Healthcare Reform

The initiative to make sure more people get health-care insurance coverage – the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as the Obama-care, should be seen as positive. 

Ensuring health-care of citizens is a duty of the government. Who else will come forward to take the responsibility of ensuring healthcare of citizens who need it most?

But why do we have so little enrollment? One reason is surely the failure of the website to respond. With the best and brightest Software Engineers in our country, it can’t be a big problem.

Are there other reasons? It’s a new system all together. Is the website too difficult to navigate and use, especially to the people (who are economically lagging and thus technologically lagging) for whom the whole reform is targeted? Why don’t we educate people on how to use the site? We can extend the time of getting insured in the marketplace and let people spend more time to familiarize themselves with the new system.

We can make necessary changes so that those who want to keep their previous insurances can do so.

It’s a new system – we have to solve problems as we face them along the way.

In the meantime, we can come up with creative solutions that solve problems our health-care system face, solutions that minimize costs but are still more effective and reach more people. American Healthcare System is under-performing and a lot more expensive compared to other developed countries.

Why not prioritize disease prevention programs and motivational programs that encourage healthy lifestyle choices so that we have less sick people to start with? Obesity and poor lifestyle choices are surely among causes of diseases. Less sick people translates into less visits to doctors and less visits to doctors translate into less health insurance prices. If health insurance prices go down, more people would have health insurances.

Let’s try to understand it through an example.

Suppose, visits to doctor cost a person say, “A” $100 a month and another person say, “B” $50 a month. Now, the insurance company that sells healthcare insurances to “A” and “B”, sells each of the monthly insurances for $80. So, “A” and “B” together spend $80 + $80 = $160 to buy their insurances and the insurance company has to spend $100 + $50 = $150 to bear the cost of visits to doctor. Now, suppose “A” and “B” learned to take better care of their health. As a result, they have monthly healthcare costs of $60 and $40 respectively. Now, the insurance company has no way but to reduce their insurance fees. Thus, by taking better care of their health, “A” and “B” forced the insurance companies to reduce prices for insurance.

There can be so many different solutions to different inter-related problems if only we are wise enough to “define” the “problem” we want to solve creatively!