I am a healthcare professional, a RN for 33 years working in acute care and the insurance industry. In the past my family has had their share of medical issues.
1. 1995 my 13 yr old son was hit by a Chevy Blazer while riding his bike sustaining a closed head trauma and bumper fracture just below his right knee. I can see how I needed to stop the lifeflight to shop around for the cheapest trauma center. That bill was over 48K in 1995 dollars
2. 1995 (fun year) my 72 yr old father falls down the John Day river bank and has a compound fracture of his hip. He has four ambulance transports and a fixed wing transport to the nearest trauma hospital. Yep, stop everything .... we need the lowest bidder.
3. My 17 yr old son wakes me up at 4 am with a severe belly ache, I call our PCP and was told to meet us at the ER. He is in OR in an hour with a ruptured appendix. So I am to call around to find the LOWEST bidder while my son dies of peritonitis?
Do you want healthcare from the lowest bidder like some government vendor?
Think of it..... The concept of choice in healthcare is a facility that has a record of low infections, safety, high rate of experience in your type of issue with good outcomes. NONE of that is considered by the "SHOPPING" for healthcare.
The front page story on Adm. Joe Sestak daughter's care at a Washington DC hospital is the heart of this issue. When your family is in need of healthcare, choices are made on experience in that specific disorder, their track record, is that facility a institute of excellence, not the lowest bidder in an low bid auction.
Your 55 yr old spouse is having chest pain, short of breath and clutching their chest. Just tell them to hold on while you find the yellow pages and do your SHOPPING!
Your Granny suddenly has right sided weakenss and slurred speech, tell her to hold on because Pops needs to go SHOPPING!
Your daughter is 8 months pregnant and has a sudden onset of labor with profuse bleeding. She was told she has placenta previa (really serious) and you tell her to stop bleeding to death so that your son-in-law can go SHOPPING!
Your two year old has a temp of 103.4 and has been screaming for the last hour, tugging their right ear. Then the child starts having seizures but you tell the child to just wait because YOU have to go SHOPPING!
You live in a small town on the coast of Oregon with a small 50 bed hospital and the next nearest facility is 60-90 minutes away on a winding road through the coastal range. So what are your choices? You only have one game in town, do you think that facility will negotiate a "deal"?
This is why Health Savings Account ARE NOT THE ANSWER to the healthcare crisis