In response to my piece on price transparency in the N&O, Wally Dawson writes:
Max Borders asserted in his March 6 Point of View article "When consumers are driving health care" that the lack of cost transparency in our health-care system is a problem. While I agree, that issue is not driving America’s health-care cost bus. True cost drivers are insurance claims, advances in technologies, a vast number of uninsured and the practice of defensive medicine — issues over which health savings accounts (HSAs) have little influence.
Moreover, cost shouldn’t be the only factor consumers consider when making health-care decisions. If you needed a cardiac catheterization, would you visit the cheapest cardiologist or the more-expensive cardiologist who performed thousands of procedures with few complications? Cost transparency works only when patients also have access to reliable quality-of-care data, which aren’t readily available.
Many HSAs reward patients who use health care sparingly. They need to financially reward patients who use health care wisely by paying for efforts that create healthier people less prone to disease.
I support consumer-driven health care, and I agree that HSAs represent the next frontier in medical insurance. But for HSAs to work, America’s health-care system needs a bigger fix than a doctor simply posting the cost of a standard office visit on his front door.