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The Case for Higher Physician Reimbursement


Why smart policies must reward smart care by physicians.

If airlines cut pay, increased flight segments, and piled on paperwork for their pilots, each responsible for thousands of lives and flying a quarter-billion-dollar aircraft, there would not only be an overwhelming national hue and outcry, people would die and the airlines would fail.

In the healthcare insurance world, both public and private, this is exactly what is happening to the physicians who drive the healthcare system, and somehow the national conversation has been manipulated to focus on who is buying insurance, who is not, and how poor people can’t afford it.

The math is simple, and the logic is not only inscrutable, but ominous.

The math: Physicians, who control more than 85 percent of the cost of healthcare with their prescription pads, receive less than 6 percent of the overall healthcare spending in the United States, leaving many practices struggling or in the red, patients shortchanged, and the focus on patient engagement just another talking point.

The logic: Trading physicians’ time with patients - which is proven to positively impact health, wellness, patient satisfaction, and engagement in their self-care (by dramatically reducing the overall spend for their care) - for more and more administrative and clerical reports. All the while this ratchets down per-encounter payments, further exacerbating the problem, a deeply disquieting truth.

Whatever the real motive, the people, their employers, and our local, state, and federal government can no longer afford it. This policy in particular has pushed our healthcare system over Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point, and has us gathering speed on the downhill slide toward national fiscal ruin.

Changing national policy to giving physicians prudent resources, tools and the power to properly manage the healthcare system is the only thing that can pull us back.


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