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Health insurance passes cost to consumers

  |   Nov. 30, 2011 at 3:55 PM
WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Protecting the status quo of U.S. healthcare results in costs increasing unless innovative solutions are applied to federal health programs, an expert says.

"The gap can't be closed unless innovative solutions are applied to federal health programs. Protecting the status quo only widens the gap and defers its balance due to future generations," Paul Keckley, executive director of Delete Center for Health Solutions, said in a statement.

"There are three simple solutions to slow health spending without compromising quality and safety. First, incentives for doctors and hospitals must change from volume to results -- safety, efficiency and outcomes. As much as 30 percent of the care provided is not medically necessary or evidence based."

Second, accelerating widespread deployment of electronic medical records connected to personal health records owned by consumers will accelerate widespread transformation of the system, Keckley said.

Third, Keckley said, consumers must have skin in the game and the failure of the system to control its costs is in large measure attributable to our benign neglect to engage individuals and their families as the primary customer of healthcare.

Keckley said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimated by 2020, national health spending will exceed $4.6 trillion, comprise 19.8 percent of the gross domestic product and be about 50 percent of the federal budget. He also aid projections indicate healthcare costs will rise 5.8 percent annually in the decade.

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