Saturday, August 22, 2009

A procurement and systems analyst perspective on single-payer

Photo showing the Nintendo Wii CPUOne of the key reasons US manufacturing declines is that it has to compete with manufacturing in countries who don't tie health insurance to employment, relieving their employers of a huge cost burden. Image via Wikipedia

A friend whose father was a highly successful systems analyst and procurement expert for top socialist organizations (IBM and the Pentagon) took a look at health care from a systems perspective and came up with single-payer as the answer.

Top Ten Reasons Why We Absolutely Need Single Payer Healthcare

  1. It will be much easier to get everyone covered without people being shuttled around seeking coverage and falling through the cracks, or suffering delayed approval and care when they become expensively sick. The dollar savings from eliminating this wasted time and effort will be significant in and of itself.

  2. It will allow doctors to concentrate on patients, not their billing and collection problems as currently driven by multiple insurance providers with different requirements and paperwork.

  3. It will make it possible, through compensation adjustments, to rebalance the number of medical practitioners by area of specialization to better meet the needs of the patient base. It also facilitates payment based on quality (outcomes), not just quantity of care.

  4. It will facilitate, through payment incentives, improvement in the availability of health care services in currently underserved areas.

  5. Because of the enhanced auditing capability inherent in a single payer system, it allows the day to day billing and collection process to be run on a presumption of integrity and honesty, thereby greatly simplifying procedures and paperwork for all involved.

  6. It will create an environment where the pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment suppliers will be forced to deal with a very competent customer, instead of a group of disorganized ones.

  7. It will create a situation where common accounting standards, utilizing direct costing principles and practices, can be implemented at hospitals, thereby linking costs and billing with services provided.

  8. Once the payment process is centralized, it will facilitate meaningful analysis to identify cost drivers in all areas so effort can be concentrated on fixing them.

  9. It will converts the twenty to twenty-five cents of every premium dollar currently expended by private insurers on excessive salaries, administration, advertising and profit into payment for healthcare services. This goes a long way toward paying for the fifty million people to be covered.

  10. All of the above subjects are or should be part of a real health care reform effort, in fact, they are vital components. However, none of them have been or realistically can be accomplished (have a snowballs chance in hell) utilizing a process with private insurers as its backbone.

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Anonymous said...

If the democrats are going to go it alone on health care, they need to be very careful about what they do. If they leave the private insurers in charge, they can be assured of limited results at a very high cost. If the democrats are going to take the credit or the blame, they better fix the broken bones with something more than band-aids. A clearly mandated single payer system is the only way to go it alone

Walker said...

Yup. A friend sent these two pieces, both relevant here:

1) "Why I love Britain's socialized healthcare system"
As I learned when my newborn daughter was very sick, in U.K. hospitals, people take care of each other
By Stephen Amidon

2) Competition lacking among private health insurers