Saturday, April 28, 2012

Newt Gingrich's Saving Lives & Saving Money 6

For my write-up today on Saving Lives & Saving Money: Transforming Health and Healthcare, I'll highlight what Newt Gingrich says on pages 110-111:

"In a world where we have the ability to do our own trading on the stock market, it should be unacceptable that we are still at the mercy of an insurance company to understand care options, provider choices, and costs.  The role of a patient has evolved into a dependency relationship in the healthcare delivery system rather than the driver of the system.  Access to information and knowledge about healthcare will empower individuals, as consumers, to make the best healthcare choices in deciding which procedures, treatments, and preventive care will meet their mental, emotional, and physical needs.  We want to know that the physician performing our hip and knee replacement has done the procedure enough times to be proficient at it.  We want to know that if we have type 2 diabetes, our doctor has a high percentage of success in treating patients with that condition."

But what if you do an online search and find a doctor you like, and the insurance company doesn't cover a visit to that particular doctor?  Knowledge is not necessarily power, especially in a system where one is dependent on the insurance company.  I wonder how Canada would handle this: Can Canadians visit any doctor in the country, and the government pays for it?


  1. Can Canadians visit any doctor? And will insurance pay for it? Yes. In principle. But would one do it for reasons such as you give, as if we knew in advance that this was the 'right' doctor? Impossible in general I think, but for some specialized operations, the reference will be made between doctors and specialists. I can only speak from experience. I have had relatively good health and have been to doctors all over the place depending on where I was at a time of need. I have never had a bad experience with any of them in any place. If I am out of province, there may be a need to pay and then claim a refund back home. This may vary from province to province. But health care is universal. And I never investigated in advance whether such and such was the right doctor for this or that symptom.

    The question seems to be like a shoe on the wrong foot. It's not about saving money, but about caring for people.

  2. I agree that caring for people should be the number 1 priority. But saving money needs to factor somewhere into the equation because of the vast cost of health care in the U.S., and the need to make it cheaper for people.


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