Weighing in on health care

Wednesday night, President Barack Obama implied most doctors in America today make decisions based on insurance payout–“the dollar”–rather than the patient's needs. Talk about abomination! Such a statement is an insult to the medical community.

“Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, 'You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out.'

“Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I'd rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid's tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change–maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference.

“So–so part of what we want do is to free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what's best for patient care.”- Barak Obama

Funny, I thought our doctors were already free to do that. Sure there are those doctors who lean toward covering their own costs in lieu of best practice. But I believe that most take seriously the Hippocratic Oath and advise their patients based on what's best for their health, regardless of projected reimbursements.

Here's the irony. Rather than giving more freedom to doctors, patients and hospitals, the proposed plan takes freedoms away. Congress is considering legislation that would take away the decision making from the doctors, patients and hospitals and give it to an appointed board who will define for us “essential health benefits.” Instead of a doctor who actually knows the patient weighing health versus cost in communication with his patient, America will have a board of faceless people, appointed by who knows who in charge of balancing the universal scales.

This body of decision makers will have the power to choose what's essential for our health, and whatever is deemed non-essential we may have the opportunity to pay for out of our own pocket; that is, if there is any doctor still in the “non-essential” business. Without any insurance assistance at all, one has to wonder who will be able to afford such medical luxuries.

Essential healthcare will probably include regular check-ups to your doctor. But if that check-up shines light on an issue, be prepared for that issue's resolution to be weighed on the government scales while you wait. Depending on who's on the government's health care board, what the government's budget looks like, how old you are, and how much money you contribute to the national coffers, you might get the additional testing you need to determine whether or not that lump is benign or malignant. If you are fortunate enough to find out the lump is malignant before it spreads, then you can wait again while they decide whether or not you have the golden ticket needed for surgery and treatment.

Our system may not be perfect, but at least in our current structure I have freedom–freedom to choose doctors, procedures and hospitals. Freedom to choose insurance coverage that meets my budget and based on my judgment regarding my health. Freedom to choose, within the limits God gives me, my own quality of life for as long as He determines it is to last.

Be First to Comment

  1. said:

    Thank you for also giving an informed opinion on healthcare, Karyn. This is important stuff, and it’s up to us to uphold our freedoms.

    July 27, 2009
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  2. EternalLizdom said:

    As the daughter of a doctor who has been practicing for 25 years… I can tell you that the freedom doctors have had over the care of their patients has been steadily decreasing as control by insurance has been increasing. HMOs make decisions on what can and can’t be provided. What drug can or can’t be prescribed. What treatment can or can’t be permitted. More and more insurance plans are falling under these HMOs and more and more US citizens are losing their rights to having any control over their own medical care- because their own doctors aren’t allowed to provide what may be the best plan of action- because the HMO doesn’t want to pay for it. My dad has worked hard to avoid getting into any situation where he has to deal with an HMO. He prefers to work with Medicare and Medicaid than to work with an HMO. And he isn’t the only doctor who stands firmly opposed to this system that does damage to patients. Our current system is very firmly planted on Dollars and not on Sense. Something has to change. Nothing has been done about it so far… no one has even bothered to address it since the Clinton administration. No one can topple the mighty insurance companies. And that’s only looking at the problems faced by those who HAVE insurance. That doesn’t take into consideration the problems facing those who aren’t insured.

    July 29, 2009
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