For the sake of discussion in this thread let us assume that a one step to Medicare for All is not going to happen with any Congress that is likely to be elected this next cycle and that we are looking at possible paths to get farther there.
One approach is opt-in at various lowered ages with the long term plan to build up the medicare system to handle that larger volume and give real world experience to more people that it works thus building support over a few years to expand the opt in further.
“All Payer Rate Setting” appears to be another proposed option, one that Buttigieg endorses as a stepping stone to single payer.
As described -
Advantages allegedly include better bargaining power and decreased administrative costs.
Reality would run into the fact that different populations often end up costing morethan others, based on a variety of risk factors, from identifiable medical co-morbidities, to membership in soicioeconomically disadvantaged communities.
And it seems to ignore the move away from pure fee-for-service to a rise of so-called “value-based” shared population level risk products (inclusive of within Medicare) which have gotten healthcare systems/groups to innovate on providing better quality at lower cost.
This approach is of course not mutually exclusive with opt-in to Medicare, which of course would likely continue to allow the purchase of Medicare supplement insurance products.
Not sure what I think of this approach. Any thoughts?
I would hope there was some provision that non-insured patients could get the same prices. And given that the price would be the same, I’d hope there’d be no more of the nonsense that you go to the emergency room of an in system hospital and find that the doctors there are employed by a private company and are not in system so you’re stuck with the entire cost.
The former : even if there was a 20-100% penalty applied (to discourage healthy people forgoing insurance) it would still leave prices at something approaching sanity. These days it’s extremely common for a bill to be 25-50k for something medicare would only pay 2-3k for. (I had 2 screws removed from my leg. A few minutes of general anesthetic, 2 tiny incisions, 1 stitch each. 25k was what the clinic demanded…per screw. My insurance paid a tiny fraction of that of course)
As for the latter: that is obviously included. The way medicare does it, they decide on what the prices are, and they add a multiplier for geographic areas due to higher or lower costs to operate. Medicare will not pay into scams like the one you describe, because the work item those private doctors performed is still the same billing code.
As I have said in prior threads, the Medicare rate is akin to the indigent criminal pay rate in most states. Doctors (and in my case lawyers) accept the rate because it helps pay the bills, but if everyone paid that rate, them and we would go out of business because you cannot pay employees at such a reduced rate if it was the sole income.
Perhaps so. The mechanism would have to be responsive in some way to the actual supply demand relationship. Also you could remove bottlenecks on supply. While there appear to be more attorneys being trained than jobs for them, there appears to be both a doctor and a nurse shortage at present. Neither training pipeline is wide enough. A sane set of government policies would fix this.
But instead we arguably live with a government primarily designed to serve the richest 1 percent. Those folks can afford the best private criminal defense attorneys- this is why the public funding for ‘indigents’ is so poor. Ditto the available doctors- this is why not enough doctors are trained nor are there enough hospital beds for everyone - because it gives the top 1 percent a discount on their taxes.
How can it not. “balance” billing and “pay 10x as much because you are “out of network”” is charging way more than the all-payer negotiated rate for a service. In the balance/out of network situations, the medical provider didn’t do any more work, did they?
Heh. When I went to my cardiologist for a one year follow-up after my stent placement I (and the women in the office) was surprised to discover that my insurance co-pay was more than what I would have been charged if I did not have insurance. That sucked, and there was no work-around. Added to that was the fact that, after a one hour wait, the doctor asked me if I’d been experiencing any chest pain and my “No” answer and a quickie auscultation of my chest ended my exam.
Do you mean Medicaid in this post? Because I’m reasonably sure that my wife (and many others in Long-Term Care practices) are almost entirely paid Medicare rates and they do just fine.
A quick glance shows that extremely simple follow-up visits are reimbursed at about $50 (these would be probably <10 minutes of a doctors time) and anything more complex can go up to $300 if you are in an ICU or on a ventilator in a hospital room.
Private insurance certainly pays more, and there is no doubt doctors (especially specialists) would take a sizable haircut if Medicare prices were the standard, but they would be a far cry from going out of business.
++++. As someone who was uninsured, and paying higher prices than insurance companies paid I found myself wanting to scream at the designers of healthcare reform: “Your blather is all about helping the uninsured? If you’re sincere then, as a first step, let us pay the same prices as the insurers pay.”