Health care solved?

My long time friend, RAAM teammate, skiing buddy and mentor for all things business, John Torinus, got his healthcare book published, “The Company that Solved Health Care”. I finished reading it this week and am pleased to suggest that you all do the same.

His ideas, many of which were partially presented while he was still a columnist at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, are presented better here in full with clear explanations, examples, and case studies from a number of Wisconsin companies that have really been trying to solve this problem. The snarky politics around this pits this type of solution, based on the idea of consumerism in healthcare and the use of high deductible health care plans, against the single payer solutions or tightly controlled insurance solutions that the new reforms were about. Just search on John’s name at Google and you will find all sorts of these references.

The book answers the questions the critics pose and I think convincingly. You should really read the whole thing and then decide. High deductible plans can work well when you don’ t actually have higher out of pocket expenses but do have in interest in how the money is spent. The money is recovered by finding lower cost and more effective places to have various procedures and treatments done. As I have posted before, I have been in a plan like this for a few years now and love it. The recent health care reform laws, really health insurance reform and which I supported in large part, have actually made my plan a bit worse by eliminating over the counter products unless prescribed by a doctor, essentially taking a bit more of my own health care decision making out of my hands. But it is still a good plan.

The shortcoming of consumer driven plans is the shortage of consumer oriented information for health care. How the heck do I find out where to get the most effective MRI at the best price? There are very few other large economic decisions we make in life, houses, cars, schools, investments, without knowledge of the costs. Ideas for this are a big part of the book, and a big part of any real cost controls for healthcare. If our third party payer systems were working, we could perhaps ignore healthcare costs longer, but they just aren’t. The new laws increase coverage, or we hope they will, but don’t address the costs at all unless there is a big effect from having more people insured somehow.

Go get the book, read it and open your mind to more ways to do health care.

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