In Julius Caesar, Cassius tells his friend Brutus “the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings”.
Here, an argument was made that in the best interest of the public, Julius Caesar must be stopped from becoming monarch of Rome.
Who is today’s Brutus who must be convinced that profit-driven healthcare run by obscenely paid business moguls in this country’s current system must be stopped if we are to prevent our economy from being driven off the cliff?
Consider logistics. The American healthcare system collectively – hospitals, physicians, drug companies, insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, they all constitute this giant financial matrix that has ensnared our economy in a spider web that is spun on threads of excessive, unnecessary and overpriced care. The stealth and tensile strength of this highly efficient financial web largely stems from its hidden transparency. The lack of transparency makes the web difficult to see and understand – for many until it is too late.
The public is, for the most part, the poorly informed and unwitting prey that flies into this web of confusion. For individuals covered by healthcare plans (employer and individual plans, now including ObamaCare), the ease with which this takes place is facilitated by the comforting notion that they don’t have to worry about making informed choices, i.e., choosing doctors and facilities wisely and well and taking steps that allow them to effectively participate in the cost and quality outcomes that should govern decisions.
Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Who in a position to do something about healthcare is fiddling today?
After numerous discussions and initiatives with expert colleagues around the country, the collective opinion arrow points at American business communities which simply can’t be bothered by efforts required to change their status quo mentalities. In this instance, the effort should be simply powered by a strength in numbers mentality. If the leading employers in any major metropolitan area were to band together in a common cause to create an efficiently administered bargaining unit powered by information, population and prestige, they could carve out a high-performing narrow network of providers (facilities and physicians) with whom they could bargain for packages of services that are 100% transparently priced and priced well below the joke that is today’s norm for charges for services.
What prevents this from happening? Why all the fiddling?
Corporate hubris and easy acceptance of the status quo is the answer, as well as steering wheels in the hands of the wrong business decision makers. Who puts the blinders on is an easy question: it is all those who profit from the lack of clear vision on the part of deep pocket companies with health care benefit plans. It is employers who still foot the lion’s share of health costs and who feel the crunch of healthcare costs on their bottom lines. Employers are mollified and hindered by insurance companies, hospital systems and consultants who dread the notion of a united front under a single flag to conquer local costs. For them, dealing with a well-oiled collaborative effort powered by an awesome data analytical engine would threaten the loss of business revenues. For them, as long as the herd is scattered, there are opportunities for revenues from nonsense like wellness programs and empty rhetoric “groundbreaking ACOs” , and the feeble corporate bottom line fixes to be gained from consulting studies that favor pushing more costs onto employees under the guise of a “skin in the game” cost control mentality.
As far as the out of control health care economy, the fault dear Brutus is everyone who is fiddling.