The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

​Commonsense ideas can cut health care costs


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Mar. 28, 2017 - 9:20 PM

Our health care system is broken, and neither Obamacare nor Ryancare can fix it. Our system has a fundamental flaw: It's far too expensive.

Americans spend $3.3 trillion a year on health care, which is approximately two times higher per capita than in other developed nations. The system provides some of the world's most sophisticated treatments of cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. But overall, U.S. health care falls short regarding overall health than the health care systems in most developed nations. Studies have found that much of the immense cost of our system is simply wasted, with no benefit to patients.

Costs are high because many special interests strive to make too much money on health care. These special interests include pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, insurance companies, malpractice lawyers, doctors, hospitals, and lobbyists.

Reducing these excessive costs will be difficult to address since so many people have a vested interest in our current health care system. In addition, many in the federal government have a vested interest in the status quo.

Suggestions:

* Limit malpractice suits to reasonable amounts. This will reduce costs to doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies.

* Reduce the costs and time required of a medical education so that newly minted doctors won’t be burdened by a high debt.

* Limit patent protections on new drugs so generic drugs can enter the market sooner. Also, pharmaceutical companies should not have a financial interest in generic drug companies.

* Allow the U.S. government to negotiate drug pricing based on cost of manufacture.

* Encourage hospitals to not needlessly spend large amounts of money to have the “latest and greatest” medical equipment.

*Encourage insurance companies to provide low-cost, basic medical insurance which does not cover the more costly procedures like organ transplants.

* We citizens also bear some of the blame for our costly health care system. We need to practice a healthier lifestyle in order to reduce our medical needs.

If you think our health care system is a real problem, write your government representatives, and communicate your ideas to friends through social media and emails.

Bob Olson     

Newnan