The border crisis is eating everyone’s attention right now. That’s largely reasonable. The problem has escalated to such proportions that even left-wing extremists were forced to acknowledge it. They’re getting absolutely everything wrong about the crisis, but they say that admitting you have a problem is the first step.
Even so, there is more going on in the world than mass illegal immigration and potential war with Iran. In fact, there are even some positive things happening right under our distracted noses. Take President Trump’s latest executive order. He very well may have fixed our health care system with a stroke of the pen.
Trump’s New Order
The President issued a new executive order. It was addressed to the Department of Health and Human Services and will ultimately affect several other departments and agencies. The gist of the order charges the Department of Health with crafting regulation to force healthcare providers to improve pricing transparency.
If you’ve seen a doctor in the last decade, you understand the problem. First, they have you fill out a bunch of paperwork. Then, they let you wait a long time to be seen. A few weeks later, you get a bill with no explanation of how the expenses are itemized and why you’re paying what they are charging.
President Trump’s order is to change this so that you can see what a medical service will cost before you have to commit to paying. It’s pretty revolutionary, even if it’s been a basic part of the rest of the economy for centuries.
How Much Will it Really Help?
There are very few issues where the left and right strongly agree, but everyone can admit that our healthcare system is a mess right now. Mostly, costs and other problems all stem from three key issues. President Trump’s order will help with two of them.
The first and most obvious problem is administrative bloat. It’s said that 40 percent of healthcare costs go to paying administrators. This is because our system marries a bunch of different payment schemes that were never made to work together. In order to sift through the multiple insurance nightmares tied to any visit, hospitals staff employs more billing experts than doctors.
President Trump’s order doesn’t cure this problem overnight, but transparent pricing will force providers to keep up with each other. Ultimately, billing and administration will have to improve their efficiency. In the long-term, that will make health care less expensive.
The second problem stems from a lack of competition. Even though we have tons of doctors in this country, they don’t have to directly compete for business. That is largely due to the insurance nightmare that was created by Obamacare. In most states, there are very few payment options, so healthcare providers are really working with those companies for pricing instead of the actual patients. When you remove patients from the billing process, you get skyrocketing prices. More than anything, this is what Mr. Trump’s plan is addressing.
The third issue with health care is over-regulation. That’s a more complicated problem, and this order won’t really solve it.
Where Do We Go From Here?
President Trump’s new idea will definitely help with the runaway costs of health care. Alone, this executive order won’t be enough. It’s an amazing first step, but it has to be backed by a more efficient outlook on healthcare regulation.
Most importantly, we have to address the eternal nightmares that are Medicare and Medicaid. Most people don’t realize it, but these two programs insure more people than any two single-payer systems combined. As long as we cling to these broken programs, we’ll never really be able to fix health care in America.
President Trump’s executive order might be enough to stop the rapid increases in costs. It’s an amazing way for him to overcome the inadequacies of Congress and actually make progress on an issue that has only gotten worse over the past decade. If we can vote some competent Representatives and Senators into office in 2020, they can follow up on President Trump’s success, and we can have working health care once again. The President is doing his part. The rest will be up to us.