-Streamline processes and paperwork
-Create competition to create innovative services
-Treat the self-insured and the employed-insured equally
-Advertise price and expected results
When the government wants to act like a business and start providing services, it needs to think like a business. Today we have multiple National Healthcare Programs like Medicaid, Medicare, VA Healthcare and SCHIP (States Children’s Health Insurance Program). Yes, I’ve probably forgotten a few.
Medicaid is a mandatory entitlement program, enacted in 1965. It is Federally regulated and policy driven. Each State administers the program and provides eligibility standards, services (type, amount, duration and scope), and rate of payment for services. Here’s the problem – it’s a mess and it’s the largest health insurance program in the US. Computer systems and forms plague this system. Just ask the State of Oregon – their computer systems are in a heap of trouble.
Some quick facts from the 2008 Actuarial Report on the Financial Outlook for Medicaid prepared by the Office of the Actuary Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services United States Department of Health & Human Services (Could you imagine having to type that on all your reports! I’m thinking there is a cost cut in there somewhere!)
2007 Medicaid Expenditures and Enrollment
• Total Medicaid outlays in FY 2007 were $333.2 billion; $190.6 billion or 57 percent represented Federal spending, and $142.6 billion or 43 percent represented State spending.
• Estimated average Medicaid enrollment was 49.1 million people in 2007. At some point during the year, 61.9 million people, or about one of every five persons in the U.S., were enrolled in Medicaid.
Tip # 1 – Streamlining Processes & Paperwork Reduces Cost
Ouch! 61.9 million people in 2007 had to suffer through the inadequacies of the various Medicaid systems. How about this for a MAJOR cost cutting effort – STANDARDIZE FORMS. This is a simple solution to one of the most frustrating problems – too much paperwork.
Here’s an even better idea – Mandate standardized forms across the insurance industry! Requiring all insurance companies (yes, all) to accept a single standardized claim form would reduce the workload on patients, doctors and insurance companies. Less paperwork means less wasted time – and lower costs for everyone. Guess what, it’s also a “GREEN” initiative, Washington you get 2 points for this one!
You’d be surprised at how many corporations are STREAMLINING their paperwork and processes for a combined savings of MILLIONS IF NOT BILLIONS of dollars.
Tip #2 from the business world – Competition is Good and Drives Innovation, which in turn drives lower cost!
Why is it that we seem to be turning a blind-eye on the State Legislators? Each State is currently choosing or regulating what company can provide and offer insurance in its’ respective State. WHAT? Does that make any sense? Um, no.
This one is really simple – allow private insurance companies to offer health insurance products in all 50 States. You will see insurance companies scramble and try to create more competitive products.
Hey, if you streamline forms, they’ll have more resources to create new products!
Tip #3 is also a no brainer – Provide the same tax break to self-insured people as company-insured people.
People with employer-paid benefits don’t have to pay taxes on the benefits paid for by their employer. But self-insured people (many of them self-employed which is one of the few growing sectors of the economy) receive no such tax break. Making the system fair for everyone also puts money back in the pockets of taxpayers, lowering their health insurance costs.
Tip # 4 is also no surprise – Require service providers to post prices and results
When we go to a store to buy milk and bread, we can easily see which brands cost more and which cost less. It should be the same way with health care. Requiring doctors and hospitals to post their prices and their results would allow patients to shop around for the best use of their health care dollars.
Tip # 5 is such a highly debated topic – why? Lobbyist pouring money into the coffers – We Need Real Tort Reform
Reducing tort litigation or damages in the medical field will reduce healthcare costs. I’m not an advocate of taking measures to make it harder for individuals to sue businesses for wrongdoing. However, too often litigation is filed based on emotion or wanting to pass blame onto the healthcare provider. If a doctor is truly negligent, then yes, litigation should be pursued. A very sensitive subject indeed, one that has got to get under control.
Why is it that a Business Woman, who has never had a career in politics – YET, can research, find ideas and come up with solutions? Hmmm, and why can’t our political lifers do this as well? Isn’t this what we elected them to do? Isn’t this what we pay them to do?