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This executive says the biggest problem in health care is not knowing costs up frontby Natalia Angulo-Hinkson
Economics & Business#Incuvators

WATCH  |  As part of Circa's new business series, "Incuvators," we spoke with Jackson Healthcare CEO Rick Jackson about what he considers the biggest issues associated with health care costs today.

With the health care debate in the U.S. getting more heated (read: chaotic), business leaders are speaking out about the issues they feel need to be addressed.

For Jackson Healthcare Chairman and CEO Rick Jackson, that problem would be payments.

"The basis of free enterprise is that there is a buyer and a seller. A buyer that pays and a seller that knows the price and provides a service at what the buyer is willing to do," Jackson told Circa. "In health care, that does not exist."

The health care staffing and health tech services provider is one of the largest private health companies in the U.S. It serves more than 5 million patients in over 1,300 facilities.

Jackson recognizes rising health care costs aren't going to disappear or go down, for that matter, anytime soon, but he says solutions could be found in the private sector. "Innovation is going to come from companies," he said, adding that technologies such as medical smart cards or telemedicine could help reduce costs in the near future.

Experts agree it's vital for buyers and sellers, in this case physicians and patients, to have a stake in the transaction and not leave it to the insurance companies and hospitals.

In an op-ed for CNBC, Jackson has even suggested that the government "require that medical providers offer the price of their services online" so consumers know prices up front.

Matthew Fiedler, a health policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, said his biggest concern is that patients are paying for what they actually want.

"We want to make sure the prices the patients are paying under their insurance policy give them an incentive to make cost-conscious decisions," Fiedler told Circa. By that same token, doctors need to make sure they aren't providing services patients don't need.

One solution Fiedler has offered is a streamlined form of payments where people pay for bundled service, rather than individual services. So, if you go in for a yearly physical and end up having to get blood work, you'd pay that all together, rather than in separate bills. He says that would cut costs.

Another problem Jackson sees is that current policies have placed an undue burden on doctors trying to comply with extensive regulations.

"We had to hire two people to do nothing but fill out forms to say that we're in compliance with the Affordable Care Act," Jackson said. His company has the money to cover these hires, but, he says, some smaller independent practices might not.

Fiedler says it's important to take a cost-benefit approach when weighing policies. 

"Are we actually getting what we want in exchange for that requirement, and how much burden is it creating on the physician or on the hospital’s side in order to comply with that requirement?" he asked.

But he admits, "We could probably streamline those requirements in ways it would still get us the information we need without having as much administrative burden."

But if the payments disconnect persists?

"As long as the buyer and the seller don't have any economics in that transaction. It's always going to be a problem," Jackson said.