Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is there a way to fix spiralling health care costs?

Health care costs are out of control everywhere. At the city, provincial, federal, world level - no one has figured out how to come to grips with the rising costs of delivering health care to citizens.

In Canada, we pride ourselves on our healthcare system, but if you talk to a small group of people about their experiences in the system, you realize that there are serious issues out there.

Wait times, lousy service, surly staff, problems with facilities - the list of complaints can grow long very fast.

Still, at least we're not like the US, Canadians like to believe. But despite the rhetoric of the health care debate in our neighbour to the south, they did pass new legislation that could change the game. Whether the legislation - Obamacare - survives, is an open question. But it does give some people hope.

I came across The Hot Spotters in The New Yorker that looks at a small group of doctors and health care professionals who are applying some exciting (and common sense) ideas to caring for the neediest patients and in the process lowering overall costs dramatically. But although the benefits seem obvious, they face huge hurdles in implementing their changes on a larger scale.

Not everyone, it seems, thinks that controlling costs, or making sick people healthy, is good for business.

This is a fascinating issue and a very well-written (and lengthy!) article. But if you're interested in this topic, you'll find the ideas outlined here worth considering. I hope that we start to see programs like these starting up in Canada (perhaps they already are?) where one hopes the political climate will be more open to implementing them.

Here's the link to The New Yorker article.

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