Thoughtful and thought-provoking, the Feb. 9 column “ Cost-sharing ministries and the ACA” emphasized health care financing, affordability and accessibility. All people are willing to devote significant resources to health care. Many commit to providing it. But, with unlimited demand and finite resources, this honest relationship has a rub – the frictional administrative costs of connecting, organizing and distributing care.
Even bare-bones, cost-sharing ministries must cipher where scarce resources are most needed or deserved. How much of our hard-earned health care dollars should go toward administration? Overblown administrative costs rob the kitty. Studies confirm siphoning more money toward administration leaves less for direct provision of care, reducing its overall quantity and quality. A tough line to draw, but we are certainly beyond it: The United States remains a serious outlier; no country spends nearly as much.
For example, with our money we pay administration $3 for every dollar that a Canadian does. Well-intentioned administrations can become causes unto themselves. And, less innocently, during the recent calamitous run-up of U.S. health care excessive corporatization, systematic reimbursement scheming, profit-taking and greed provided critical terminal impetus for the ACA.
Further plan structure standardization and pricing/reimbursement transparency would help market forces contain nonproductive costs. Evolving, let’s keep our eye on the health care “ball.”
Kenneth J. Fortier