The climate of healthcare in America is rapidly changing. It’s changing with or without the Affordable Care Act, or otherwise known as Obamacare. As much as people despise Obamacare, it was a step in the right direction in a country where health care should be much further along than it currently is. Millions of people have signed up and received healthcare where before they didn’t. Even if Trump is going to rapidly change things, it’s still important to see what are some possible options forward. Because healthcare isn’t a four year thing, it’s here to stay for the years and decades ahead.
Of course, all of this is my personal opinion and I might be wrong in some areas. I am always reading to see what’s new and how we can better change the climate of healthcare today. These are just some thoughts I wanted to jot down to see where we can provide some solutions. So we can just call this part one of identifying some areas that need change.
- America is a true capitalist nation with not just megacompanies making billions off of people, but also lobbyists who will fight for these companies to make sure there’s nothing in their way. If there is, they’ll talk to the right people. There’s a core foundation for many of these health care companies to provide financial returns to their stockholders. And as someone who has looked into some of these financials, let’s just say there’s definitely money to go around. The people who lead these health care machines are actually doing a fantastic job of getting a ROI to their investors. In the mean time though, patients, employees, and doctors suffer as well as the processes in place.
- Fee Per Service Model
- The Fee per service model makes sense in one way, since you should get paid for a certain transaction. But the reality of healthcare is that a simple visit is not a transaction. It might be the beginning to several visits and even surgeries. Each X-Ray taken should not be treated as a transaction. Or else they’ll just charge for that extra scan that isn’t even necessary. Shouldn’t we charge for the whole experience of healthcare? In a sense we are since most of us pay a health insurance company and we might have a deductible or copay. But the health insurance pays on our behalf in a fee per service model. What if the first visit was unhelpful or even incorrect? We have to go back for a second visit and have to pay more.
- Pricing Models
- Who comes up with what to charge people in this whole industry?? Different insurance companies will pay doctors different fees which is why some doctors will only accept some insurance policies and not others. This ability to pick and choose makes it that much harder for patients to find doctors. There should be accountability for insurance companies as well to make sure that they are making health care accessible to patients.
- Standard of Processes
- And why is there no standard or even baseline on limits of what is acceptable or unnecessary measures in trying to figure out what’s wrong with a patient. With so many medical schools, and so many experienced doctors out there with combined thousands of years of experience, shouldn’t we have some sort of standard by now? And yet there isn’t. Doctors are asked to wade through the waters by themselves and figure their own way from scratch. Why go through the forest with a machete when there’s a perfectly worn road next to you? And yes, I think that’s why doctors have to keep up to date with tests, but maybe there should be a nationwide Medical Wiki so doctors can look stuff up instead of just trying to remember from their tests?
- Doctor Patient Relationships
- Doctor Patient relationships are going down the drain these days as doctors are taking up more patients with less time for each patient. Patients feel rushed and in most cases the doctor is shuffling between several patients at the same time. It’s especially tough to develop a relationship with a doctor if it takes two weeks to make an appointment with them (which has happened to me before).
- Pharmaceutical Companies
- I love the fact that science and research can allow drug companies to come up with new medication that can save the lives of millions of people. I also believe that people should be able to make a profit. But profit should be within means of the ultimate hope of helping as many people as possible. With no pricing regulations in America, there’s no limit to what companies can charge people for life saving drugs. For some reason, many of these drugs from the exact same companies are price regulated in other countries where every day people can have access to them.
- Lack of Primary Care Doctors
- With specialists making much more than primary care doctors, more and more doctors are looking into specialties. With less primary care doctors, people are left with doctors who don’t have as much time to see patients. So what happens, which is happening at a very rapid rate here in America, is the pop up of Urgent Care Centers. Urgent Care Centers are great, but their purpose is to be the in between of primary care and the ER. They should in no way replace primary care doctors. But as we’ve been seeing, many people are starting to just go to their local Urgent Care Center, which will of course charge more than the primary care doctor, which will later affect their insurance rates.
The purpose of this post is not to vent, because praise God I’ve been fairly healthy and have not had too much need to see doctors. But this topic is something that I’ve dwelt on for a while and just wanted to put my thoughts somewhere. I just want this to be a holding place as I think of ways that we could start making changes in our current system to address these situations. I love health and all that it can do to help people. If people are healthy, they are able to lead productive lives and better serve their communities. If we make the whole thought of healthcare painful for people, it’ll make it that much harder to help our society as a whole.
I’m optimistic about our future, especially with all the technology being developed today. We just need strong leaders who are willing to take a hit and lead the way towards a better future for everyone.