The insurance industry is bleeding cash as deep cuts in the form of high doctors’ fees, drugs and check-up costs continue to plunge the thin margin sector into losses. To put an end to the haemorrhaging, insurers want the State to put a band-aid prescribed by a 2011 law that allows the Health ministry to control the prices of drugs and medical services considered essential.
The proposal, which will see the medical industry operate much like the legal profession, which has services price guidelines, is timely. It is essential to ending the wanton greed that has beset the sector.
For why else would else would a doctor charge a patient using his insurance cover to pay consultation fee thousands more than another using cash?
And it is not just consultation fees. The prices of medicines are inflated in an exploitation game that sees doctors prescribe expensive original brand drugs over cheaper equally effective medicines, after allegedly striking deals with pharmaceutical.
It is time to put an end to these and other ailments that have made treatment a fundraising affair for most families across the country. We reckon the right pill to prescribe is the price controls. The onus is now with the Health Cabinet Secretary to consult and come up with a list of essential services and drugs.