U.S. health-care quality exceeds the rest of the world's, but how long must you wait in the emergency room for care when most of the uninsured use it for their non-emergency care? And why should insurance companies be able to settle a bill for far less than the average uninsured patient has to pay or face bankruptcy?
One suggestion: A "Truth in Treatment" requirement. After first aid is performed and a patient is stable, or prior to any non-emergency treatment, require the hospital to provide a document detailing the recommended care with an itemized cost of treatment.
The document would explain the purpose and probable results of each suggested procedure, test and medicine. The patient, with consulting with his doctor, would elect which procedures and course of treatment to be used, and would sign an informed consent form for the treatment, including a release for the hospital from any liability that may result from the patient's refusal of a particular item of the recommended treatment.
This idea needs a lot of work, but having the patient understand and approve the cost of care should significantly reduce costs. It would also be helpful to have the document include the costs charged by other health-care providers in the community to encourage real competition, which seems to be lacking today.
I encourage our conservative lawmakers to formulate real ideas rather than sticking their heads in the sand and repeating, "Just say no." I'm definitely not convinced that the liberals' plan is appropriate. I'm simply asking for more ideas to consider.