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.
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.
The implementation of the healthcare reform bill that was passed in March has now begun. Unfortunately, it is becoming obvious that the promises made such as: a) you can keep your physician and medical plan if you like them; b) your healthcare costs will go down; c) there will be no healthcare rationing; and d) everyone will be covered simply were not true. We were fed a steady diet of fear, distraction and falsehoods to sell healthcare reform. Why have none of these changes been implemented? Perhaps it is because this is a system that is set up to fail. When people get so fed up with waiting for treatment, or no longer want to put up with being denied care because a decision is made that the costs outweigh the benefits, the government will be ready to step in with the solution of the single payer system. Unfortunately, when that happens medical care in the United States as we know it will be lost forever, and we will be saddled with a system that even the British find untenable.
Health care reform is the latest piece of the puzzle to be put in place. If you add this to what has happened in the financial industry and the banking industry a bigger picture begins to emerge. With the proposed financial regulations, there seems to be a movement towards the consolidation of power in a few institutions, systematically removing free competition, setting up the too big to fail phenomenon, thereby giving people less choice that will ultimately cost everybody more in the long run.
Have you wondered how healthcare reform will play out? You only need to look at how healthcare has been laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO). The International Classification of Disease also known as the ICD is the coding system that is used to classify diseases. It is published by the (WHO), and it is also the basis for reimbursement for hospitals and physicians. There have been several iterations of the ICD. The most recent is ICD-10. The United States is scheduled to adopt it in 2013. Just in time for the major pieces for the healthcare reform pieces to take effect. The mad rush to pass healthcare reform makes a lot of sense when this time table is taken into consideration. It finally brings the US healthcare system into the global healthcare system overseen by the WHO. If healthcare reform leads to the implementation of the ICD-10 fee schedule with the adoption of these lower rates, it will likely lead physicians in private practice to drop out of the system in order to stay in business. Quite simply, adding this to the ever rising overhead and malpractice premiums will simply be overwhelming.
If the goal of the President’s proposal was to drive doctors into hospital based practices or community health centers, or if it was to break the spirit of providers and bend them to the will of the government that holds the threat of criminal prosecution over their heads if they are found to be Medicare cheats, or if the goal was to dumb down the practice of medicine by ramping up the power of the HHS secretary and the evidence-based medicine posse, then the President’s proposal for health care reform was successful.
put the power of individual health choices back where it belongs with the patient and the physician. People have good sense, and if given more control of their own healthcare costs along with clearly presented options that include cost transparency (from both health care providers and hospitals who will have to compete for a savvy patient consumer), they will choose what is best for them. When the inflated costs injected by the government and the insurance industry are stripped out, it would lead to a more affordable medical system that will work well for the foreseeable future.