Sea Change or Out at Sea With Healthcare in America

This past Saturday marked the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) passage into law. The Yale student newspaper published a short article on that and the expose written for Time magazine on March 4 “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us”. The author of that 24,105 word article was Steven Brill Yale Law Class of ’72 (you wonder why they are running this article). Readers of this site are familiar with the article and its premise transparency in pricing of hospital bills is nonexistent and needs to be changed.

I posted a link to an article in the LA Times yesterday ‘You Want a Knee Replacement? I’ve got a Deal for You.’ The LA Times article was about ways to find competitive pricing for healthcare procedures. It is a start in trying to get transparency into the system.

Are we beginning to witness a larger more important sea change in healthcare with all the various disparate pieces coming together? When you think about it the genesis was perhaps the ACA or the aging population and the associated spiraling cost. Perhaps it was the economic downturn. Wherever it started today we have changes afoot. People, consumers, patients, and caregivers are learning to and are solving healthcare problems they are having. And with solving their own problems they may just be solving the countries bigger healthcare problems.

My hope is that these beginning small steps are a movement that will take hold. Perhaps we’ll see better patient outcomes and lower costs but I am realist and cynic. Though hospitals are buying physician practices as well as hospitals in hopes of locking in a region to control price and the marketplace the reality is insurance companies are ruling the roost. They are the one distributing the money and controlling prices.

Do you think we are turning a corner or just standing in place? Maybe I am drinking the Pollyanna Kool-Aid. I think there will be more pressure for better changes. I think I see where this may be going but I thought Lotus Notes was cool. 

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