Bob Haase’s Another Can Of Worms

The Quality of Health Care

Are you happy with the quality of health care you are receiving?  Do you think that the United States ranks among the top compared to other nations in the quality of healthcare provided?  In the year 2000, the World Health Organization completed an in depth study of health care in 191 nations and ranked them according to the quality of health care provided.  In this report, the United States ranked number one in the amount of money spent per capita, but ranked 37ths in the quality of health care provided.  In a report from Reuters, it was indicated that the United States in 2007 spent $7,290 per person which was more than double that of any other nation.


What is the problem with health care in the United States?  Why do we spend the most and rank so low in the quality of health care provided?  Will President Obama’s Affordable Care Act change this? 


Some of the problems I see with health care in this country are as follows:


1. Most doctors are told by their clinic or hospital to spend a certain number of minutes per patient rather that spend the time the doctor feels necessary to provide a complete examination.  Because of this, there is an effort by the doctors to treat for the most common problems and not look at, consider, or even understand other possible causes.  An example of this might be Lymes disease which is often incorrectly diagnosed and treated.


2. Insurance companies seem to have a greater say in the care and treatment of the patient than the doctor. 


3. Insurance companies negotiate with clinics to pay a fraction of the cost for treatment so the clinics inflate the price and negotiate it down.  Based on this the doctor needs to spend less time per patient to be compensated appropriately.  If you look at your bill from your insurance company, the person working on your car gets paid more than your doctor.


4. The cost for medical care is higher because of the non-profit status of the clinics and hospitals.  The clinics need to spend all the money received in order to maintain their non-profit status so they continue to build more and more facilities that they might not need. 


5. The people that can afford better insurance get better care than the person that cannot afford insurance.  The quality of health care is based on a person’s ability to pay rather than the care they need.  The amount the doctors and clinics get paid is different based on the insurance a person has such as Medicare vs. a higher premium coverage.


6.  Too much emphasis is spent on trying to diagnose problems after they develop rather than spending the time on preventive health care.  


Please note that I am not slamming doctors and saying they are the problem.  I believe the system is the problem and nothing will change until we give the doctors more say in the time spent on each patient and in their prescribed treatment.   


Bob Haase is the host of “Outdoors Thursday” heard Thursday mornings at 9:10 a.m. on News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.