Privatized grass is not greener

When people advocate a two-tier health care system or privatizing parts of our universal health care system, they conveniently forget an ugly side of health care economics.

With our current system we are watching costs soar. Governments, health care experts, professional organizations and those who have studied the system complain about the ever-increasing costs while services and outcomes decline. An aging population and all kinds of other conditions are blamed for this, but management and administration escapes study. They take the pay and perks accorded to those in charge, so why aren’t we demanding better outcomes? Why are they not held to account?

Those who advocate privatization as an option never discuss the upward movement in privatized costs. Health insurers, if they will accept you as a client, constantly raise their rates. And because this becomes a commercial enterprise, a fair level of dishonesty creeps into the care.

Some clients try to cheat their insurers. That raises costs and rates.

Some doctors and other health care providers try to pump up their bills – that raises costs and rates.

Some doctors and hospitals order unnecessary tests and procedures as either a way to boost the bill or circumvent later legal action. This also adds to costs and rates.

To control costs, insurers put pressure on clients (aka the patient) to forego treatments or accept less.

Take a look at this article published in London on Wednesday:

Health insurers are establishing anti-fraud operations.

Health insurers are increasing co-pays and decreasing deductibles.

Health insurers are increasing premiums by 10 percent a year.

Health insurers are asking clients/patients to take less, like sharing hospital rooms and going for more generic care.

Opening up our system to privatization is like unleashing the hell of Pandora’s Box. And why would we so drastically alter a system when a much more simple solution is available: change the management structure. That is the more prudent action. Change the administrative set up. If that doesn’t work, we can still consider the privatization route.

The only point to directly going for privatizing our health care system is to protect the jobs of an over-bloated, privileged executive class. That’s stupid. These people have had 12 years to deal with our problems and they have failed. Study after study shows the same old conditions persist.

Here’s a link to the latest Canadian study, published Tuesday:

Patients are not being treated in a timely manner. Our outcomes are not any better. There is no cost containment. There’s just cutback after cutback to patient care.

Our system is broken, so let’s fix it. U.S president Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk which read: The buck stops here. All our administrators do is pass the buck. We have people who claim to be in charge, but question their actions and decisions and you quickly find no one is responsible for anything. Let’s bring responsibility and accountability back and maybe then we’ll have some positive outcomes. But it ain’t happening now, not the way we’re organized, and not with this crowd.

The grass is not greener on a privatized lawn.

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2 Responses to Privatized grass is not greener

  1. Honker says:

    The grass can be much greener on a private but competitive lawn. There is nothing to lose and much to gain by involving the private sector in public healthcare delivery. Local administrative management in the private sector is far more efficient. Just look at Scotia Surgery for example. You have to remember that most bureaucrats are paid on the basis of the amount of budget they control and the amount of people who report directly and indirectly to them. In other words make your empire as big and expensive as possible because this will raise your pay level. Nobody in government gets rewarded for doing more for less, productivity and efficiency are frowned upon, make the budget and staff as big as possible, that’s the key.

    • Thank you. I’ve been going through the health care websites for the last few hours, reviewing numbers. I’ll be posting in a few hours.

      It’s fascinating that this information was released now. It’s very typical of government to act on controversial information around a holiday or in a slow news period. Obviously, the idea to release this in the middle of summer was to make it old news by the time the deadline rolled around.

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