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#SIMPLIFYGOV

Health Care

Paperwork Doesn't Heal

Doctors, nurses, and patients are drowning in government mandates. The first thing you’re told in a doctor’s office or hospital is not: “We’re here to help.” It’s: “Fill out these forms.”

It’s really stupid that every hour of emergency care generates a commensurate hour of paperwork. Even more stupid: Administrative costs for US health care total around 30% of all healthcare expenditures—that’s over $1 million per doctor every year! The villain is law. Just look at the reimbursement bureaucracy—140,000 coding categories that doctors are supposed to keep straight! Really? There are 21 different codes for spacecraft-related injuries.

The stupid list gets longer. Our unpredictable justice system causes doctors to waste untold billions in defensive medicine—ordering unnecessary tests just in case that headache turns out to be a lawsuit. Legal fear builds an invisible wall between patients and their doctors and nurses.

American health care is a tangled jungle of red tape, confusion, and legal attacks from every direction. No wonder it costs twice as much as most other countries—that’s around $12,000 more for each and every American family. Wouldn’t you rather have that money in your pocket?

What’s the solution?

Here are some simple proposals for pushing the reset button:

  1. We could avoid reimbursement red tape and save about 15% if Medicare and Medicaid were delivered by “integrated care providers” such as the Kaiser system in California;
  2. Creating a reliable system of expert health courts would restore trust between doctors and patients and avoid upwards of $200 billion of unnecessary defensive medicine;
  3. Dense rulebooks about practice guidelines, privacy, and dozens of other well-intentioned goals are piled so high that no one can understand them. They need to be radically simplified so that caregivers can focus on what’s important, and not get diverted to mindless compliance.

Issues:

  • Red Tape

    The administrative burdens facing American healthcare providers are staggering, and every year they consume a larger share of our healthcare spending.

  • Over-Regulation

    The healthcare industry is one of the most heavily-regulated in America. Medicare alone has more pages of regulation than the tax code.

  • Reliable Medical Justice

    Unnecessary tests and procedures, ordered not to help patients but to fend off lawsuits, are enormously expensive, costing our healthcare system $200 billion a year.