Next, the anti-competition laws for healthcare need to be revamped for applicableness. An example is one hospital being the best at hearts while another is the best at joints. The family-care physician and his patient need to be allowed to choose which facility the patient goes to for care. Current laws would prohibit one hospital agreeing with another over which is better at which types of procedures and who gets which patients. Moreover, the physician networks designed by the health insurance industry promote bad medicine by sticking the patient with large out of network fees and charges and the patient may not be going to the best hospital for their particular condition. Even the common man knows this is double-dumb.
What more access? Give more college students incentives to go to medical school. We need more physicians, especially family-care physicians. We are not only experiencing shortages today, but most of our physicians are over 50.
How to keep these men and women as physicians? Fix the financing and laws governing healthcare. By the way, it is very expensive to become a physician in the first place. Cutting their pay so that they make the same as a receptionist is only going to drive more talented physicians away from healthcare and ruin the best healthcare system on the face of the planet.
Finally, patients need to be given incentives to take care of their health through preventive measures, lifestyle choices and overall personal responsibility. I know that there are issues with adverse selection and that can be a slippery slope. I submit to you that it is already being done today to some extent.
The point is that if an American chooses to smoke, drink excessively and generally live a hard life, they should pay more in health insurance premiums. Responsible Americans making good lifestyle choices should not be punished for that. In terms of disease management, it is true that people are genetically predisposed to various diseases. This is not everyone, though. Those who have heart disease, diabetes or other major illnesses through no fault of their own, should not be adversely selected.
We do not need what the president, the speaker of the House, and the Senate majority leader want to hand to us. We need less government involvement. Their role needs to be limited to developing, implementing and measuring effective healthcare. Check out the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Section 804, which establishes the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. That can be done within the HHS and will cost us a fortune. The secondary role is to pass or modify existing laws to help physicians and their patients get patient-centric care where risks and rewards are based upon the patient outcomes from the care cycle.
R. Arne Pedersen
Executive directorAnesthesia Consultants of IndianapolisIndianapolis
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