In reply to your excellent article, Private-public mix a match, I am inclined to agree that business and government need to provide concerted leadership in healthcare. I have some ideas for what this might entail.
There needs to be a commitment from businesses of all sizes that healthcare is an important and necessary service that needs to be offered to all Americans. Ending discrimination by health insurers based on health status and forbidding hospitals from overcharging the uninsured are sorely needed reforms.
Government must cap all physician fee increases based on medical practice codes and reset them back to no higher than 50% above Medicare rates.
Laws should be enacted that prevent insurance companies from denying service to patients when doctors have prescribed such procedures to help prevent loss of life, reduce pain, reduce loss of limbs and prevent further potential of unhealthy outcomes.
I think government should establish an open-source standard for electronic medical records that could be adopted and used over the Internet by providers and pharmacies. Any healthcare service provider should be able to access a patients EMR and update it as necessary, with that patients approval.
I think government should provide incentives to hosts of retail clinics, where patients can be diagnosed for minor ailments and get preventive care such as flu shots.
The government should pay physicians and hospitals the Medicare rate to treat the unemployed uninsured. Employers that dont provide health insurance must pay into health savings accounts for their workers. In turn, the employee would pay out of pocket all copayments and clinic fees, which would be capped at $50 per episode of care. For medicine needed to take care of the chronically ill, the employee would be required to pay 75% of the cost and employers 25%, but the costs should be capped.
Finally, on care for the elderly, everyone needs to be part of the solution. The government could contribute half of the costs of long-term care, with insurance, individuals and the former employer paying a share.
Jeff RidingsHealthcare consultantNashville
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