The United States was truly in need of a healthcare overhaul that would take what is already the greatest healthcare system in the world to the next level. Change within the medical field is ongoing and has taken us from the archaic practice of bleeding to the miraculous life saving procedures that are commonplace today. There is always room to improve, but the changes need to come from the people closest to the problems, doctors and healthcare professionals, not a bunch of bureaucrats. More than 15 years ago, my brother who has been a practicing surgeon for over 30 years told me three things that could be done to improve healthcare, cost and, quality.
The first was “Tort reform.” We need to eliminate the ludicrous law suit lottery that is played by people who try to capitalize on any medical mishap as a way to “cash in.” What these medical lottery players don’t realize is that the cost of malpractice insurance like any other business expense is passed on to the consumer. Consequently, if a doctor has to pay $80,000.00 per year in insurance it is divided up among all of the paying patients he sees that year. Second was “Portable policies” or Portability, a concept that leads to more competitive insurance policies tailored to the customer’s needs. With portability in medical insurance, you could shop nationwide for the best price, benefits, and service, just as you now can with auto insurance. The competition would cause insurers to tighten up their policies, prices and customer service or go out of business. Finally, “Standardized insurance claim codes and forms. Due to the complexity and different filing codes, it currently takes an army of specialists to file claims. With standardized codes and forms you get less administration and cheaper upkeep. This, in turn, would mean less money in administration and upkeep costs passed on to consumers.
Unlike Obamacare with its more than 2,700 pages of legislation and 10,000 pages of regulations, these three simple actions would have immediate money-saving results. Compliance with a monstrous, convoluted healthcare law that “had to be passed to see what was in it” is impossible. Businesses and employers have complained bitterly about the difficulty of complying with rules that even the government enforcement agencies don’t completely understand. They feel something has to change before fines put people out of jobs or put them out of business.
The good news about Obamacare is that it is causing doctors to be creative innovators with their private practices, by cutting out the government altogether. Some doctors have gone into concierge medicine where you sign up and pay a monthly cash fee to be a member of their network. Your doctor makes house calls and phone consultations and is available to see you when you need to get in. Your medical records are kept confidential by your doctor, rather than in some enormous government database susceptible to hacking. Because insurance companies and government bureaucrats are not involved procedures that should not be charged for are not. The amounts charged represent reasonable costs versus inflated fees to cover processing, co-pays and regulations. This is just one example of the innovation that can truly result in affordable tailored healthcare. However, with Obamacare the incentive for innovation is removed. Dr. Ben Carson stated that the new regulations will take innovation and exploring new procedures, solutions and cures off the table since there are reimbursement codes only for approved procedures. New regulations require everything to be reported electronically with the proper codes. If a physician does not have a code for a new procedure, not only will he not get paid but could possibly end up being fined or sent to jail.
The new co-pays and fees with Obamacare will definitely hurt everyone monetarily even if not called a tax. I have a special needs daughter who requires medications everyday. The co- pay when we started with her medicine was $0. Then it it moved to $9.00, then $32.00 and now to $52.00 per refill. Even worse are active duty military who have to make co-pays on their health insurance and have seen huge increases as well.
Obamacare was passed as an all or nothing proposition to keep Republicans from cancelling or delaying the healthcare legislation one piece at a time. Today the Obama administration is cancelling, delaying, or changing pieces of the legislation continually which is just more proof that the entire plan is flawed and needs to be cancelled and re-accomplished.
The proof was just announced as I write this article. The Treasury Department announced that the administration is conveniently postponing the mandate and fines for businesses with over 50 employees until after the 2014 midterm election. The whole sham with Obamacare is that it was not implemented before the last elections because the Democrats knew it would be deadly for the election results. The 20+ new taxes that will have such a negative impact on small business and families will not inflict pain in the pocket until after the 2012 and now the 2014 election. The bottom line is that the law and all the maneuvering has never been about serving people’s financial or health care needs. Rather it has been all about power. Having it, holding onto it, and lording it over the masses.
The complaints of business owners finally reached the administration which had to yield and has now delayed implementation of a major component of the law. The question this raises is what else will they be willing to yield and delay implementation of? And if they don’t need to implement these sections now do they need to be implemented at all. Healthcare needs to be tuned up or even over hauled, but not in this way. The current delay is not by Obamacare opponents saying the current plan is a disaster, but rather it is the Whitehouse and administration acknowledging that Obamacare is a disaster. If this disaster cannot take place before the election, we need to ask why it should take place at all?