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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Biggest factor in rising health costs are the doctors themselves

Editorial in Dallas Morning News (by a doctor), details why health care costs to much (in part) - doctors order too many tests.

The two reasons for this are that 1)they don't "want to miss anything" (malpractice lawsuits playing a major role) and 2)"they can" - and often are financial rewarded for doing so.

Of course, the predominance of third-party payers and lack of consumer control over their health care dollars allows and encourages this - driving up the costs of health care.


Dummy Doc said...

Pop Quiz: Would you rather pay $41 or $25 for the same flu shot?

This was the dilemma I faced the other day. With insurance, my co-pay would have been $41. Without insurance, my cost was $25. I only found this out because I asked what the cash price would be...now, why wouldn't the doctor's office have just said, "You'll want to pay cash for this because its cheaper than using insurance." This is just one example where the docs are driving up our health care costs unnecessarily.

Anonymous said...

According to most medical insurers' contracts with providers, they stipulate that the provider cannot charge the public less than they charge the insurance company. So, your doctor is wrong in allowing his office to give you a cheaper price. This is also in the state provisions for Pennsylvania Medical Assistance and perhaps Medicare (?). You must charge EVERYONE the same "UCR" [usual, customary & reasonable], which makes sense. It's not fair to charge me $5, but the guy down the street only $1 because you know him. Lastly, I don't know but would like to know, if the doctor can offer a discount for cash payment upfront (because it is lowering his administrative costs by doing so) - now that is something that I feel is fair!

Stan Alekna said...

The major factors contributing to unnecesarily high and continually increasing costs of medical care are fraud, medical errors, medical malpractice, state insurance mandates, and lack of required quality assurance programs for all providers. If these problems were addressed, medical costs and health insurance could be reduced by 50% or more. Our legislators refuse to take on the special interests in the health care system because of significant contributions they receive from them. The end result will be national universal health care and the rapid destruction of the finest health care system in the world.

Big Med said...

Not only do they order extra tests, but they do lots of extra procedures. And yes, they get extra pay for extra procedures. It's bad enough when this just costs money, but in some cases it is also damaging folks or ending lives.

If you folks think things run by contracts with insurers, get your head out of the sand. Things are run to maximize the income of doctors and administrators contracts under their employment contracts.