She was born premature and suffered from multiple medical problems.
She had insurance. But no doctor in town accepted that insurance. Not even me. (It was a specific state recommended insurance. And I could write a post just on the nefarious actions of this company, but I won’t. At least not yet.)
I treated her for free for over a year.
You see, she had insurance. But she didn’t really have “coverage”.
Most people do not feel children should be held responsible or suffer just because they fell through the cracks of the system.
What if the system was specifically designed with cracks? What if it was intended that there would be those that would fall through? Hopefully that’s not the case. But often, I wonder.
I suspect that you don’t need the government or some insurance company telling you what’s the right thing to do. You just do it. So, what’s their excuse?
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Politics and Religion.
I know I shouldn’t.
But I just can’t help myself.
And since you’ve read this far, you want to know more.
But first, I want to give you permission to relax. Relax and enjoy. Not all discussion has to be left vs right or red vs blue. Some people relax by listening to music, some people relax by getting a massage, and some people relax by reading and commenting on blogs. I want you to feel free to relax anyway you choose.
Because we need to go into this with an open mind. Somewhere out there, someone has the answer. It’s probably not me, but if all we do is talk, we will never be able to hear.
So, let’s get into it.
American Health Care Act (AHCA)
Recently our politicians have decided to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare). Their solution is the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
Now, I don’t want you focused on just how confusing all this is. Don’t think about the fact that we don’t even understand Obamacare yet, and are about to replace it with something we don’t understand either.
Don’t focus on the fact that the word “care” is “care”fully placed, or the fact that neither of these laws care about your healthcare.
Before this turns into political mud slinging, I’d like to try and keep things positive.
Whatever your political persuasion may be, I think there are some things we can agree on.
- Healthcare is important
- Our country is only as healthy as its citizens
- Laws that control healthcare impact everyone
- Our laws are overly complicated
So, if that’s what we agree on. And if the majority of the country agrees on these points, why is it so difficult? Why is there so much division?
Well that brings me to my next 3 thoughts. You may or may not agree with these.
- Insurance companies do not care about you
- The government does not care about you
- Neither of the above 2 “healthcare” plans is a good one
Okay, that seemed a little negative and not in line with the normal vibes of this blog.
I shouldn’t bash anyone here. It is just the nature of the beast. These 2 separate entities (government and insurance companies) exist to self-perpetuate themselves. It is not their fault. It just is.
We citizens are in control. For some reason, I feel this has been forgotten. The government is there to serve us, not the other way around. We are the “selves”. As Emerson would say, “nothing has authority over the self.”
Population health is important, but there is someone very important left out of the population health’s design. That person is YOU.
We all know most laws exist to “look” like they help people. It doesn’t matter if they actually do or not.
I know a hospital that was once more concerned with “quality” than anything else. They did everything they could to win awards and recognition. Even if this meant individual patients or doctors or nurses suffered.
This type of thinking has started to infect many aspects of healthcare. And unfortunately, our government is the worst at this. They pass laws to appear to be doing something good. To appease half the nation.
Think about this. If politicians took the next 20 years off, and stopped passing laws, and stopped “trying to help”, would we be better off?
I don’t know.
But let me get to the point.
It’s been far too long since our politicians used a little common sense.
Healthcare does not have to be so complicated. Every decision made by the government shouldn’t have to be interpreted by a gaggle of lawyers or decided by 12 judges. It should be easily understood. If it is a law for the common man, then the common man should be able to know what it says.
Neither the ACA or the AHCA accomplishes this.
Which means, neither was written for you. They were written for the insurance companies, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies, and their crony politician brothers and sisters.
A favorite philosopher of mine, Henry David Thoreau, said it best:
Or as Einstein once put it, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
I think our politicians could do worse than try to simplify.
In the book Atlas Shrugged, politicians wrote laws that were vague and left to interpretation. That way, they could enforce them as they saw fit. If you wanted to be free from the law’s reach, you just had to pay the price. Sound familiar?
Now, I understand that the healthcare solution may not be as simple as I pretend it should be. There are questions that have to be answered.
Insurance or coverage. Which is it? Insurance is to protect you from something that has yet to happen. Coverage protects you from something that has already happened.
To force people to purchase insurance takes away their freedom. To force other people to pay for coverage for someone that chose not to get insurance (and now is facing disaster), takes away freedom. To refuse to help someone that is dying, is detestable and immoral.
So what are we to do?
Well, what if we don’t make that decision just yet. What if we try something else.
What if we started with a simple plan. A plan that could actually help. Maybe it wouldn’t do all we wanted at first. But with time we could easily work out the kinks and decide if we needed to adjust. We would be able to test it, figure out what works and what doesn’t. It would adapt as we adapt. It wouldn’t take 1000 pages and 100 lawyers to decipher, explain, and extort.
What are our goals? In other words, what are we trying to accomplish?
What do we want from our heath coverage or insurance? More important than what we want, is what we need.
Because if we don’t know where we want to go, we are going to have a difficult time getting there.
My suggestion would be to have small goals. Something we can actually achieve. Accomplish that, then set a higher standard. Baby steps.
My Plan for Improved Healthcare Coverage in America (not that anyone asked)
- Universal catastrophe coverage, offered by the government. Could be purchased by the individual or by business owners for their employees. This would be for emergencies, hospitalizations, etc. In other words for life saving/altering high cost events.
- Universal catastrophe coverage, offered by non-profit. I would recommend the government start a non-profit, create a board of directors, and then let it run itself without any more government intervention. This non-profit could then directly compete with the government program and any other for-profit program. You could donate money to it, just like any other non-profit and receive a tax break. If you were rich, you could actually give money, save on your taxes, and help strengthen your country.
- Increase incentives for utilizing health savings accounts. Tax breaks, etc.
- I would also offer tax breaks to patients that utilize Direct Primary Care models.
This plan wouldn’t fix all our problems. And we haven’t even discussed cost. There will be various snags along the way. But the beauty of it is, it is a simple plan and can be easily modified over time. You test it. You find what works and what doesn’t. You adjust it based on these findings.
I also think that the programs could be expanded to include more coverage options. The purchaser would be able to decide what they wanted. In other words, it could be a 3 tiered plan.
- Tier A: Catastrophe coverage
- Tier B: Catastrophe + Doctor/Hospital/Labs/X-rays
- Tier C: Catastrophe + Doctor + Pharmacy benefits
There could be different cost points for the different plans and the consumer could decide what they wanted. Other insurance companies could compete and have their own plans.
People could decide what they wanted and what works best for their families.
At some point, we must decide what freedoms we are willing to give up to have the government help us with this problem.
I know there are holes in my plan. And feel free to relax and comment down below.
In fact, I wish there were more people working on the solution and not just talking about the problem. So please, join the conversation. Your opinion matters.
It shouldn’t take an act of congress to do the right thing. (pun intended)
But what do I know?
I’m just a doctor pretending to be a writer on the internet.
I don’t always write about politics or religion. Sometimes, I write about serious stuff. DOCTORCHRISPARK.COM