Monday December 8 | Talking with Your Healthcare Provider

December 5, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Coming Up | 1 Comment

Guest host Chris Clackum is back in the studio for a conversation about how to talk with your healthcare provider. Your questions and comments are welcome in the discussion to discover the best way to communicate with your doctor so that you can get the best possible care.
Cynthia King – Nursing Professor at Queens University of Charlotte and
Co-author, 100 Questions & Answers about Communicating with Your Healthcare Provider

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  1. Four seldom-mentioned factors that drive up healthcare cost are the following [and never mentioned on wfae]:

    1. College tuition costs. Doctors graduate saddled with exuberant college debt. And yet no one ever talks pinning price controls on ‘big college’. The deans are never hauled before congress to explain why an education costs 100k and what we get for that. They’re a sacred cow and are allowed to gauge.

    2. Malpractice insurance. No one stops to question how much of their doctor’s bill goes to the malpractice insurance premiums, but it is a very significant portion. This also influences the doctor’s advice to you for fear of liability exposure, in essence you may be getting incomplete or inaccurate information as a result. No discussion of universal/socialized medicine [whatever you want to call it] ever includes tort reform as a cost savings measure. Why? Because tort lawyers are a sacred cow and are allowed to gauge.

    3. The government itself. Chris and Mike like to infer the free market has failed medicine. But they do not look into how much the already-socialized components of care drive up cost. For instance, how much does your bill reflect HIPAA regulations and requirements? Every regulation is a tax that you end up paying. I’m not advocating for no regulation, but let’s be honest about the cost of them. The FDA also slows the free market adoption of drugs, new procedures, implants, etc. Also, the government mandates free emergency care to all. That’s fine, but let’s be honest about that cost to the paying public. No other industry gives away 40% of its product for free. Medicine does. A reason the number is that high and growing is because if you give something away for free, you incentivize more use of it. Especially with the millions of immigrant workers and growing. Someone must pay for that. You are.

    4. You are responsible for high costs. You, as the typical american, completely run roughshod over your own health. If you smoke, drink, and live irresponsibly, you should be held liable to the consequences and not your neighbor. Freedom means you are on your own.

    bonus item. As a consequence of our insurance industry [itself a direct result of our government putting in wage control restrictions on business in the 1950s, and they responded by offering subsidized insurance to attract talented workers] is that free market medicine is short circuited. You are concerned with your co-pay but past that you don’t care how much your care cost. And since you don’t care, you don’t question the validity of the tests, diagnoses, and medicines you are given. You don’t comparison-shop doctors because your out of pocket is the same regardless of which doctor you end up with. Lack of competition is a major malfunction to supply side economics. The lesson from this is that whenever government meddles in anything you will have unintended consequences.

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