In physics scientists seek to solve the mysteries of reality through mathematics, but if a solution involves a complicated convoluted mathematical equation, it’s generally assumed to be wrong. Often the right solution involves a simple elegant equation.
Healthcare in America is complicated, bureaucratic and expensive. I’m wondering if there’s a simpler solution to Obamacare. To be upfront, I’m a liberal and believe all people have a right to quality healthcare.
To simplify the problem to its most elegant equation I’ve wondered if we shouldn’t take a totally different approach to subsidized healthcare. I think the federal government should just build and run free hospitals and clinics. Instead of creating a complex reimbursement system, they should just hire doctors and nurses and provide absolutely free healthcare to those who don’t have insurance.
Today, most hospitals ask if you have insurance, and if you don’t, they send you away. These free hospitals would ask, and if you do, they’ll send you away.
The federal government should build a free HMO type system that works to bring down the cost of healthcare. It should use every trick in the book to save on costs, while maximizing preventive heath measures. Employ no remedies that aren’t effective. Tell all patients that their information will be used for statistical and scientific studies. This system size should give it clout to get cheaper drugs and equipment.
Much of the cost of healthcare is the bureaucracy to maintain it. If the government learned to build efficient hospitals and clinics, that hired medical professionals at salaries scaled to reward cost effective productivity, this system could compete with the commercial healthcare systems and help bring down the overall costs of healthcare.
We could keep all existing healthcare systems and just phase in this idea as an experiment. The new system should not contract with private contractors to do the job. The new system should aim to be minimalistic as an experiment in efficiency. The idea could be started by finding locations in the country with extremely high uninsured population and opening a hospital to test its impact. Be scientific. Don’t build the second hospital until the lessons are learned from the first.
Innovate with technology. Instead of having people wait in waiting rooms, use texting or phone messages. Develop online prescreening questioning. Push the concept of home medical monitoring. Create convenience shops for collecting blood, doing x-rays and other simply diagnostic procedures. Use computers like IBM’s Watson to analyze medical charts and test results, or even prescreen patients. Develop a universal healthcare record system that allows patients to record health diaries and drug use, along with any daily home monitoring, and their diet and exercise habits. Test the theory that diet can improve many medical conditions.
This concept should be an experiment in lowering healthcare costs. Do everything possible so that all money spent goes directly to actual healthcare and as little as possible to administrative costs. Start small and build on success.
JWH – 9/8/13