Now that the Supreme Court has upheld The Affordable Care Act the final piece of the puzzle is in place. We will begin the inevitable slide to the end of patient driven healthcare – individualized medicine led by independent doctors in consultation with their patients. The healthcare system is broken, but The Affordable Care Act is not the solution. Instead of depending on Congress and waiting for an election to bring change, it is up both doctors and patients to work together to take back our power.
Obamacare was sold to Americans using smoke and mirrors. We only need to look at what has happened in Massachusetts to see the future: their costs of healthcare have risen; despite mandates people game the system carrying coverage when they are ill while dropping it when they recover (getting far more out of the system then they are putting in); the waiting time to see doctors is longer; and because the system is losing money, reimbursement to providers and hospitals will drop Obamacare sets up a system that is a transfer of wealth from the 99% - this is not change that Americans should stand for. It can only be reversed if doctors and patients stop playing the game and move to a free market system that removes the corporate and government middle men. This can be accomplished by both patients and doctors re-entering a fee for service system based on pricing transparency, and movement by patients to catastrophic coverage.
More Money To Be Made On Sickness Than Health: Health Insurance Reform Does Not Equal Good Healthcare
True healthcare reform means limiting the power of insurance companies not expanding it. The truth is although it makes a great rallying point, nothing is for free. The implementation of Obamacare will cost patients more and they will receive less care. In short, the bill serves to further the very corporate interests (i.e., the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and the American Medical Association) that have inserted themselves between the doctor and the patient while raising healthcare costs. Instead of stopping this, ACA rewards them because there is more money to be made on sickness than on health.
The Democrats and the Republicans have done a masterful job of demonizing the physician. The doctor has been the scapegoat for skyrocketing health care costs while giving more power over the medical industry to those entities that have been the architects of the broken healthcare system that we have today. In short, the system is a complex network of corporate middlemen, that have worked tirelessly figuring out ways to skim profits while simultaneously shifting the costs to patients, rationing their care in the form of pre-certifications, increasing premiums, and outright denials on one hand while decreasing physician reimbursements (in the form of bundling), lowering fees, implementing recovery audits to claw back reimbursements, and outright denials of payment after services are rendered on the other. The government has put rules and regulations into place that encourage and reward this behavior, while ensuring that doctors and patients continue to feed a beast that needs increasingly more money to run a system that is based on the management of chronic disease instead of true prevention. It is no wonder that we are spending more money on healthcare and are on more medication, yet we as society are getting sicker.
Obamacare has become one of the most polarizing pieces of legislation ever passed. There was so much heat surrounding its passage that people got caught up and blinded by the rhetoric. On one hand, we were told that it had to be passed because uninsured people were practically dying in the streets, while greedy doctors were performing unnecessary tests, amputating feet, and taking out tonsils in their unending quest to make as much money as possible. The initial premise that the problem with healthcare was because of the uninsured was a lie.
For those who continue to delude themselves that Obamacare will lead them to the healthcare land of milk and honey, I have some news for you -- it’s never going to happen. Critical thinking would lead one to the conclusion that there is no way to add 30 million more people to a system that is already fundamentally broken. There have been many arguments used to sell Obamcare to the public. Much of it has been disingenuous, peddled not by doctors who are on the front line taking care of patients to the best of their ability, but by corporate interests that stand to gain from profits gleaned from the practice of corporate disease driven medicine. e.g., the pharmaceutical industry, the American Medical Association, AARP, The Hospital Corporation of America, and various unions.
Michael Moore recently pontificated that under Obamacare Americans would have to wait for certain non life threatening procedures such as a knee replacement. In his mind a “patriotic American” would be happy to do so. If one takes a critical look at socialized healthcare it would be obvious that it doesn’t work. In the UK, the healthcare system is so strapped for money that it is considering outsourcing the management of it to a German company. It is criminal that we would alter our medical system to emulate one that is obviously broken. Despite the pronouncements of healthcare equality we are rapidly moving towards a two tier system that is separate and unequal – those who have the means to do so will simply opt-out.
After months of denial that healthcare reform would involve rationing of healthcare for those who are the most vulnerable, the senior citizens who depend on Medicare, the President has come up with a proposal to decrease healthcare costs and guess what….it’s rationing. Under Obamacare, a 15 member panel known as the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) was created to ‘oversee healthcare costs’. This panel consists of individuals appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress - two ingredients that make it highly unlikely that they would be truly independent. In addition, there is no mandate that members be practicing physicians which is a recipe for cuts that are highly likely to affect the delivery of quality individualized patient care.
I had high hopes after the fall elections that things would change. I expected once the Republicans took power that they would make a concerted effort to reverse the downslide of our health care system into the hole that is created by Obamacare. Apparently, it is just business as usual on Capitol Hill… big surprise. The Republicans failure to act will have a devastating effect on a physician's ability to deliver quality individulaized health care.
Since the healthcare reform legislation passed, the discussion has centered on the fear of a government takeover of healthcare, but maybe this should not be the focus. Perhaps we should be worried about a corporate takeover of healthcare. Google is one example of the growing list of companies with a creepy connection with the government. Like the Food Safety Bill S510 which has given control of our food supply to big Agra, and the Healthcare Reform Bill that has given control of our healthcare system to big pharma, insurance companies and corporate hospitals, this appears to be yet another example of the insertion of a corporate middleman between us and our right to privacy. First it’s the carrot then the stick - put your health information voluntarily on their website, and like the social media websites put yourself in the position to have it be used against you.