Could health care reform save money?

National health care reform might cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 trillion, which obviously is a big sticking point in any discussion of meaningful health care reform, but according to a new report released yesterday by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG), health care reform can ultimately save the nation $3 trillion, with billions of dollars of benefits for every state in the union, including $54.5 billion in Wisconsin. Here are a few of the savings mentioned in WISPIRG’s report:

  • Streamlining health care billing and cutting red tape can reduce $350 billion of waste nationally, nearly $7 billion in Wisconsin.
  • Adoption of health information technology and electronic medical records can save $180 billion nationally, $3.5 billion in Wisconsin.
  • Investing in unbiased research into the best treatments, drugs, and devices can save $480 billion nationally, over $9 billion in Wisconsin.
  • Creating a public health insurance option to compete on a level playing field with private insurers will reduce national costs by $230 billion or more nationally, $4.5 billion in Wisconsin.

I can speak with some certainty about point #1 on the list above, because my wife worked for several years as a medical biller and surgery scheduler while she was in school. She often commented on how much wasted time and money was involved in dealing with a myriad of insurance companies and their labyrinthine policies, procedures, and paperwork, and she insists to this day that standardizing some of the forms and procedures the different companies utilize would save money.

Given the fact that the free market hasn’t driven prices down or provided coverage to all Americans, I think it’s time to move in a new direction, especially if that new direction could save some money.


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4 thoughts on “Could health care reform save money?

  1. On the red tape & paperwork…can you actually say with a straight face that you think the government will require LESS paperwork & red tape. Really?

    Everybody was grumbling about the mountain of paperwork just to get the money to trade in your car (and even more for the dealer)….

  2. Any economics teacher will tell you ,you can’t predict savings. Unless you have A crystal ball and can look five years ahead all your numbers mean nothing.

    1. By your logic, we can’t predict costs with any great accuracy either, so maybe national health care will be less costly than what some on the right would have us believe.

  3. I agree with ray. Financial predictions are wisps of smoke that change continuously. Full of assumptions that are often wrong by degree if not by design.

    And yet, I stand firm on the principle that the best place to spend the wealth of the country is upon its people’s health, education, and general welfare. Investments in people always seem to bear fruit. Investments in ideology fail all the time.

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