Posted Aug. 23, 2009 at 8:40 a.m.

Premium Lock Can economics help in the health care debate?

Published: 2009-08-23 08:40:27
Updated: 2009-08-23 08:40:27

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Analysis: While understanding of several basic economic concepts won’t resolve the health care debate, hopefully they help illuminate some of the issues and make you more informed about the possible options....

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Anyone that wants real change in health care should not ignore economics. Health care is possibly the only service we purchase where no one knows the real cost. The consumer is totally insulated from cost and thereby tends to over consume (inflation). Blue Cross/Blue Shield gave two great examples of this in action over the past year. Fearing abuse in the number of MRIs/CT Scans being ordered (defensive medicine?), BCBSNC imposed a "pre-authorization" process that required an additional step in the "buying process". The result was a total plan savings of nearly $19 million. At the same time, the Chiropractor's Association was effective in lobbying for Chiropractic Care having the same "co-pay" as a primary care physicians visit (reducing the price for the consumer). This reduction in price lead to a $33 million dollar increase in Chiropractic claims; reduce the price and consumption increases. We can't ignore economics and its' impact on behavioral change.
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