Friday, January 11, 2008

Health Reform from an Ec 10 Father

From my inbox:

Hello Professor Mankiw,

I am a cardiologist, my daughter is a former ec10 student of yours. I enjoy your blog and hope you will indulge me on my idea.

For the same price as lst dollar coverage, our family has an HSA which allows us about $1000 per family member per year to spend before we hit the deductible. What we don't spend grows tax-free and we rarely spend the max. Think if everyone had the same incentive--even Medicare and Medicaid!

Then get all the labs, outpatient centers etc to list prices for procedures. When the doctor says "you need a stress test" let the patient shop around--maybe traveling 1 hr could save them $200-300.

The next thing is to make each individual responsible for his own medical records with a small digital recording device like an IPOD. Every time they get an X-Ray, a lab test, stress test, doctor visit- it would be recorded. When the patient sees me in the office I can plug it in and see what tests have been done and get the results and download them into my file. Why should we have a national system of computers and databank when each individual can carry their own with them? I like the idea of personal responsibility!


[name withheld]