The challenge for President-Elect Donald Trump will be in the competing goals of special interests versus the consumer. The US Government has steadily gained the upper hand in controlling the healthcare industry and it is the most powerful special interest that consumers need to be concerned about. Why?
If you look at examples around the world where the government controls healthcare services, pricing and payments, it becomes clear that quality becomes a function of cost and time. This means that if you want high quality the consequence is high taxes to pay for it and it does not necessarily translate into getting the service when you want or need it. Those who can afford high-quality and expensive health care will continue to be immune from this scenario. However, most of us will be impacted by continued government intrusion into our healthcare.
As the government bureaucracy desires to increase its foothold on controlling healthcare to increase its power base, it will continue to make the business case that single payer and ultimately single provider is the only logical outcome for controlling costs. They make this case every year with the Medicare program and politicians won’t touch or even discuss the possibility of re-tooling this untouchable entitlement. Although, they hide the fact that Medicaid which is a joint partnership between the Feds and State government is arguably a more cost effective approach to delivering healthcare to the masses.
But what about the consumer and their desire for affordable, quality healthcare? Most of the healthcare consultants are currently pushing the theme that a consumer-centric approach to delivery of healthcare is the path forward. However, attempting to build a healthcare infrastructure that will support the consumer’s every desire is a fool’s errand. There are not enough providers, facilities, equipment or drugs to satisfy the current consumer demand for the best healthcare – how will we be able to satisfy an insatiable demand for the best that healthcare has to offer?
As a nation we are going to have to recognize that we need to re-think our definition of healthcare and the approach to delivering healthcare. This means that we will have to harness, through innovation, new ideas, products, processes, and the use of our people resources to provide a very different environment for promoting and delivering healthcare to the population. It also means that heretical ideas that challenge the insurance-medical-pharmaceutical-FDA-CMS establishment will have to be allowed to have a voice along with true consumer advocacy organizations.
Next blog topic will identify some of the new ideas that are positioned to challenge the incumbents.