The Key to Healthcare Cost Reduction is at the Micro Level, Opines Second Opinion Dental

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Patients can reduce healthcare costs as government cannot.

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Power to the Patient

This new perspective originates in dentistry, but Second Opinion Dental suggests that their free-market concept for the reduction of healthcare costs applies to both medical and dental care.
The core problem: European countries spend around 7% of GDP on healthcare. In the US healthcare is a favored industry and we spend twice that, but we do not get twice the benefit. The obesity epidemic obviously extends into the healthcare industry itself.
A government solution has been suggested. That would be the obese guiding the obese, but it is well established that government is a poor manager. Bridges to nowhere, trains to nowhere, fantasy budget numbers, or no budget at all. Politicians of recent years seem to serve the interests of their people rather than the people, and that corrupts their performance. Government-run healthcare would be destined to go the way of roads, bridges, schools, welfare, and on.....

A top-down government approach would be unfortunate. There is a better solution: Power to the patient. American consumers (patients) are smart shoppers when they're allowed to be. Give them reliable technical assistance and that will empower the patient to better control their own care.

"Technical assistance" above does not mean half-measures like telephone consultations, neighbor referrals, or internet libraries. It means no less than a visit to an impartial doctor for a second opinion. "Impartial" because that consulting doctor would have no economic reward or incentive in his or her diagnosis or recommendations. The doctor cannot define his own work load. Our experience with this model in dentistry shows that cost reductions ensue and that they can be substantial. It is clinicians finding savings that actuaries cannot.    

One other, additional change is needed however. Patients cannot be properly smart shoppers if there are restrictions on where they can shop. Preferred provider situations should be phased out. One is not forced to go with a preferred provider to make use of auto insurance if you need bodywork (automotive). However you are often forced to use a preferred provider to use your health insurance if you need body-work (human). Remove this market impediment and let the patient shop.

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Ken Hajek
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