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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

A Hidden American Subculture: Health Care Overtreatment

There have been quite a few issues with the United States health care system.

Some main issues with the system have historically been linked to three main problems: cost, access and sustainability.

The Affordable Care Act, for example, which was signed into law March of 2010 and consists primarily of health insurance reform, aims to resolve many of the aforementioned problems.

By addressing cost, ?accessibility and sustainability in developing the ACA, the reform has actually aimed to improve some of the ?existing concerns about how Americans are covered by health insurance.

However, there are still several looming issues that our administration must deal with.

One of these issues is the American ?subculture of ?overtreatment.

Both doctors and patients in the U.S. rely heavily on unnecessary treatments and, as a result, we’re often left with the bulky costs of overtreatment.

But why would both ?patients and physicians ever want to pay for things that are superfluous or even risky?

Besides the obvious ?financial incentives attached to overtreatment, it is extremely important for people to realize that doctors in the U.S. are easily subjected to malpractice lawsuits.

Thus, in an attempt to take precautionary measures and avoid malpractice suits, doctors often advocate for excessive ?treatments.

However, doctors are not the only ones to blame for overtreatment.

Oftentimes, patients also tend to seek out treatments they don’t really need. And that’s a problem.

It might just be American subculture to want things we don’t need.

Or, there is a possibility that it might be hard to grasp the concept that doing ?everything to be safe might actually be bad.

One-third of health care spending is on treatments and tests that aren’t actually necessary and in some ?cases may cause more harm.

The American College of Physicians cites 37 clinical situations where screening did not promote health but actually hurt patients.

As our current health care system is laid out, we have a “fee-for-service ?system.”

For every service doctors provide, they typically get a lump sum of money.

This makes sense for a typical business model, but not for our health care ?system.

Our “fee-for-service-system” has historically been laid out to encourage ?overtreatment, mostly because doctors are motivated by financial incentives.

While there are certainly non-financial incentives for doctors to help their patients get better, their financial motives are often at conflict with their intrinsic motivations.

While the Affordable Care Act has tried to fix some of the problems ?associated with the “fee-for-service system,” not enough was done.

But here’s a solution.

We encourage incentives for doctors who favor ?quality over financial ?incentives.

We should be paying doctors more when they provide higher quality care for patients.

kajsingh@indiana.edu

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