As a doctor, my practice is also a business; it's how I make my living. Health care is the only industry (to my knowledge) where a service is provided at a particular price, but state, federal mandates, and insurance companies substantially discount fees for services rendered.
Try walking into an attorney's office or grocery store and telling them you're not going to pay full price for the service or goods because you don't think it's "usual or customary pricing" - you’ll be in court or go hungry! But it's okay to do in a doctor's office. Is that fair?
Current MA health care reform has dramatically and negatively affected businesses by increasing labor costs, eliminating jobs, and reducing production. Businesses have been forced out-of-state, or flat out shut their doors as a result.
Its effects have trickled down to employees as lower wages, higher premium contributions, and job uncertainty as companies struggle with realities of "reform". Residents pay for health care reforms with higher sales and property taxes. Health care reform mandates have not decreased costs, but instead added economic stress at every level and dramatically driven up costs.
Three reforms can be invoked immediately without devastating economic consequences:
> Tort reform would result in a 5-9% cost reduction and savings of $60 billion to $108 billion per year, without affecting quality of care. As an added benefit, total physician malpractice premiums would drop by $6.3 billion.
> Purchase of insurance across state lines promotes competition, and the resulting moderation of mandatory benefits could reduce premiums by 20-50%.
> A subsidized "public option" providing coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions allows broader coverage for those citizens who need it most.
Health care reform should focus on reducing costs and expanding access in a responsible way, not with tax increases and debilitating cuts to vital programs. We need rational and responsible steps to eliminate waste and fraud to bend the cost curve down here in MA.