Healthcare Experiment Worth Tracking

“A year ago, Montana opened the nation’s first clinic for free primary healthcare services to its state government employees. The Helena, Mont., clinic was pitched as a way to improve overall employee health, but the idea has faced its fair share of political opposition.

A year later, the state says the clinic is already saving money.”

Uh oh…..  here comes that “socialized medicine” that we’ve heard so much about.  The funny thing is, this “government takeover” of health care does not resemble the PPACA, or Obamacare, in any shape, form, or fashion.  While the PPACA basically prostitutes all Americans to the insurance companies, the State of Montana actually opened and funded a free clinic for state employees.  The result of that is the state saved $1.5 million in health care costs.

Montana basically flipped the script on healthcare.  Instead of using a fee-for-service model in the clinic, the doctors are paid by the hour.  Also, the state is able to negotiate supplies at a lower cost.  Add the removal of the mark up from the middle man, i.e. insurance company, and Montana has shown how savings can be achieved while still providing a base level of quality health care.

Personally, I do not care for the PPACA as it was passed and signed into law, hence my thoughts on us all being prostituted out by our government.  If it were my idea to write the legislation to address health care reform to lower costs, I would have gone in a different direction and used a hybrid system.  Instead of going full public healthcare or full private health care, I think we should have incorporated them into a system to take advantage of their strengths.

For basic and routine care, I would suggest using clinics like Montana has set up for its state employees using a single-payer style.  There are already clinics set up in states and counties all across the country to accommodate the number of patients that would need to be taken care of.  I would even give private practice general offices an option to join into the system at this level.  Use the power of the government to negotiate low costs for supplies and equipment.  Using a pay by hour method could eliminate a great deal of unnecessary procedures as well.

As far as staffing the clinics, I would give medical students and recent grads an option to do so many years of work in the clinics and offer an offset on student loans as a reward based on the number of years they work in the clinics.  This gives you a continuous stream of doctors to avoid shortages as well as it gives them practical field work to boost their skills and knowledge.  If they decide they want to specialize in surgery or something, then they could go back to school and study their chosen specialty with less debt on their back.

On the other side of the table, I would still use the current system for emergency, cosmetic, and long-term procedures.  I would leave the insurance system in place which would return insurance to what it’s truly intended for, catastrophic coverage.  In addition to the insurance companies, I would add a public option to provide comparable coverage to help keep costs from being unnecessarily jacked up to pad profits.  Further cost reductions could be achieved by removing the uninsured and routine care people from emergency rooms.  I would also leave specialists in this category as they would not really provide general basic care.  Doctors, who have done time on the clinical side, could progress to this side in order to earn more or start up a practice of their own.  This way, you have experienced and capable doctors where they are needed most.

I know it’s just a pipe dream as this country’s political climate is split worse than a rabid squirrel suffering with multiple personality disorder, but that’s my idea of a sound health care system.  Since I won’t see my idea come to fruition, I will sit back and watch Montana show the other states how things get done.  Instead of talking about making plans, you have to formulate plans and put them into action.


2 thoughts on “Healthcare Experiment Worth Tracking

  1. I absolutely agree the ACA was every bit as big a gift to health insurance companies as the one W intended to offer stockbrokers by privatizing Social Security. It absolutely boggles my mind that conservatives insist on calling Obama a socialist, when so far Obama’s every action has been to strengthen businesses.They’re also very big on pointing to all those surveys saying a majority of Americans don’t like the ACA, apparently without once considering some of those numbers come from people like me who don’t think the ACA goes nearly far enough. (I guess it’s a clear indication of the degree to which the ACA is a compromise program when both ends of the spectrum dislike it.)

    I like some elements of your plan, but I’m afraid it doesn’t address what I think is the biggest driver in the cost of medical care: profit. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the explosive growth in health care costs over the past few decades has coincided with the extraordinary conversion of hospitals and health insurance companies from not-for-profit status to for-profit status. I think that’s what really sets our system apart from health care systems in other countries, and not in a good way. The only way I see to end this is to go to a single payer system and drive the profit out. The rule in health care ought to be that you don’t touch the money if you don’t touch the patient. (Obviously, I don’t mean that literally; hospitals still need to pay janitors and lab techs, pharma companies need to pay chemists. But there shouldn’t be investors raking theirs off the top when someone is suffering from an illness.)


    • I would prefer a non-profit health care system as I think that it’s immoral to try to profit from somebody’s health or illness. I’m also a realist. I don’t think we’ll ever return to an exclusive non-profit system. That’s why I think we’d best be served by a dual purpose system.

      Most of the issues come from primary care, and I think you’ll eliminate most of the profit mark up by moving that to a not-for-profit system. Other areas could remain in the for profit system, but adding a public option would hopefully keep things from spiraling out of control.

      If I knew the complete answer to solve our problems, I’d be in DC already writing the legislation msyelf. 🙂


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