Sunday, July 31, 2011

Its all fancy bookkeeping to me.

Partners Health Care, a group of doctors and hospitals, has promised to rein in costs by $40 million. That sounds like a nice number and everything should be peachy keen. But they are not giving back any money, they are renegotiating contracts and have taken over a year to do this. Also, their assets are $11.5 billion.

I have nothing against Partners and think they probably do a good job at providing health care. I also think that reducing health care costs is a good idea. I am just using them as an example here because they were in the news.

It is obvious that health care costs need to be reined in. I don't think this is really doing anything. Yes they are going to renegotiate contracts from high rates to low rates and take a $40 million dollar hit. But how does this help us consumers/patients? I don't see it. It looks like a lot of fancy bookkeeping to me.

Fancy bookkeeping is not going to solve the problem of high health care costs. (Or solve the debt ceiling problem but I refuse to get into that discussion about politicians who are too stuck on their own egos to compromise, negotiate and solve a problem.) Fancy bookkeeping can easily border on that gray area of the law which involves lawyers and prison cells.

While there are good intentions here to reduce health care costs, we need a bit more action than promises. We also need cooperation from everyone in the health care food chain - providers, drug and medical device manufacturers, and insurance companies, etc - to come up with some real plans and compromises and look at how they can restructure the way they do business so to offer better care at lower prices so all of us can remain healthy.

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