Has Maine found a bipartisan solution to easing health care costs?
The authors discuss how Maine’s Right To Shop law will allow patients access to cost information and therefore make an affordable choice for their healthcare. Transparency is important, and one would argue essential in medicine. However, there is a vast bureaucracy created to determine the “value and quality” attached to perverse incentives. There is no transparency in that process, but health systems with the best resources generally have the best scores, and they spend millions of healthcare dollars to prove it.
In reality, outcomes are rarely based on money spent. The medical education system has its own checks and balances that ensure excellent quality. Just because a provider remains independent or is unwilling to follow network guidelines that may not apply to the patient in front of them, they shouldn’t be penalized for putting the patient first.
Taking good care of a patient does not need to be complicated, and finding good care isn’t either. We don’t choose our pilots, we assume the airlines consider safety as a priority. Likewise in medicine, since illness is not planned or predictable, we assume quality and trust every doctor and nurse will do their best for us, because it’s their job to do so, under all circumstances.
Simplify access, be transparent about the entire process, and let the patients choose what is best for them. The price of patient care is actually affordable, once you remove the incentives. What do you think?
Paula Muto MD FACS