-payer system or universal healthcare overcome the issues?
· Will forcing taxpayers to help maintain the timely delivery of care?
· Will the government be able to harness drug prices and control them?
It's like Opening a Can of Worms!
Once we open the can of healthcare, problems pour out like worms that will take generations to address. To begin with, we have a political system that many believe provides the opportunity for the rich and powerful while restraining those who are talented but weak. The Commonwealth Fund found that America has inequality in healthcare between the rich and the poor and affordability. On the same grounds, direct medication coverage by Medicare is not practical for our country!
A single-payer system may not be the answer to all the problems. Countries that adopt the single-payer system implement governmental control on pricing and delivery. Will our government be able to do the same? If not, then all decisions will need the Supreme Court's intervention, and most of them will die an early death without ever being realized! That will make the system imperfect, worse than the broken one we currently have.
The single-payer also brings other problems- what will happen to the pharmacy ads? Will we be able to choose our preferences as consumers? What will be made out of patient satisfaction survey results? What about the satisfaction of the physician and quality reimbursement models? Will the government be able to provide enough premiums to cover all healthcare costs? How do we know how much money is enough?
Controlled Healthcare goes Hand in Hand with Medical Supply and Medication Cost Model.
Interestingly, the list of countries we are talking about is topped by the Netherlands, a private insurance industry heavily regulated and subsidized by the government. The process is also not as complicated as in the US, where doctors and patients spend considerable time and effort on formalities.
We need a fair and honest competitive market for the best healthcare outcome. We cannot eliminate competition as it will only open the can of worms! Physicians don't care who pays them; they focus more on quality care. If we are to provide full coverage, everyone should have access to quality healthcare and minimal healthcare. We need a healthcare system that people who pass them will be ready to use if we pay for it.
One can never equate universal healthcare with healthcare coverage for all. There is a process of implementing proper universal healthcare, which involves developing fitting strategies and empowering citizens with suitable technologies with forward-looking healthcare policies. We cannot depend on old and ineffective solutions that have failed repeatedly in the case of other experienced countries. The new laws can reduce insurance coverage for each patient, which will hamper his access to primary care and make the situation worse than it already is.
We should focus on our resources rather than trying to improve what others have. The current discussions around single-payer systems only create too much conflict of interests and constitutional questions for all of us! Do we want to walk that path?
Let us look forward to healthcare that extends to all independent practice models and bring democratization and equality. We have spent enough time under a system that promotes bureaucratization and dictation. We must strive to get all the citizens under coverage and treat them like public utilities.