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We are the Drivers of Health Care Costs


Lisa Ventriss, President of the Vermont Business Roundtable, had this to say recently about health care costs. We agree.

 

Unless we, the consumers of health care, adapt and change our expectations, the costs in the present health care model are unsustainable. To reduce costs, we must ration care. No one wants to say or endorse it, but it's the truth.

 

Without rationing, costs will continue spiraling out of control, ObamaCare notwithstanding.

 

Containing Hospital Costs

The Holy Grail in health care reform is controlling costs, so Vermont’s recently passed legislation, among other things, imposes limits in the extent to which hospitals may request rate increases. Society, however, has had no limits placed upon it, either to the volume or type of medical care that it seeks; care that hospitals are committed to deliver, as the provider of last resort, regardless of one’s ability to pay for it. So the pressures that hospitals will face ~ increased utilization from an aging, entitled population and declining reimbursements ~ are like those between a rock and a hard place – painful and unyielding.

 

As institutions, hospitals and health systems typically are the major economic engines in their communities; large employers with strong traditions of community engagement and complex dynamics between themselves and their various constituencies. And like all other employers, they have only so many places to turn in which to reduce expenses as they absorb new mandates or costs; personnel. The key difference though, between them and everyone else, is that they must continue to provide services…until they can’t.

 

My conversations with hospital CEOs this summer revealed how challenging the new world order has become. And an article in the Rutland Herald this week talked about the efforts of Vermont’s hospitals to comply with the new law. Health care “reform” has historically referred to reform of the insurance and provider communities. However, until the consumers of health care are ready to reform themselves, there can be no real costs saved. We can’t have it all. Not with this model.