‘Tackle Root Cause Of Our Healthcare Costs’

January 24, 2019 | 16 Comments

“Until Government is prepared to make the hard decisions and control the overutilisation of some health services, the amount spent on healthcare will continue to rise,” Shadow Health Minister Pat Gordon-Pamplin said in response to the BHeC 2018 National Health Accounts Report.

The report said, “As has been the general year-over-year trajectory, total health financing and expenditure increased. This increase of $20 million in spending represents a 2.26% uptick, which supports what is expected as the population ages and our communities learn more effective ways to prevent and manage the existing burden of chronic disease.”

Ms Gordon-Pamplin said, “I want to remind people what we said in our Reply to the Throne Speech as it is still totally relevant.

“We said: It is unlikely that there will be any meaningful reductions in healthcare costs until Government is prepared to tackle the main drivers of increasing costs, which are overutilization and unrestrained provider fees.

“Let me repeat that the real reason health costs are so high, is due to overuse of certain services. It is noticeable that Premier Burt has outlined nothing in this Throne Speech to tackle the root cause of our healthcare costs.

“The reality is that within five years, healthcare costs will reach $1 billion. We believe that a public register to track utilisation across the whole system will lead to a more transparent and meaningful conversation about which services are being overutilised.

“This will remove the ability for those with vested interests to divert progress towards a sustainable and affordable health care solution for all Bermudians.”

“This Government can talk all it likes about different insurance systems, but unless, or until, it is prepared to take some tough decisions, until there is better control of what is used and how often, until we are able to get more people on the Island to spread the cost of health care, the reality is that costs will just continue to rise.

“It should really alarm people that healthcare costs for a community the size of a small US town are forecast to reach $1billion.”

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Comments (16)

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  1. politricks says:

    I had to take my child to the fracture clinic a few moths ago and the doctor on duty literally looked at my kid’s injury for literally less than 2 minutes and sent us on our way. There was no x-ray taken, no cast put on or any other procedure performed. The doctor literally touched the sore spot and said it will heal fast.

    We got a bill just last week which showed that we were charge just under $300!

    So yes I agree there needs to be a cap on the services provided by these doctors as some are completely ripping the public off.

  2. Financially Exhausted Bermudians says:

    Well it’s been a get Rich Quick Scheme for so long …,. They’ve adapted to the extra finance in their lives and it won’t easy to adjust to fair prices. The whole industry is responsible.
    Just Man Up and stop Gouging the Working Poor !!!

  3. 2 Bermudas says:

    Burt couldn’t handle the pressure so he gave the Ministry of Finance to a rookie!! Ha ha ha!!

    Funny the Peoples’ Campaign is awfully quiet on this one. Why would that be?!?!

  4. It needs to be Said says:

    Root cause? I will tell you what the root cause is. Greed. These insurance companies boast in the news how they make $40,000,000 profit off of us each year, and their CEO’s and big-shots take home massive bonuses of our hard earned money. That is the problem. If I ran this island, I would make a law where essential services should have caps on the level of profit they make. Obviously. I wish I would run for politics and fix this poor island. I pay $1,000 or more per month myself for health ins., which is $14,000 a year. This is equivalent to my rent. And what do I get for it? I have had one single dental operation in an entire decade, 11 years to be exact, and the insurance company still forced me to pay about 75% of the cost. Why am I paying out like $160,000 to a company who cant even bother to give me $1,000 for an operation? Isn’t that what insurance is for? Or does it exist as an excuse to monopolize an essential service, and milk as much money out of the public as possible in a short time? How many Bermudians suffer, go hungry, fail to pay rent, because they have to pay so much money per month for insurance they dont even benefit from? I go to the doctor and i still have to pay $40 for a short visit. Why, when I am paying $14,000 a year!? So the insurance companies can afford to let their big-shots and bosses wear nice clothes and eat at fancy restaurants and buy big boats? Give me a break! End this nonsense or Bermuda will go into ruin.

  5. Realist says:

    What does over utilisation of services mean? Is the opposition minister suggesting patients be denied scans, blood work, MRIs just to cut costs. Maybe we are overcharging on those services. Maybe we need some balance in what can be charged by doctors. But I know if I’m in pain and suffering I want whatever test that will get to the root cause.

  6. DeOnion says:

    Not to mention $1.2m …..

    • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

      There has never been a co-pay charged for diagnostic tests at Bermuda Healthcare Services or Brown-Darrell Clinic.
      For those who think that the PLP “gave ” us anything should know that it was simply a response to PARTIALLY COMPENSATE us for the decision by the OBA to cut our fees by up to 87%.
      We are just beginning to respond. The people deserve a choice and they will get it!

      • Anbu says:

        We better get it considering we just gave u almost 2 million of our money. Why so butthurt abt lowering costs for scans? That was a huge service for us. Go ahead with your smarta*s smug retort. And yes before u call it out. I use a psuedonym. Honorable my a*s.

  7. Not exactly says:

    I have no doubt that an independent register will provide the same information as when the OBA was in Government: diagnostic services and scans are both overutilised and overpricing on a comparative basis for our jurisdiction. Far from accepting that these services are overpriced: the PLP unwound the regulations to curb cost of living increases in medical care by paying of the good doctor to the tune of $1.2M. Make no mistake, that payment had nothing to do with metrics or fairness, but was simply a transfer of taxpayer money to a member of the PLP political elite.

    Furthermore, a register would capture the full cost of services as many doctors are simply submitting the insurance refund amount to the insurers and charging patients the co-pay directly.

  8. Pondering says:

    Why do I have to pay such excessive co-pays when I already pay extra to have the most expensive option my insurance offers?

    I’m still working so I feel sorry for those who struggle to pay if they’re not.

  9. Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

    I agree with MP Pamplin that the WHOLE system should be reviewed.

  10. Joe Bloggs says:

    “We said: It is unlikely that there will be any meaningful reductions in healthcare costs until Government is prepared to tackle the main drivers of increasing costs, which are overutilization and unrestrained provider fees.”

    Dear Ms. Gordon-Pamplin, I agree with tackling over-utilisation of medical services, especially those who use the hospital emergency room instead of a GP.

    On the subject of “unrestrained provider fees” please will you identify your proposed solution. If you are suggesting price control, please be aware that such policies do not work and never have. Like it or not, we live in a free market society. It is open to Government and insurers to cap amounts paid by insurers for certain services, but if Government seeks to limit what a service provider can charge for a given service then that will not work as intended, there will be consequences (assuming such caps are even legal).

  11. WSP says:

    Sorry Pam you are flogging a desd horse with that lot.

  12. Rocky5 says:

    Please read the whole article. Her proposed solution is right there and it makes sense.

  13. It has to be said says:

    Root cause? I will tell you what the root cause is. Greed. These insurance companies boast in the news how they make $40,000,000 profit off of us each year, and their CEO’s and big-shots take home massive bonuses of our hard earned money. That is the problem. If I ran this island, I would make a law where essential services should have caps on the level of profit they make. Obviously. I wish I would run for politics and fix this poor island. I pay $1,000 or more per month myself for health ins., which is $14,000 a year. This is equivalent to my rent. And what do I get for it? I have had one single dental operation in an entire decade, 11 years to be exact, and the insurance company still forced me to pay about 75% of the cost. Why am I paying out like $160,000 to a company who cant even bother to give me $1,000 for an operation? Isn’t that what insurance is for? Or does it exist as an excuse to monopolize an essential service, and milk as much money out of the public as possible in a short time? How many Bermudians suffer, go hungry, fail to pay rent, because they have to pay so much money per month for insurance they dont even benefit from? I go to the doctor and i still have to pay $40 for a short visit. Why, when I am paying $14,000 a year!? So the insurance companies can afford to let their big-shots and bosses wear nice clothes and eat at fancy restaurants and buy big boats? Give me a break! End this nonsense or Bermuda will go into ruin.

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