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Monday, September 24, 2012

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Donald Pay

Posting infection rates, med errors, etc., is already being done in Wisconsin, and many other states. It's the subject of news stories here every year.

The uniform payments to health care providers are actually an incentive to keep complications, like post-surgery infections down.

Providing useful information and competition is great, but that's really a big city solution, where your choice is to go to the hospital five miles down the road, rather than across the state. You really need to think about South Dakota when you are getting information about the situation in New York.

Uniform benefits are required only for those key diseases/syndromes that cost a lot to remedy. If someone who is prediabetic makes some modest changes, they can save a huge amount in medical bills/insurance payments.

A.I.

Silly me, I thought the thrust of Obamacare was to increase access to health care.

Ken Blanchard

A.I.: silly me, I thought the question above concerned quality rather than access.

Donald Pay

Competition may lead to higher prices. The article linked below indicates what has been going on in Madison, WI. This is a very competitive market for both health care and health insurance. There are three hospitals within two miles of each other, an ever increasing number of smaller clinics, and 7 or 8 insurance companies offering insurance through employers. Most medium to large employers here will give you a choice between 4 to 6 separate plans from 2-3 different carriers. Believe me, we have lots of choice, and lots of advertising on TV this time of year pointing to the advantages of each plan.

The problem is all this competition is leading to inefficiency as each medical group/insurance carrier seeks to enhance its individual interests. It used to be these medical groups cooperated, sending patients to a doctor outside the group if it didn't have that specialty. Now each medical group is duplicating specialties, driving up costs.

There is probably a way for economists to figure out what is an optimum amount of competition versus cooperation in each market. Let's not get on the bandwagon for "more choice" if that leads to further inefficiency in the health care market.

http://host.madison.com/business/biz_beat/healthy-competition-critics-say-consumers-lose-as-providers-build-bicker/article_46adbc46-01c9-11e2-821c-0019bb2963f4.html

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