22 de gener 2018

Payment systems vs. prices in health care

Payment Methods: How They Work

The problem in health care is not that prices play a role—that is unavoidable. The problem is that prices are distorted in ways that result in inefficient allocation of health care resources. Patients and physicians use too much of health care services that are of low value and not enough of services that are of high value.
This statement refers to US private health care. It may refer to any private health system. The JAMA article reflects an interesting and forgotten issue: The Importance of Relative Prices in Health Care Spending. Data is usually unavailable, and few studies are able to show the implications of relative prices on outcomes.
My impression is that we should review the role of prices in health care and understand better that we do need payment systems, that beyond the standard Hayek signal for producers and consumers, there is a signal of appropriate acces that sends the regulator. This is what some health systems try to apply in public settings, and what we did in Catalonia long ago.
Therefore, the key issue is not to define the method as this report does, though it is necessary. The most important focus should be devoted to the environment and the process that finally will guarantee access and quality of outcomes.

PS. By the way, does anybody know where current payment system in Catalonia stands? Glups!