Controlling rising health care costs has become a source of great interest to many people around the country. This is regardless of their socioeconomic classification or ability to pay for such health care. What’s for sure is a lot of conversation is taking place over the matter of health care reform and what can be done to control increases in the cost of medical care, which is outpacing inflation.
Generally, there are a number of reasons for why the cost of medical care seems to be such a difficult thing to control. Socially, many citizens have grown used to comprehensive health insurance policies and medical treatment regimens that have led to a problem with supply and demand in some parts of the country. The distortion of the supply curve is a result of this issue.
A number of health policy experts believe that many of the problems inherent in controlling rising health care costs can be addressed through implementation of a relatively small number of policy changes. Firstly, enabling legislation that reforms lawsuits brought against healthcare providers would be a good first step.
However, this proposition is seen as being difficult to accomplish due to constitutional reasons and also the power of trial attorneys as a lobbying group. Another way to gain quick control is to allow health insurance companies to sell policies in every state. Right now, each of the states has their own rules for the sale and regulation of health insurance coverage.
Because each state regulates health insurance differently, the markets have become distorted and competition is artificially constrained. This has resulted in wildly different costs for a health insurance policy from one state to another. Allowing insurers to compete head-to-head could lead to price drops. Also, placing patients into appropriate coverage pools within those policies could also work.
Lawmakers and policy experts in the different states also must accept some of the blame. This is because many lawmakers tend to try to force insurers to offer extremely comprehensive policies regardless of a particular customer’s wants or desires for certain coverage within each individual policy. This raises costs across the board, and eliminates an environment where — as in auto insurance — a customer can pick and choose certain coverage aspects.
Overall, controlling rising health care costs is becoming more and more important as the debate over health care reform rages on across the country. Certainly, there are a number of relatively easy fixes that could lead to immediate drops in the overall cost of health care, which is sure to comfort a family staring at a large health insurance bill these days.
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