Insurance companies vs Doctors/Hospitals, Who’s to Blame?

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Health care reform has been a important and popular topic during President Obama’s reign as leader of the United States. Due to recent the statement that was released by the UnitedHealth Group on March 4, 2010, I have decided to express my opinion.

First, I want to explain what UHC stated. You can visit this link to read the entire statement. Basically stated, “The majority of our medical cost increases will be from hospitals and doctors charging higher prices and, to a lesser extent, from increased treatment volumes.” This is a confusing statement and misleading the public. Simply, doctors who are under contract with all insurance companies, are bound by a fee schedule that is set by each insurance company. Therefore, how can we say that doctors are charging more and that is why costs have increased? What is happening is insurance companies are making more money. UHC statement continues to state that they have only a 4.4% profit increase in 2009 and are rank “only” 87 out of 215 from other health insurances. I would consider this statement as that they are doing very well considering the down economy in 2009.

However, doctors are not totally off the hook. We are at fault as well. Insurance companies are wrong about stating that doctors are charging more, but they are partially right about doctors causing “increased treatment volumes”. There has been an increase quantity of physician owned surgery centers and MRI centers during the last 8-10 years. In order for doctors to continue their participation in ownership, collect monthly dividends and profit sharing they have pressure to perform more procedures and tests. This has become a losing battle for both parties.

The answer is simple, but not going to be easy. Both the insurance companies and doctors will have to sacrifice whether our health system becomes run by the government or not. One thing is for sure, that humans will always need doctors, therefore, make the doctors happy or the human race will be greatly devastated.

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Dr. Dennis Timko, is a podiatrist in the St. Louis, Eureka, MO. area. Dr. Timko specializes in diabetic foot care, foot surgery, AFOs, and orthotics. Dr. Timko is the solo owner of Arch City Foot & Ankle, which has been in business since 2003.

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