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How Would Doctors Lower Health Insurance Costs?

(Image: Seattle Municipal Archives under CC 3.0)

Whether or not healthcare reform ends up reducing health insurance costs, it is clear that it will not do so alone. Medical expenses make up one-sixth of the U.S. GDP. Doctors are on the front lines of this predicament; so what are their suggestions?

  • Some believe that health savings accounts (HSA plans) should be more prevalent; similar to auto insurance, they mainly insure catastrophes instead of routine care. However, the bill goes further in the other direction.
  • The specter of medical malpractice lawsuits hangs over many doctors, causing them to order unnecessary tests. Despite receiving little notice, there is a provision in the health insurance reform bill that encourages states to develop alternatives. It’s not the tort reform some have called for, but it’s a start.
  • Paying attention to the prevention of conditions before they get worse (and more expensive to treat): nipping childhood obesity in the bud before those children grow up to become obese adults with health problems, and counseling on nutrition.
  • Educating patients on the downsides of overtreatment, whether they are healthy or near the end of their life

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