People must take more responsibility and make more educated decisions to combat increasing health-care costs, Sen. Orrin Hatch says.
Hatch, R-Utah, said Saturday that a "one-size fits all" solution to the problem of delivering quality health care to all Americans will not work. He told a seminar on Health Care in the Next Quarter-Century that people ask too much of the health-care system and overuse care.Hatch also said that U.S. health-care providers need "a stiff dose of competition" initiated by publication of the quality of their standardized services. Public information of this type will allow individuals to pick the best provider to meet their needs, he said.
Hatch has drafted a bill that would pre-empt state-mandated benefit laws and prevent legislators from catering to special-interest groups.
His 10-year cost-containment-approach bill also would call for expansion of community-based health care efforts, such as providing immunization or cholesterol screening. Treatment guidelines would be implemented with no state interference in the patient-provider relationship, an aspect which adds to the advancement of medical care, he said.
Health-care professionals would have to cut their costs, and insurers would have to cut their premiums and discriminatory practices, he added. But regulation of those issues will not be easy nor free.
He warned against overregulation and overmandating by the states, which, he said, has added to the dilemma of spiraling costs of the health-care system. In order to change the poor delivery of private-sector health services, changes must first be made in public health programs, he said.
"Money is not the solution," Hatch said. "We must find a way to streamline our health-care program without just throwing money at the problem."