Technology will help return power to the patient
The Oct. 12 editorial “Keep the Cadillac tax” (p. 26) includes this statement: “The ultimate responsibility for keeping healthcare costs in check rests with providers, not patients and consumers.” Why? Who assigns anyone the responsibility to control prices in the U.S. economy?
And then there’s this argument: “When people get sick, they usually don’t have the time to go shopping for care. When stuck in high-deductible plans, they are just as likely to eliminate necessary care as unnecessary care.”
My guess is that people usually do have the time. Most illness is chronic, not emergent, and given a diagnosis we have time to select therapies and interventions, as well as time to take cost (usually the deductible and copayment) into consideration. That consumers don’t have the time or don’t take the time is an assumption often heard in healthcare chatter. I have never seen any statistics supporting it and it runs counter to my experience.
Technology is enabling empowered consumers. Read the works of Dr. Eric Topol. This editorial raises all of the issues of power and command, and eventually technology will put that command into the hands of patients, where the power belongs. Best take government and providers out of it as much as possible, because they’ll lose focus on their own missions and focus on what they do least well: decide what’s good for someone else.
Bill Baar Campton Hills, Ill.