It seems we’re just beginning to take to heart (pun intended) the lessons of the auto industry, that huge open-ended defined benefits aren’t good for economic health (it’s playing out in the public sector as well), but there’s something we can learn that’s good for our physical health as well.

The following was reported in a recent ACC News Digest issue:

In a front-page story, the Boston Globe (3/25, A1, Lazar) reports that “the number of Massachusetts residents enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans nearly doubled last year as employers and consumers looked for lower-cost options amid soaring medical prices.” A new “report…says people in these plans indeed spent significantly less on their medical care, compared with families with more traditional coverage, but they also cut back on preventive healthcare, such as cancer screenings and childhood vaccinations. Surprisingly, they did so even though most of the plans allowed people to get preventive care without paying an up-front deductible.”

A return to insurance as safety net is both necessary and inevitable, as the number of patients explodes and resources shrink. This mandates that people take more financial responsibility for their health care maintenance, the insurance acting as a backstop for catastrophic illness, as it was originally intended to function. But how do you get someone who feels well to pay for routing health maintenance instead of using the money to get that new LCD TV? Here’s where we can take a page from the auto industry playbook: Simply require a certain minimal level of routine care to maintain your insurance, just as you would for your car warranty. Should you fail to do this, you would be subject to additional charges or even expulsion. Of course, exceptions would have to be made for the truly indigent.

This seems to me to be such a no-brainer that I’m surprised it isn’t already a feature of our health care system. Then again, common sense is often in uncommonly short supply when it comes to the health care industry.


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  1. theseep Says:

    Isn’t that exactly what the Healthcare Reform Act requires? Requiring basic healthcare coverage is the main part of the bill that the GOP is battling and trying to make unconstitutional. You should get on the horn with Boehner and let him know that they’re on the wrong path. Again.

    • Davecor Says:

      I:m not one of those categorically opposed to mandatory health insurance requirements. I don’t think it’s rational to require hospitals to provide free emergency and urgent care yet allow the recipients of said care to skate by without taking financial responsibility, barring extreme financial hardship.

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