Will the Healthcare Bubble Burst?

September 13, 2017 by Redirect Health

In this week's Becker's Hospital Review, 19 healthcare industry leaders and economic policy experts share their perspective on the healthcare bubble.

One featured viewpoint was that of Paul Johnson, CEO of Redirect Health. He believes the bubble could burst at any time:

"It's a healthcare bubble and a reckoning is sure to follow. Insurance companies stocks' are soaring, prices are inflating, there's political pressure to provide more services, yet Medicare, Medicaid and employers' budgets are already strapped. Wage growth has not kept up with increasing health insurance premiums, co-payments and deductibles. At a fifth of the nations' economy, the healthcare bubble threatens to be larger than the housing bubble of 2008.

"Today, we spend $3.5 trillion annually in our healthcare system, almost $10,500 for every man, woman and child in the United States, a full 17 percent of the U.S. GDP. The Congressional Budget Office projects double-digit premium increases, along with increases in deductibles and fewer benefits and services. At this rate, healthcare will reach 21 percent of the GDP in the next eight years. The cost of delivering healthcare is almost twice as much in the U.S. as other countries, and it has poorer outcomes.

"Our nation is deeply divided in this debate. Much of the discussion revolves around ideology, gaining partisan advantage or advancing the agenda of powerful interest groups. What is lost in the discussion is almost a third of all healthcare costs in the United States is attributed to waste. In a Harvard Business Review article titled, 'How the U.S. Can Reduce Waste in Health Care Spending by $1 Trillion,' the authors argued that $1 trillion of waste not associated with improved outcomes could be cut — including clinical waste, administrative complexity, excessive pricing and fraud and abuse.

"Policy leaders need to spend less time on how we pay for healthcare and more time on how much we are overpaying for healthcare. The existing system is not sustainable. It was built around the shareholders, not the stakeholders; around the healthcare silos, not the customers. But this provides a very big opportunity for private companies, innovation and technology to disrupt the existing system to lower costs, improve outcomes and create a better experience."

To read other expert opinions, the entire article can be read online at Becker's Hospital Review.