Urology Times reached out to three urologists (selected randomly) and asked them each the following question: What health care issues should presidential candidates address?
"I would love to hear candidates talk about the astronomically ridiculous prices hospitals charge for surgeries, even outpatient surgeries. No governing body controls them. They just seem to be phantom charges to scare patients to death.
Patients bring in bills—$60,000 for an outpatient kidney stone case—it just doesn’t make sense.
Insurance doesn’t pay that, and if patients can’t afford insurance, they sure won’t have the money to pay that. I don’t know why all these phantom charges are there. They seem to be even more out of control lately.
Another issue nobody discusses is the ‘certificate of need’ [CON]. In some states, physicians can get together and open an ambulatory surgical center, or buy a CT or MRI—without applying for a CON. But North Carolina is a CON state.
It’s not right that only some states have these laws. It’s not an equal playing field. Actually, the state regulatory agency that controls CON laws is always staffed by hospital administrators; they’re never going to vote for competition. If CON laws were banned on a federal level to create a free market situation, it could help lower costs by increasing competition—like gasoline stations: When one lowers the price, competing stations have to lower theirs to compete. Patients could look around and compare prices at ambulatory surgical care centers and hospitals. Typically, out-of-hospital care costs a lot less.
I’d also like to see them talk about access to care for everybody. They’ve been talking about that but I don’t see how they’re going to solve that problem either.”
John Kirkland, Jr., MD / Charlotte, NC