Every day that passes without some form of health care reform legislation makes me more and more frustrated and frankly angry. I completely understand the complexity of health care as an industry, but why is Congress so paralyzed to do anything? I think we would be much better served with a few simple assumptions:
Every American is either a present or future patient. When I think of all the issues that could be discussed in Washington, there are few that truly effect all of us. And furthermore:
Republicans and democrats, rich and poor, regardless of race or gender, all someday will get sick and need health care. Any surgeon would be quick to admit that once one is opened up for surgery, it all pretty much looks the same inside. Every American is at risk if we do not fix the health care system.
So why is there so much trouble in reaching an agreement? I must admit, last fall, when the 2017 rate increases were announced, the public was understandably and rightly outraged. I was convinced the republicans with a majority in the House, Senate, and a new republican President, would finally have both the compelling public outcry and the numerical majority to get appropriate health care legislation done….
But several attempts have failed miserably. Nothing has changed. I guess we the people “sucked up” those rate increases this year, and now it’s business as usual. However, here comes the double-whammy….
Our hugely increasing health care costs are showing no sign of slowing down. What is going to happen in October when the new rates for 2018 are made public? And how many of the present players in the marketplace will even be there next year to provide that care? If Americans were outraged a year ago with 25-50% increases, what will happen in a few months if it happens again?
So, now more than ever, we need to demand of our elected officials, regardless of their party and affiliations, to get together in a room and hammer out the future of health care. What must they do?
They need to truly start bending that cost curve. But don’t expect a lot of help from the delivery side. Any decrease in health care costs in our present fee for service system is a pay cut for someone in health care. Who wants to be the first to play in that arena?
Insurance, as an economic vehicle, only works if everybody plays. Whether it’s health insurance or homeowner’s insurance, the unafflicted always pay for the afflicted. Opting out of health care insurance, especially for the young and healthy who feel they don’t need it, is NOT an option. There must be a mechanism for everyone to play. But to make matters worse, with the gigantic premiums for health care now in the marketplace, many of those young healthy Americans simply cannot afford to purchase health insurance.
And even if one purchases health insurance, if the deductible is sky-high, many simply cannot afford to access the system. It is regrettable but understandable that health care is predicted to be the primary cause of personal bankruptcy cases in 2017.
The Emergency Department cannot be the only access for these folks, except in true emergencies.
And I am just scraping the top of the iceberg. I can go on forever. Yes, we have work to do. What would I like to see?
I would like to see our President mandate that effective immediately, all members of Congress will forego their rich personal benefit health plans, and switch to Obamacare like the rest of us.
And there should be no Congressional recess until this is hammered out.
We are all in this together.
Let’s see then if something happens.