By GEORGE ROBERTSON, M.D.
Paying for your health care has become way too convoluted. In my boyhood days, if there was a problem you went to your family doctor and he took care of you for money in hand or a dozen eggs if you happened to be short on cash. If you had an emergency surgery and needed extra money for the hospital bill or to tide you over until you would be able to work again, your friendly banker would loan you the cash to keep everybody happy.
But those were the good old days when things weren’t as expensive.
Wouldn’t that type of system work today? What if everybody paid cash for primary care? Our present insurance system charges us $25 for every $100 we spend on routine doctor bills. Most people don’t need insurance for the routine minimal stuff. They only need insurance for the emergency or catastrophic condition. If everyone paid a little into a giant fund for this type of care, most of the health needs could be met easily and economically. The government could partner with big business and the wealthy to fund a pool of health care dollars for things like open-heart surgery, orthopedic surgery or brain surgery. Doctors wanting to participate in these services could then submit their bids for the job. That would decrease the big amounts paid to the super specialist. There would be a little more in administrative cost but not as much as we have now with the insurance companies.
Another problem that needs to be addressed is our emotions when dealing with health care for the elderly and special needs people. When I can no longer be productive and have no quality of life I should not be entitled to a total knee or hip replacement at $50,000 of our health care money.
If my child is born with the ability to eat and nothing else, it doesn’t make sense to me to send the best trained professors and physical therapists costing millions of dollars over the lifetime of the patient to get an extra 10 points of IQ or physical performance of the individual. (Remember I said to remove the emotions from the equation.)
In the future, logic will have to dictate health care expenses.
Editor’s Note: Robertson is a physician with Family Medical Associates, PC, in Lebanon.