Quotes for United Health Insurance: Good news for shareholders and bad news for consumers? 7
However, our new president and our Republican-controlled Congress are trying to revoke the ACA. Trump has promised to solve all these problems, reduce costs and retain the main benefits of Obamacare. To me that seemed hard to believe. And recently, POTUS seems to have realized that changes in our healthcare system are difficult: “It’s an incredibly complex question, no one knew that healthcare could be so complicated.” I don’t know where he was, but it has been complicated since I have memory. Maybe POTUS should spend less time tweeting and more time reading books like The Bitter Pill of the United States: Money, Politics, Internal Offers, and the Struggle to Fix Our Bankrupt Healthcare, which details the highly differentiated policies and complexities involved in our health system.
Regardless of the proposed changes, costs will never be reduced if consumers do not get visibility into the prices we all pay. Visibility is not the only answer to this complex problem. But to compare health insurance plans is a good start. We should all worry about the cost of an ankle radiograph, including the doctor’s office that directs the patient to the procedure. It costs $200 at the doctor’s office, but $100 around the corner? Is radiology practice around the corner in the “network”? What are the patient qualifications for each of these two providers? Sound complicated? If TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Edmunds can easily share a variety of information, including details about restaurants (what food to order), hotels (the best rooms to order), and cars (average price paid in your zip code), isn’t it? Is it possible to provide access to the billions we spend on health care?
Certainly, it would be great if we could deliver on what Trump promised, namely “less expensive and much better” health insurance. But because all of these promises are not dependable, I won’t hold my breath because this can cause a lung rupture and is likely to be a pre-existing condition. About 10 minutes later I was in radiology and asked my planner the same question about cost. He had no idea and seemed surprised by the question, but said he would call the radiology billing department. The billing department told me (indirectly, because I was talking on the phone with the planner) that it depended on my insurance company. I gave him my Tufts insurance card and asked again how much the x-ray would cost. Then they told me to speak directly to the specialist in billing, who would help me decide the bill for the x-ray.