It’s no good pretending that there’s nothing wrong with healthcare costs. Anyone who’s had to actually try and decipher a medical bill will understand the frustration and stress that comes with paying for good health. The first step to solving any problem, not just on a national level, but on an individual level, is to try to come to terms with the problem.
1. Understanding the Paradox
There’s no way that any one article, no matter how long, could definitively grapple with the problem. The complexities and factors are as complicated as medicine itself. Hospitals can (and do) overcharge patients, but at the very same time they are losing millions. This isn’t simply a matter of bad management, it’s part of a cycle. Better healthcare leads to longer life expectancy leads to more sick people needing hospital care in an endless loop of escalating demand that providers struggle to meet. That drives up costs for both hospitals and patients.
2. What Can We Do?
Part of the problem is simply one of time. A lot of these technologies are new, or in the process of being developed and improved. New techniques are expensive, but will become less expensive as time passes. Hospitals must seek ways to improve efficiency, for example by analysing operating room charges. On a short term, individual level patients will have to be more active and educated about their care options.
3. Moving Forward
Whatever can be done on a personal level, or even on a larger business scale, it’s getting harder to argue that the current system doesn’t need a massive overhaul of some kind. Creative solutions will be needed as we move forward, because the cycle isn’t going to stop. Science will keep getting better at keeping us alive, and so we will keep living longer, healthier lives, and so the demand for better healthcare will increase. People’s lives are on the line, so we can’t simply give up. We must look for solutions; they are out there and they can be found.