A lot of people went to bed last night with this version of health care in their heads.
Many folks see government as these strong, protective hands.
It’s a nice thought.
Until those hands start to make fists.
I wonder how long it is going take before you have to wait weeks to see your primary care provider. (Wait, we already know, it could be weeks!).
I wonder how long it is going to take for the government to dictate payment to providers? (Wait, they already do!).
I wonder how long it is going to take for the number of primary care providers (MDs and NPs) to move to more lucrative specialties because they can’t live/pay student loans as a PCP? (Wait, they already are!)
I wonder how long it is going to take for the government to limit which medications are reimbursed and which are not? (Wait, they already do!) Or decide which treatments are covered and which are not? (Wait, they already do!)
We all need health care. It is wrong that someone with a pre-existing condition cannot find coverage. It is a tragedy to have someone lose everything they have because of catastrophic illness. It is frustrating to be stuck in a job solely because of the health benefits. It’s scary to lose those health benefits if you are laid off.
It is wrong that the majority of health disparities are directly related to poverty.
It is wrong that providers pay tens of thousands in malpractice premiums every year. It is wrong that they are reimbursed a fraction of what it costs to care for patients. It is depressing that they must limit their time with patients because they have to see more and more of them to break even. It’s ridiculous that providers need to hire specialists to navigate the morass of insurance regulations.
Our system has issues, no question.
So, will the new health care legislation make for healthier communities by providing jobs, parks, grocery stores, education opportunities and health care clinics to poverty-stricken neighborhoods?
Will the new health care legislation provide incentives for students to choose primary care as their specialty? Family/General Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Geriatrics? Takes a lot of money and time to become a physician or advance practice nurse. Will the new health care legislation make it worth the effort?
On the other hand, will the new health care legislation make it easier to find a provider? To actually get in to see a provider in days, not weeks?
You see, being covered is worthless if you can’t find a provider to partner with.
Will the new health care legislation provide incentives for health research? If profits are limited, is there still interest in researching medications, treatments? Or on the other side, if funds are limited will there even be any available for research and development?
Will the new health care legislation provide incentives for keeping ourselves healthy? Exercise? Normal weight? Healthy diet? No smoking? Judicious use of alcohol? What if you’re a sedentary, obese, smoker?
Will the new health care legislation see us as the chief focus of the new system, or as cogs in a wheel that must be regulated and controlled?
Health care is already rationed (yes, it is…think about it). Is there anything in the new health care legislation that keeps it from becoming draconian?
I have absolutely no answers.
There has to be a way to have coverage for all, protection for those with chronic illnesses and protection from the financial fall-out of catastrophic injury/illness.
I have a deep feeling of dread in my gut that this is not the way to go.
I pray we are not starting on a road to government bureaucracy that will end with the IRS looking like a lesson in efficiency.
The federal government can make treaties on my behalf and provide for my defense.
I sure as hell don’t want it dictating my health care.