WAMU 88.5 : The Big Fix

Focus On Preventative Care

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Michelle from Connecticut wants health care providers to charge people only when they are healthy. This idea is based on Japan's model of health care, and the goal is to put a strong focus on preventive care. Guest Tom Scully says that focusing on preventive care is good, but it would be long time before the U.S. got to Japan's model. Fellow guest Ron Pollack agrees, saying that there is now a focus on the quality, not quantity, of care.

Host Al Lewis presents his idea for "Medicare Bonuses: Get a Health Plan, Get a Check." Each HMO in a county could "bid" for the right to be the default plan in the county where new people on Medicare are auto-enrolled, albeit with the option to dis-enroll at any time. The HMO avoids most of the sales, marketing and enrollment expense and increases its market share in those counties, which allows it to strike better deals with providers. If a senior is willing to try the default HMO for a year, they would get a rebate check. Pollack is not sure that private health insurance plans would provide greater efficiencies than government run plans. Scully says that it is important to get the regulatory scheme right for both public and private health insurance plans.

For our "Little Fix," Joe Brancatelli, business travel columnist for bizjournals.com, suggests having credit cards serve as hotel room keys.

Music: "Time To Move On" by Tom Petty 


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