Christmas has secret Santa not secret prices

It’s an amazing reality when a sentence has “secret prices” and “hospitals” together and close to one another. The medical industry isn’t a traditional business, mostly because saving lives is first, and making money should be second. The percentage the medical industry grabs from the gross domestic product is nearing 20%, which is triple what it was in the 1960s. In fact more than 1 in 10 people are employed in the business of keeping us healthy and alive, so someone at the Christmas party is a Doctor or a Nurse.

Insurance costs are high, prescription costs are high and both industries complain they are not high enough. The drug marketplace asserts solidly that if the US government tries to negotiate lower prices, it will put the old kibosh on pharmaceutical innovation and invention. It’s all a bunch of hogwash.

I have marveled at the drug business for most of my life. First thing that is hard to believe is that they advertise here. There are only two of 200 countries in the world that allow drug advertising (the other believe it or not is New Zealand) and we are one of them. Second thing is that for one “maybe’ that drugs offer; BlankBlanka may help with your migraines, there are side effects that to me sound worse than the ailments; like spontaneous discharge, dry mouth, cardiac arrest, stroke or incontinence.

Medicine must have integrity at its core; patient information, quality of care and patient outcome and pricing. The idea that blue shield pays one amount and an underinsured person pays a different amount is beyond me. Finally government sees fit to fix the problem. It’s about time.

Three facts matter; (1) if you make your income from insurance it will be managed by the channel that is the payor, (2) If you’re licensed in an industry that serves the public you have no secrets, and (3) These industries are ones where you “make a little” (i.e. lower margins than open market businesses) and “sell a lot,” so if that is not interesting head for the exits.

We need to manage medical and drug expenses in a way that drops the 70 year upward trend line with what stock market followers would call a “correction” because no industry can go nowhere but up. It would seem for the first time in generations that life expectancy is not increasing so we should expect a decrease in rates that mirrors the results of services.

Be mindful, be watchful and good luck!

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