The phenomenon of rising health care costs has been more and more in the news lately. It certainly is a matter of extreme interest to many people around the country these last several months, as has been amply demonstrated at a number of health care reform debates and legislator town halls. The concern over health care costs cuts across all socioeconomic and political affinity groups, too.
As a matter of interest, there are several reasons given as to why medical costs seem to be rising faster than inflation or other consumer indexes. For one, many people have come to expect the latest and greatest in medical technologies and other therapies which has caused a distortion in supply and a consequent rise in the cost of certain medical treatments and therapies.
Many experts who have studied health care administration and other facets of medicine believe that is possible to get control of rising health care costs through a few relatively simple legislative and policy changes. Most believe that some sort of lawsuit reform that can be implemented and that addresses suits brought against medical care providers could be a good first step.
Unfortunately, there are a number of constitutional questions about such a move, in addition to the fact that trial attorneys are very powerful contributors to various politicians and are themselves a very strong lobbying group. Another quick fix would be to allow health insurance companies to compete freely across the country without regard to state lines. Currently, the each state sets its own laws and rules for the regulation of health insurance.
And because each state regulates health insurance from a different perspective, it seems that unavoidable distortions in the market tend to occur and which have the effect of artificially depressing competition that could result in lower costs. For example, the cost of insurance in New York may be much higher than the cost of insurance in Wyoming. Allowing insurers to compete head-to-head seems to make a lot of sense.
Each of the states must also share in the blame, as legislators and others responsible for creating law have looked to forcing insurers to offer gold plated health insurance coverage regardless of the need for certain portions of such insurance policies by certain consumers. This tends to increase the cost of a health insurance policy across the whole group instead of where it belongs, which is on the individual purchaser of the insurance.
The phenomenon of rising healthcare costs shows no signs of going away anytime soon. For sure, it is becoming ever more crucial that some sort of reform of health care takes place sooner rather than later. Also for sure, there are a number of simple fixes that could result in appreciable drops in the cost of healthcare in both the short and long terms and which would gladden any family on a budget.
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