Op-ed: Consumer choice and provider competition are keys to lower medical costs

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  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 7:02 p.m.

    There are 3 areas of medical care where prices have come down and service improved even as the rest of the industry has gone the other direction: Cosmetic surgery, Vision correction surgery, and dentistry/orthodontia.

    These 3 areas all provide transparent, up front pricing. They are also paid largely out of pocket rather than via insurance. So, consumers are cost sensitive and they can make informed decisions.

    These areas are also largely elective.

    Well, it turns out that a lot of the rest of medical is also elective, or least elective enough that market forces would work.

    Opponents of free market medicine bring up non-elective, emergency cases. But these are the rarity. They are not bankrupting us, nor driving costs.

    Cost drivers are what we experience routinely. Hip and knee replacements could be shopped around. In urban areas, consumers might choose between several different ERs or InstaCares for urgent, but not immediately life threatening situations. We have months to pick a birthing location. Even cancer patients generally have days to make treatment decisions.

    Transparent pricing is a crucial element to bringing down medical costs without harming care or choice.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Jan. 4, 2018 1:17 p.m.

    To "marxist' ironically, now that teh government is heavily involved in health care, fewer people can afford the doctor now than in 1950.

    There are more options than ICH and U of U hospitals. Blue Cross has hospitals, there are largish businesses like the Ogden Clinic or Tanner clinics, not to mention the countless individual doctors that own their own practice.

    The truth is, if you wanted to shop around, you can and there are many alternatives.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 10:21 a.m.

    @KDave "Reality is, we can shop around for our doctor."

    This isn't the 1950's. Doctors today are employees of large hospital chains and HMO's. In Utah we can "shop around" at IHC and U of U.

  • KDave Moab, UT
    Jan. 4, 2018 9:06 a.m.

    Reality is, we can shop around for our doctor. After that we are relying in his/her expertise in what is best for us.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    Jan. 4, 2018 7:39 a.m.

    Competition is the engine of innovation and efficiency of everything! The alternative to healthcare provider competition is Obamacare (no competition)=out of control costs, massive inefficiencies and poor quality! Goodbye Obamacare and good riddance!

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 3, 2018 9:18 p.m.

    If you're unconscious and need an angioplasty in the next fifteen minutes to live, how are you going to shop for it?
    If the pharma bro is the only one that makes the medication you need, how do you negotiate pricing with him?
    Health care is not a service like carpet cleaning or roof replacement. It is a service, a noble cause we owe one another.
    Profit should have nothing to do with it. Nor should it be able to exploit those who need it.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Jan. 3, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    Market driven healthcare will never happen until the government forces providers to openly share pricing and adhere to that upfront pricing.

    That will never happen republicans and democrats protect the healthcare cartel.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2018 6:47 p.m.

    I recall well the 1950's when we had a market only health care system. Most of the time our family could not afford to see the doctor. So I am dubious.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 3, 2018 5:53 p.m.

    There are some area's in medicine that this would be helpful, as pointed out surgical centers vs hospital based surgeries. One of the biggest drivers pharmaceuticals not so much at least for branded products. Also labs, MRI costs etc would be really hard to figure out etc. Do you really want your labs or scans done where your doctor doesn't have ready access to them?

    Price, transparency, and modern medicine are as clear as mud. If you are in pain or break an ankle, how much shopping around will you do? How can you know all the labs and scans a doctor will want to run before you see your doctor?