::written circa. Fall 2013.
Currently, and very much so for the past few decades, the United States healthcare delivery system has been defined by its ability to contain costs and offer efficient care to the highest degree. With records just above 15% GDP in expenditures attributed to cost, it has commonly become a general consensus that the U.S. healthcare delivery system has been stigmatized to be heavily controversial (Shi & Singh, 2012). Leading to these statistics, the lack of transparency in relation to over marketed priced delivery (of goods and services) and policies of the third-party payer system can arguably be accountable for its negative contributions.
In 2012, abiding to the laws of patient disclosure, a study gathered information from exit- billing statements of patients released from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, located in Houston, TX. Records showed various accounts of over marked priced goods given to patients, based on the standard care and procedures of medical delivery (Brills, 2013). For example, one generic acetaminophen tablet (standard 325 mg) was marked at $1.50. As a side note, Amazon markets 100 tablets of the same generic for $1.49 (Brills, 2013). In addition, the standard procedure of “routine venipuncture” was priced at $36 (Brills, 2013). It was noted that hospitals were well known to carry non-public “charge masters” or charge directories, which certainly varied from different locations (Brills, 2013). Unfortunately, without question, the concept of transparency in price differences and evaluation brings thought provoking inquires.
Initially, the introduction of third party insurers/payers were thought to arguably aid and balance transactions met between patients and providers. As described, third-party insurers take over most administrative functions associated with healthcare plans, delivery, and finances (Shi & Singh, 2012). Keeping in mind, providers, as well as the enrollees, “must comply” with the policies set forth by the third-party (Shi & Singh, 2012). Today, by eliminating negotiations between patients and providers, it can be understood that these contributions significantly hinder one’s “buying ability” to simply choose against the priced market (Murphy, 2010). As a result, it drives up costs away from the path of affordable healthcare by keeping markets from competing to drive costs down. With negotiations met and coordinated mainly between providers and the third-party, “powerless buyers, in a sellers market, leave the only aspect that is a sure thing: the profit of the seller” (Brills, 2013).
Unfortunately, over the past decades, the United States healthcare delivery system has socially and economically reached a point of diminishing returns. Among many reasons, this could simply be attributed to the significant strategic flip-flop lobbying power of both the liberal and conservative sides of the spectrum. With assessments such as uncontained costs and low ranking life expectancy rates, it certainly renders the delivery system to continuously remain stagnant and irresponsible ethically, for the greater good of the population. It has been highly suggestive, but ideally unwanted, to pursue collaborative efforts of both political parties to reach a common goal that incorporates the best of both worlds; i.e. a blend of government policy and the free market.
With the future of healthcare delivery in the hands of those who manage it, especially those in the pool of young administrative students, it is essential to learn and grasp a grand understanding of all aspects of healthcare delivery. This includes implications on (but not limited to) economics, delivery, politics, etc. Time should be spent on analyzing knowledge and studies from various models around the world, which prove to show positive returns in objectives of both side of the spectrum. However, it seems though that perhaps social and political influences continue to cloud the population, keeping us from remaining unbiased to the mass volume of strategic views around the world. And rather than simple basic introductory subject courses, knowledge should be continuously acquired field-based with an open-mind, in order to thoroughly serve the healthcare delivery system at a more personal level.