The cost drivers of the health insurance crisis
The health insurance crisis is essentially a health care cost crisis. Two articles in today’s Sacramento Bee provide insight. One spotlights hospital costs and the tensions they stoke between hospitals and insurers that pay their bills.
Another profiles Dr. Walter Bortz, a professor of medicine at Stanford University. Bortz criticizes the demand side of the health care cost equation, proclaiming the simple truth that rising health care costs can be contained with healthy lifestyle choices rather than more and more treatment once we become ill due to poor diet and lack of exercise.
Bortz’s profile reflects the philosophical divide between advocates of healthy lifestyle choices like himself and a medical industrial complex dependent upon treating people for costly, chronic conditions for the health of its own top line. Medicine as currently practiced in the United States is “a whorehouse” in Bortz’s blunt assessment.
The take away from these articles is we are being forced to choose the preventative lifestyle cost control measures Bortz advocates because our economy can no longer absorb the cost of providing “sick care” as it’s called by some. No amount of adversarial finger pointing between payers and providers can alter that fact and only portends the coming meltdown of the current paradigm.