How do we as a country provide affordable healthcare for those in need?
This week we discuss the topic of healthcare reform. If one presumes that the goal of the healthcare system in the United States is, or ought to be, the provision of affordable health care for those in need, then the question becomes: “How do we accomplish this?” Health care in the USA is a vast, complex, multilayered system. The players range from individuals seeking health care as patients, individuals trying to provide health care as physicians, nurses, Insurance companies and their staff, pharmaceutical companies and their staff, outpatient clinics, hospitals, the federal government, and state governments. This is a lot of people indeed, with no single goal to work towards, or plan of action to follow. Almost everyone thinks changes are needed but almost no one agrees on what those changes are and how they should be instituted.
There is no universal or even general agreement among all these vested entities about how to proceed. Most players seem to want to control the other players while remaining uncontrolled in turn. Everyone thinks their sacred cow should remain sacrosanct and the others should just realize that change needs to come for them.
In the midst of all this storm and agitation and gamesmanship the player that seems to have the least leverage or the fewest chips to play, is the individual patient and their families. Health Care seems to be done to them as a result of the decisions and agendas of all the other players. Politicians, corporations, federal agencies, big pharma, the insurance industry and hospitals all have a vested interested in maintaining the status quo.
Under Obamacare the federal government has mandated that everyone must buy insurance or they will have to pay a fine when they pay their income taxes. In order to help those who are poor, the government will also give them (the poor) monies to pay for their insurance. The insurance companies are required to provide specific types of coverage to those buying insurance, and they are not allowed to exclude pre existing conditions any more. Also, children are allowed to remain on their families insurance policy until those children age out at 26 and then must buy or obtain their own. Almost no one is happy with this arrangement except individuals with pre existing conditions that would have excluded them from coverage before Obamacare and those who have children under 26 who know at least their family is insured.
This care, Obama Care, is in addition to both Medicare and Medicade, which are also government offered and regulated insurance plans.
Doctors around the country are beginning to be concerned about being on the treadmill of modern healthcare and governmental regulatory control. In order to avoid the train wreck they see coming as the country begins to try to find a way out of the quagmire of modern health care, some doctors are looking independently to create a new system. The goal of these doctors is to provide adequate, ethical medical care to their patients. These doctors do not want to be on the hospital or insurance treadmill. These doctors want to find a way to make their treatment affordable and accessible to the average patient. As a result of this desire they are creating new ways of delivering services. New Concierge or Boutique practices of medicine are opening that are cash based. The physician does not work under the instruction of the insurance company and the insurance does not set the rates charged by the physician nor does it control the cost of the operation of the practice.
Cost based medicine is becoming more available around the country both as individual practices and clinics that are opening that only take cash and that charge known and predictable prices or set prices for the services they provide.
As a participant in the system, we hope that you will listen today and that what we have to say will help clarify your thinking and encourage you to communicate your thoughts (your support or your opposition) to your political representatives . This is the only way that you will be an active participant in the changes that will be made in the current healthcare system.
This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com.