Friday, August 22, 2014

What Should Be Done About Healthcare?

The most obvious answer is the excessive waste must be eliminated.  There is gushing misuse in both the public and private sectors.  It needs to be stopped on all fronts.

While the Affordable Care Act was passed on October 1, 2013, it has its benefits. It has helped people with pre-existing conditions keep there plans or acquire insurance. As well, it has helped some people that may not have otherwise afforded healthcare finally get healthcare plans. Yet, it did absolutely nothing to try and stop the obscene rising costs and egregious waste.

Currently too much money is at stake for big business to let go of it’s share and lobbyists at Capitol Hill have too much of a say on how our money is spent and how healthcare is run.  Our lawmakers are coerced into making decisions that are truly not right for the American people because BIG MONEY from the insurance companies bullies these decisions. That’s why our healthcare premiums continue to rise at unprecedented rates, insurance companies and their stakeholders line their pockets with wealth while small businesses and consumers can’t afford rising healthcare costs. Medical supplies and services are marked up at astronomical fees, just as previously noted in a recent “Time” article acetaminophen is marked up at a rate of 10,000%.

How do we do this?  A complete overhaul and revamping of our entire system-it will take a public outcry to say, “ENOUGH”!

The plan may seem borderline harebrained or preposterous, yet something completely drastic must be done.  As I see it we must completely wipe the slate clean and start fresh.

First, we need to relook at our model of practice.  As we currently practice medicine we focus on a model of disease instead of wellness and outcomes.  We should focus on prevention and outcomes.  Look at the mission of practice that Cleveland Clinic follows.  They reward their physicians on patient outcomes, team driven performance, and overall excellence versus number of medical procedures performed in a day.  It’s a wellness model versus disease model, and they are having huge success. 

Second, we need to focus on making healthcare affordable and equal for everyone.  People in the United States of America deserve to see the quality healthcare at the facility of their choice from the doctor of their choice, and not go into debt for the rest of their life because they were trying to save their life or the life of a loved one.  People deserve options when they are in a situation of life or death.  We owe it to ourselves, and our fellow citizens to do something about this crisis. 

As well, people in our country should not have to choose between their medication(s) to stay healthy or paying their rent or putting food on the table.  Yet, right now this is a choice that is made everyday by millions of Americans.  I have interviewed physicians that have stated they have battled with insurance companies to try and get oxygen approved for over a month with no avail for patients that are critical.  Another doctor, a urological oncologist, has to call every 6-months for a 36-year old patient who survived a 10.5 pound kidney cancer tumor to get pre-approval for a standard 6-month CT scan recheck that could be the difference of life or death in catching tumor regrowth.  This is completely absurd.  Who’s the doctor? Not the insurance company.  Why should the doctor or a patient have to battle with an insurance company over such a critical issue, especially a doctor? They have been to medical school, a rigorous process and there patient recommendations should be accepted.  As consumers we pay for insurance only to have to battle for our coverage and fight denials and still pay huge bills.  Something MUST BE DONE!

The system is broken, and therefore this is where my plan comes into play.  We need to DO AWAY with all of these overpriced healthcare plans and pharmaceutical costs that only line their pockets with our money, lobby the government against the public’s best interests, and continue to rob people of their hard earned money. 

Instead we need a one payer system and to do away with all private insurance plans. Everyone will pay into the system just like they pay taxes.  Everyone will pay an equal “flat tax” amount.  If someone is undocumented, they have to pay their way by working it off through community service.  If someone is too sick or too old, this will be worked into the cost figures of the system.

Costs can be brought down by having everyone pay their taxes on a regular schedule. Also, when focusing on wellness and prevention versus disease many issues can be prevented and diverted.  Doctors offices can be utilized instead of ambulance rides and emergency room visits.  There are businesses out there buying medical devices/products/supplies not being used or that are nearing shelf life and reselling at discounted prices or using as world relief.  We need to start thinking outside the box...we need to start thinking outside the bounds of traditional healthcare philosophy.  When it’s safe…let’s reduce and repurpose.  There’s so much opportunity out there.  For example…Check out this company HIT: Hospital Inventory Trader and their website:

I am not naïve to think that this will all work in one clean swoop.  Is there a way we can work together and find a way to make a plan?

Let’s be optimistic…Let’s start working for a better future for ourselves, for our children, and the future generations ahead.   WE CAN DO THIS!

Otherwise, within 10 years we will not be able to have the resources we need to have healthcare we can afford. 

~Stephanie Puryear

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