17
Aug
09

Open Letter to my representative on healthcare

I am fortunate. My family and I have healthcare and we are healthy. I have no sad story to offer as an example of the healthcare systems inadequacies. Nevertheless, I see the incompatibility of our “system” with “health”.

I SUPPORT REFORM.

Even though my views and your views differ significantly on almost every issue, I beg you to please put aside the election politics for just for a brief moment and look at the issues. Please.

It would be kind to call many of the comments by politicians, journalist and citizens as merely “crazy”. Many things being said are simply hyperbolic lies that I can only assume are meant to stir up fear and drowned out significant conversation. All of that needs to go away. Let’s just look at some simple things that maybe we can all agree upon.

  • Our “best healthcare in the world” costs us more than any other industrialized nation and ranks us as at 37 as far as health. Is that best? Really? It costs the most but the results don’t bear out “you get what you pay for”.
  • It is cheaper to prevent than to treat.
  • It is cheaper to catch things early rather than waiting until it requires an emergency room visit.

Those are easy thing, right? So is the fact that things could be much more efficient. A patient’s medical records and tests should be portable – not redoing the same tests over and over. Finding a software system to digitize medical records would not only make things more efficient but could create jobs.

My wish would be for a single payer system. Not a government run system, but one where there was only one person paying the bills. It just would be more efficient. I know this is off the table, but want to add my voice to those who are calling for its consideration. That said, I do support a government option to compete with the insurance companies. So many of our dollars go to profits for the insurance companies and the inefficiencies in the system, it seems the competition is needed.

Even in these more contentious issues, there should be some common ground. There are inefficiencies in the system that could be corrected. For example, when my husband’s company switched insurers they had a meeting to discuss new procedures. They were told that their claim would be denied when they first sent it in, but just to resubmit it. Huh? How much time and money is wasted in the insurance companies trying not to pay, trying to dupe people into paying instead, and hospitals and doctors doing their best to recover the fees that they are owed? How much of the cost built into those fees is really to compensate for the wasted time and money lost to such a system? That is nothing compared to the stories of dropped coverage just as a person needs it due to “inaccuracies” found in the records. How much time and energy is spent trying to find excuses to drop people versus just taking care of people? This is simply criminal.

There are many things that present very difficult choices that stretch the bounds of what can be agreed upon. Even these can be addressed. The fee for service model incentivizes “care” over “health”. Changing that system would be contentious. However, a point of agreement could be found in coverage for preventative care and health services.

The issue has many flash points and there have been much influence of political considerations and lobby influences. Yet, it seems there are some things that we should be able to come to a consensus on. Here is my wish list:

  • Coverage must be universal and there should be a government plan as an option.
  • Health services such as wellness checks, annual physicals, dental checkups and dietary and lifestyle information should be promoted and covered.
  • Regulate insurers to eliminate the denial of coverage for “pre-existing conditions”, the practice of dropping coverage, and diversionary tactics to avoid payment. There should be incentives to be efficient in paying providers.
  • Incentives for providers must be focused on health outcomes, not merely the number of services.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


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