Rescue The American Healthcare System In Six Steps
According to respected neurologist Dr. Steven Goldstein
Dr. Steven Goldstein of the Houston Healthcare Initiative believes that the U.S. healthcare system can be rescued, and that American business can play an instrumental role. He describes the steps to salvage the industry on the Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast.
What Needs Rescuing
The current American healthcare system is a mis-mash of government regulations, insurance company and medical industry policies designed to separate the public from its money and provide a minimum of care. The current system does not embrace new treatments or scientific breakthroughs. Insurance companies question the judgement of doctors with double approvals of prescriptions and treatments called ‘pre-authorization.’
Government at the state and federal level demonize off label treatments along with those who advocate them and instead peddle more expensive vaccines and treatments. It’s a mess.
How to Fix Healthcare
There are practical steps a company of any size can take to transition from the current healthcare system to this new cost-effective solution.
In addition to an estimated 20-30% savings compared to regular insurance self-insurance allows a company to adopt new technologies, financial and other incentives to deliver higher quality care at lower cost.
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
As a practical matter this shifts the costs of routine healthcare to the employee. It allows the employee to pay cash using pretax dollars. Cash prices for tests and procedures are already dramatically lower than insurance company discounts. By paying cash, the administrative costs of processing claims drop dramatically. The employee simply saves receipts and makes a claim only when the receipts add up to the deductible. Additionally, the unused HSA money accrues interest that can also serve as a retirement account for employees.
- Establish an Employee Welfare Trust (EWT).
The purpose of the trust is to reduce the cost of reinsurance in later years and to eventually convert the insurance plan from a one-year contract to insurance to age 65. Thus, employees will be able to continue in the plan even if they no longer work for the company if they continue to contribute to the EWT.
- Educate employees about what is possible for them. These options include:
- How to choose a primary physician based on the personal needs of that person,
- How to shop for medical care and medication,
- The importance of mental health and the relationship between mental health and the effect on physical health and the immune system,
- The importance of physical exercise,
- The importance of financial health and its effect on mental health.
- Technologies that can be implemented immediately.
Technology can provide free access to a physician 24/7 for diagnosis, and second opinions. Remote appointments reduce trips to the ER or urgent care. Additionally equip each employee with a thermometer and blood pressure cuff to provide information to the physician. Encourage patients to maintain their own medical records; educate patients on how to do this. Business can also fund fitness apps, gym equipment at the jobsite or gym memberships.
- Employ incentives to employees to live a healthy lifestyle. These can be financial incentives or other rewards like increased company contributions to the HSA, lower insurance premiums etc.
According to Dr. Goldstein, the means to take control of the healthcare system away from government, big hospital companies, and the insurance industry and create a patient centered system is within our collective grasp. “We just need to do it,” he told his audience. “There are enough remedies in current law available to employers and employees alike to make a major change in the way we all get and pay for medical care.”
If nothing is done to rescue the healthcare business, the public can expect higher costs for insurance with higher deductibles and less coverage. Add to that more regulations and fewer treatments. More government interference with science and medicine and less freedom for our doctors who know us best to treat their patients.
About the Houston Healthcare Initiative
The Houston Healthcare Initiative podcast with Dr. Steven Goldstein is an information vehicle for people who want to know all medical options for themselves and are interested in reforming the healthcare industry. To learn more about the Houston Healthcare Initiative please visit www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.