In­surance needs a new busi­ness model, and we all need bet­ter life­style mod­els

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing “The bat­tle be­gins as House Repub­li­cans re­lease ACA re­peal bill,” I will watch with in­ter­est, but I sus­pect the gov­ern­ment will miss the real is­sue. It isn’t the high cost of health­care alone; it is also the high cost of in­surance. Of course our high use of health­care cre­ates ex­tra costs. Hos­pi­tals al­ready give away free care in the emer­gency rooms due to laws that en­sure ev­ery­one who ar­rives will be seen and treated.

The Af­ford­able Care Act also put more pres­sure on health­care providers to keep peo­ple healthy, so at least the gov­ern­ment rec­og­nizes the fact that an un­healthy pop­u­la­tion adds to the na­tion’s health­care costs. We each own our health. If we’re not al­ready try­ing to prac­tice healthy habits, that needs to change. We need to change the way we think, what we eat, how much ex­er­cise we get and how we han­dle men­tal chal­lenges such as stress. These are life­style is­sues. Beyond that, we need af­ford- able health in­surance for the things beyond our con­trol.

When I see health in­surance com­pa­nies pay CEOs many mil­lions of dol­lars, I ask, who is pay­ing for that? When I see bil­lion-dol­lar merger pro­pos­als, I ask, who will pay for that? I think it is time for a dif­fer­ent in­surance busi­ness model. Our rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Wash­ing­ton need to ad­dress the real is­sues. And we need to do our part to be healthy and happy so we don’t need to use so much health­care.

David Brown Se­nior health­care con­sul­tant Health Sys­tems In­for­mat­ics Bend, Ore

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