Having said that, implementation of the Affordable Care
Act in Maryland was less than stellar. The General Assembly
has scrambled this year to patch holes in the system.
The problems we are left with are likely to continue
into 2015 and beyond. In 2014 the legislature is being
reactive. In 2015, we need to become proactive. We need
to examine the entire system to improve cost efficiency
and reduce the expense to businesses and individuals.
Is Health Care So Expensive?
The United States has the most expensive health care
in the world. We spend more money out of pocket. We
are more likely not to purchase prescriptions because
of cost. The medical bills charged to our insurance
are multiple reasons for this. Uninsured Marylanders
add significant costs to our health care. This will
be remedied some once we get the new system working
properly in Maryland, but we need to educate the public
as we insure them. There are segments of our population
that have developed the habit over decades, of using
emergency rooms for their primary care. They need to
be taught the financial and practical benefits of changing
have insurance-driven health care, instead of the other
way around. Medical decisions are made based on what
insurance will cover. The system also allows for fraud,
abuse and unnecessary tests and treatments that add
significantly to the cost. We have liability-driven
insurance. The cost of medical care must be sufficient
to cover increases in malpractice insurance, and doctors
order numerous unnecessary tests because they are afraid
of being sued if they don't account for even the most
unlikely scenarios (I had a case about 5 years ago,
where an emergency room doctor was going to send me
for an x-ray for a choking incident, after we had already
determined there was no longer anything caught in my
throat, which would have added hundreds of dollars to
the bill for no reason).
have higher prescription costs than the rest of the
world. The federal government has allowed the prescription
drug industry to take advantage of government assistance,
without requiring enough in return. This must be fixed
at the federal level, but Maryland and other states
can push the federal government to act. We also have
higher administrative costs than the rest of the world.
Ideally, this should be handled at the federal level
as well, but the state can compel medical providers
to improve administrative efficiency and standardize
systems to reduce costs.
Costs: How The U.S. Compares With Other Countries