Saturday, April 17

The future of healthcare

The health care system can no longer be repaired on a piecemeal basis. It needs to be rewritten. Only planning complex changes and implementing them across divisions will bring results. Can it be successful? How to reform the health care system?

We have to come up with our own health care system and then consequently change it. We are in such a situation that a new train has to be put on the track, because repairing the old one risks derailment. And passengers can no longer wait for departure.

The health care system – fragmentary changes do not lead to anything
We have been diagnosing the health care system for years and then we try to introduce changes on a piecemeal basis. The effects are undoubtedly visible, unfortunately unsatisfactory. Health care is a complex issue which cannot be repaired in this way.

So let us give it to experts, not politicians. Let us agree on the principles of functioning of the system, let us take into account the results of debates, research, reports. Let us describe the target system, all its elements. On this basis, experts and practitioners will develop an action and regulation plan that will be consistently implemented, regardless of the governing option.

Financing the health care system

For health care to be effective and to meet the financial challenges and pressures (chronic diseases), demography and the cost of medical technology development, it must be based on three pillars – public, private and everyone’s personal responsibility for their health.

Health insurance can become an important part of the health care financing system. Provided that changes are made to it. However, these changes are necessary in view of the increasing costs of acquiring and maintaining qualified staff and medical equipment or ensuring the efficiency of medical facilities.

In this context, prevention is of great importance. It is an element which can also be successfully provided by private health insurance, and which is decisive for the health of our society. It will affect not only the costs of corrective medicine, but also the state of the economy, GDP and public finances.

Health insurance also means easier access to specialists and consultations, which will allow not only to target health-promoting measures, but also to react more quickly in case of illness. Private health insurance will provide resources here. In addition, such a solution is available to a much larger population, because it is much cheaper for the patient than paying out of his or her own pocket for each visit to doctors or expensive examinations or treatments when a health problem arises.

Supplementary and complementary insurances

The basic condition for building a private stream of health care financing is that insurance becomes mass. As experience in many countries has shown, regulation and the appropriate design of the base system and a system of incentives, e.g. fiscal ones, are needed. Looking at it systemically, we can develop various types of insurance, both complementary and/or complementary.

I would like to remind you that supplementary insurance covers health benefits that are guaranteed by the state in the basic security system, but access to them is difficult. Thanks to them we can take advantage of medical care much faster and receive higher quality of services. This is a kind of insurance against the inefficiency of the public system.

Complementary insurance, on the other hand, covers health care services that are not covered by the underlying insurance – in whole or in part. Thus, they complement it. If a given service is only partially covered by the basic insurance, e.g. a medicine is reimbursed by the state it is necessary for the patient to co-pay for it. The remaining of the costs of the medicine can be covered by private insurance.

Basket of benefits

In order for the Polish health care system to be effective, it is necessary to organize the basket of guaranteed benefits, i.e., those financed by the state. Not only should there be appropriate benefits in it. Poles should also be able to make real use of them if necessary. Meanwhile, the waiting time for guaranteed health services has been steadily increasing for over two years.

Therefore, there are many challenges ahead of us, effective reform of the health care system is not easy or pleasant, and in order to cope with it, it requires the cooperation of politicians, medical circles and insurers, as well as the involvement of citizens. The second key word is consistency. But unfortunately this is the only way.