re: Why Healthcare Cost Reports Fail Consumers
The problem is that consumers have often no real choice in selecting providers. A doctor needs to be in network to be reasonably affordable to consumers. That means that the pay the doctor gets is dependent on contract with the insurance company. There isn't much the consumer can do about.
In emergency situations consumers pick the first hospital they can find and that hospital will put the doctor, lab tech, etc. that are working right now on that case. Should consumers debate with the hospital admins which specialist to employ while suffering heart failure?
The big flaw in the current and upcoming system is that the consumer has no choice in which insurance plan to buy. It is up to the employers to decide how much they feel they want to spend and how well that coverage needs to be in order to attract and retain talent, just like any other perk and benefit.
Consumers should be mandated to buy an insurance plan, but then have the right to pick whichever plan they want. Insurance companies will no longer sell to employers, but directly to consumers and that nationwide if they choose to do so. That way consumers have more choice, there is more competition, insurance companies are forced to sign more doctors, labs, and hospitals, and risk is much easier to spread for everyone. At the same time the local, state, and federal governments are allowed to operate as insurance providers, mainly with the intent to provide insurance for those who cannot afford it on the open market as well as for their own employees. Additionally, we need a cap on what a premium can be. Everyone has to operate at or below that level. Other countries do exactly that and they offer quality health care while significantly reigning in the cost of care.