Health Care, Stop Using: Insurance, Market, and Quality (Part 1 of 2)

Andy Oram | EMR & HIPAA | August 22, 2016

The Affordable Care Act made some symbolic gestures toward a recognition that modern health care should embrace prevention and wellness. For instance, it eliminated copays for preventative visits. The insurance companies took that wording very literally: if you dare to bring up an actual medical problem during your preventative visit, they charge you a copay. Yet the “preventative” part of the visit usually consists of a lecture to stop smoking and go on the Mediterranean diet...

Andy Oram

The misconception of health care as a market came to a head in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Presumably, millions of “young invincibles” were avoiding health insurance because of the cost.
The individual mandate, combined with affordable plans on health care exchanges, would bring them flooding into the insurance system, lowering
costs for everyone and balancing the burden created by the many sick people who we knew would join. And yet now we have stubbornly rising health care rates, deductibles, and caps, along with new costs in the states where Medicaid expanded Where did this all fall apart?

Ultimately, until we get behavioral health in place for everybody, health care costs will continue to rise and we won’t realize the promise of near-universal coverage. Many health care activists–especially during the recent political primary season–call for a single-payer system, which certainly would introduce many efficiencies. But it doesn’t solve the problems of chronic conditions and unhealthy lifestyles–that will require policy action on levels ranging from improvements in air cleanliness to new opportunities for isolated individuals to socialize.  Meanwhile, we still have to look at the notion of quality in tomorrow’s post...