More than a decade ago, major private medical insurers began down the road of not renewing agreements with a good portion of private health centers, where they treated patients with a sense of urgent care. The result has been that today there is hardly any difference between collapses occurring in emergency rooms in private or public centers. The immediate question the insured asks is: If the pace of care is the same, why add paying private care insurance premiums to my taxes? Private companies aimed to reduce the frequency of visits and, with it, the cost of caring for their policyholders. It seems they have succeeded.
Currently the amount received by a private health professional specializing in one of its branches is around €12.5 for the first consultation. Reviews are charged just over seven euros and the insurance company takes great care to ensure that the professional does not schedule more than one visit and patient per month. If – as is usually the case – the professional receives his patients at a center that does not belong to him, he must pay an average of thirty percent of the rent to the medical center owner.
Hence, the situation is that professionals with a long training process behind them and passing very high cut-off marks to further their studies, earn much less than a young person who earns money by giving private lessons . But the problem of private health care does not end there.
The waiting list of many specialties is so long that they are unknown in public health, for which it has always been a stigma. The digitization of procedures for requesting a medical appointment through a private insurance company usually ends in a web page that crashes or permanently shows an image of a wheel turning and turning. Opting for a medical appointment by phone is as difficult as getting your mobile phone or fiber company to take care of you through someone you can understand each other with.
Add to the above a scenario of its own that likes to quash the provost of the unique idea. This scenario shows that the health profession is highly feminist. Of course not only among the group of nurses but also among specialist professionals. Because of culture or, nothing more than the independent judgment of those involved, female doctors tend to value their time with family and leisure more than their male colleagues. Thus, for the normalization of private medical insurance, we have to link the lack of availability of new templates, to the lack of integrated health centres. The result could be nothing more than to hasten the fall.
It is possible that the entire health sector (including the public) is waiting to find out how telehealth care takes place, that is, the extent to which patients are monitored through everyday devices such as digital clocks and the traffic of large amounts of data. it produces (the big Data), provides affordable and remote care. In short, we will be witnessing a period of transition during which we will have to live with this state of decline of professionals and underpaid.
However, if the scenario does not allow for this type of assistance in the short run, public health can satisfy citizens by making it unnecessary to pay insurance premiums, in addition to their taxes. Spanish public health has to address the problem of lack of confidentiality of care at the time of hospitalisation; Average attention time must also be resolved, but both liabilities are cheap in societies such as Spain. Perhaps it will only be necessary to ask taxpayers how much they are willing to pay for a quality and comfortable healthcare and what is the list of current public services that they will suppress.
The state of private health is weak. As recently as 2017 one of the large companies maintaining its headquarters in Catalonia expelled a plastic surgeon in Seville from its list for “overcoding”, that is, for determining that his interventions with local anesthesia. will be done. This is not the way for a modern society that should have the freedom to choose the type of health services within its reach.
- Jose Manuel Casino He is Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Seville and an academic at the Autonomous University of Chile