I will not go into the pros and cons of the Affordable Healthcare Act. The name itself is an oxymoron because the last thing it will be is “affordable”. You cannot take on 30 million more people into our healthcare system until you fix the present system.
In addition, matters will be made worse by the fact that they anticipate that thousands of doctors will opt out of medicine completely because of widespread disgruntlement over the provisions of the act. Thousands more will become concierge doctors, thereby avoiding those new arrivals.
Interestingly, making healthcare available to all is actually a viable option. But in order to do so you have to deal with the elephant in the room that nobody is talking about. The elephant, of course, is the high cost of having a system that is replete with unnecessary procedures, unnecessary lab tests that often are poorly interpreted anyway, and a phenomenal number of unnecessary medications.
Medicare and medicaid are teetering on running out of funds because there is no oversight with regard to unnecessary costs. The only focus is on exposing fraud, which pales in comparison to costs related to the “elephant”.
You have a system that thrives on disease and illness, not wellness. It appears to be regulated by medical boards and physician assessment programs like PACE whose primary goal is to protect the business of medicine and not the consumer. They attack alternative medicine doctors that offer natural approaches to getting patients well.
There are many excellent physicians in this country who are forced to recommend tests or procedures that they know are not necessary. They are following guidelines setup by the least knowledgeable doctors to meet the standard of care for the most medically impaired physicians. They allow no thinking or flexibility and doctors often windup treating lawyers rather than patients.
This system allowed a cardiologist in California to bill $500 million for unnecessary cardiac procedures. How many of his patients died because of unnecessary angiograms, a procedure with a 3% mortality rate. The medical board never touched this man until after he was arrested.
Our healthcare system is burdened with a huge amount of unnecessary costs, and it will not change until there are challenges to the present system. One way of approaching change is for insurance companies to offer alternative medicine policies. This might work especially for HMO’s whose roots incorporated the idea of preventive medicine (before insurance companies took over and changed the concept to “managed care” and threw out preventive medicine). It would pay for alternative cancer therapies, which, in my opinion seem to offer a better approach in most (not all) cases of cancer.
It would not pay for many cardiac procedures which have come under criticism for not offering any benefit over non procedure-based care. The insurance would pay for care that dealt with the underlying cause of illness, thereby eliminating the cost and danger of many prescription drugs. Remember, over 110,000 people a year die from prescription drugs. The cost to insurers for 1,000 patients on statin and diabetic drugs is estimated to be $500,000.
Once you have a system in place that can demonstrate huge savings, then the federal and state agencies may look into it. At that point, universal healthcare will indeed become workable. It is true that there are a number of specialties that could be hurt by this plan. However, I know from experience that it is possible to generate a generous income by getting involved in wellness in any specialty.
To this end, I am trying to educate healthcare practitioners about wellness. I have written a manual that gives my unique approach to hormone balancing that brought thousands of patients to my office from all over the country and the world. It describes the underlying cause of illness and has a chapter on how to manage adrenaline. More information about the manual can be obtained from my website: www.plattwellness.com.