Monday, August 10, 2009

What WILL Healthcare Look Like Tomorrow?

May_30_Health_Care_Rally_NP (547)Image by seiuhealthcare775nw via Flickr

I admit that this may not be the best day for me to be tackling a huge topic like heath care. After all, I'm a little low on my own health reserves after pushing beyond my energy envelope this weekend. That said, there are definitely some things about health care that have been driving me crazy in the past few days. Since I use health care a lot, I've seen a lot of good and bad.

I want to have my voice heard on health care reform too, so here are some of my opinions and suggestions:

  1. Get rid of "pre-existing conditions" exemptions. Overall, penalizing people who have had the misfortune to have health problems is just unfair. Yes, these folks (and me) need medical care, but making it hard to impossible to get health insurance means some of us are going to go without needed medical care and wind up in the emergency room or hospital where it is going to cost taxpayers a lot of money.
  2. Focus on evidence-based medicine. Medicine is both an art and a science, so why isn't more scientific information available about what really works and what doesn't?
  3. Let me chose my health care provider. Since medicine is both an art and a science, if my relationship with my doctor isn't working, I'm probably not getting much benefit from my medical appointments anyway.
  4. Let me see a specialist. It makes sense to start by seeing an internal or family medicine doctor for regular routine and preventive care. They know a little about a lot of different health concerns. But if I actually have a big problem, like diabetes, Hepatitis C or a heart problem, let me benefit from a doctor who knows a lot about just one health problem and has more resources to share with me.
  5. To medical providers, I advise you to hire medical billing professionals who know what they are doing. Health care is a system and in every system, you need to work it. If your medical billers don't know what they are doing, you are not going to get reimbursed. Remember, the majority of us can not afford to pay out-of-pocket for your services and rely on medical insurance to pay.
  6. Make health insurance non-profit. It just seems wrong on so many levels to be making a profit on insuring people's health. If health care insurance coverage for all is truly valued by our society, it shouldn't be something that is gambled on in the stock market.
  7. Finally, health insurance needs to be part of all employees' compensation packages. I know that small businesses struggle with offering affordable health insurance coverage to their employees; a solution may be for small businesses to ban together and becoming a bigger and more powerful health insurance purchasing association. I also think making health insurance non-profit would be a boon to small business.
So what do you think? What WILL health care in the United States look like tomorrow?

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