Medical advancement is rooted in research. Before any drug, therapy, or experimental procedure can ever come close to helping a patient it is first subjected to a myriad of tests – from a basic science laboratory, to clinical trials, to ongoing regulation by the Food and Drug Administration the scrutiny to which advancements in the medical field are subjected is truly never ending. Oddly, advancement of the healthcare system itself is not subjected to a similar level of analysis.
While research concerning amending the healthcare system in the United States is scarce, there is little question the current system is flawed on a state and national level. Research indicates that medical bills contribute to over half of all bankruptcies while Medicaid inefficiencies cost Ohio taxpayers alone an estimated 900 million dollars a year.
The recently passed Affordable Care Act is one proposed “solution” to the problem, but after an analysis of what the law brings, it is clear that more research is necessary before such an extensive overhaul should be implemented. Aside from the numerous regulations that would be placed on doctors and hospitals by the government, the most striking part of the law is the insurance of 34 million currently uninsured individuals. It is estimated that the United States could soon face a shortage of over 150,000 doctors. Considering that the proposed “fix” for the current healthcare system involves increasing Medicare enrollees in Ohio alone by 24.7% by 2014, there is no way a system already facing a scarcity of healthcare professionals will ever be able keep up with increased demand, causing quality to suffer for all.
There are alternative options for healthcare improvement that exist such as amendments in insurance plans that come with Value-Based Insurance Design and Consumer Driven Healthcare Plans. Both of these plans give the power to the consumer and data has shown that many businesses would prefer an insurance system similar to the value-based insurance design and that a consumer driven plan, in addition to being cost-effective, actually increases individuals’ healthy behaviors.
No system has been tested on a large enough scale to give any definitive answer to healthcare in Ohio or beyond, but isn’t that reason enough to not rashly implement just any healthcare reform? All actions have negative consequences, and when it comes to healthcare systems those consequences could be quite literally life threatening, an argument for allowing states to experiment with different models to determine what system works best for them.