Paying the Bills

I couldn’t help but count the number of clerks the last time I took my son to his orthopedist. The clinic we use has seven physicians, six nurse practitioners, and two physicians assistants–and at least three times as many receptionists, billing clerks, and other staff. When you add the number of clerks who work for the insurance company, it’s easy to see why medical costs in the United States consume a greater share of GPD than any other developed nation.

Unfortunately, under our current system, clinics need those clerks to get through the byzantine codes and regulations that stand between patients and excellent medical care. So my question to you, dear students, is this: how can Mississippi improve health care for its citizens without increasing the cost for patients?

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2 Responses to Paying the Bills

  1. Tejus Kotikalapudi says:

    The healthcare situation is a weird one because the solution requires both more government intervention and less government intervention. In the case of the cost of medical supplies and drugs, the government needs to intervene and stop the excessive price gouging facilitated by “Big Pharma.” Currently, the inflation of prescription drugs is increasing at five times the U.S. inflation rate according to a recent study from the University of Pittsburg. This extreme drug cost can be solved by reducing the patent time for certain drugs from 20 years to 10 years. This will allow the company that researched and developed the drug to still have a window to make a profit and allow for competing drug companies to make the drug, reducing costs. In addition to this, the government needs to loosen its regulations on doctors for them to practice. For example, the government requires that all data on a patient be recorded, from slight blood pressure fluctuations to ear inflammation. This causes doctors to spend more time logging in information on a computer than actually talking to and diagnosing a patient.

  2. Samantha says:

    The health system is tricky because of the way it runs. If stuff costs more, they are forced to charge more to prevent bankruptcy, and if new restrictions are put it, more legal actions have to be taken to prevent a lawsuit that could also bankrupt the hospital. In a way, more legal is good, as it gives more job availability; however, it also raises costs for the typical visitor. The problem frankly is that there are too many ways hospital cost can go up and not enough ways for it to go down to combat the inflated prices. One way to save money possibility is to reuse tools. It may sound weird, but there are machines that can take a tool, completely clean it and practically make tools such as tweezers reusable. Of course, I am not suggesting reusing a scalpel, just simple small things that are used for things such as small outpatient surgeries. Additionally, I think the cost could also be reduced by picking some ideas from the hospital St. Jude. Their funding comes directly from donations and because typical hospitals don’t focus on donations because they can rely on insurance to pay them. Lastly, there is a lot of money put into research at hospitals and the costs would be cheaper if they were performed at a research hospital where funding comes directly from the government rather than the hospital in which the research is being conducted.

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