Thursday, June 18, 2009

Who Stands Between Me and My Doctor?

The President has begun his push for health care reform. His disloyal opposition has repeatedly said that Obama's health plan will put a "bureaucrat" between my doctor and myself. I already have someone between my doctor and me. It is called my insurance company. In order to make money off me, my insurance company wants to charge me an outrageous monthly fee and pay as little as possible for my health care.

My insurance company wants to make my health care decisions instead of allowing my doctor and me to do so. I must get prior approval for any major procedures. If my doctor wishes to prescribe a drug, he must check his PDA to see if my insurance covers it. He either has to look for a drug that is covered, although it may not be as effective, or I must pay an outrageous price for a drug that is not covered.

Recently, a family member had to have a procedure. When I called my insurance company to ask if it was covered, I got a "non answer." The person to whom I spoke would not give me a straight yes or no. She hedged, repeating her "line" several times. Finally, I called the surgeon's office and asked whether my insurance would cover it. I got a definitive yes.

Every time I see an ad for a drug on TV, and they seem to be everywhere, I cringe. How much do the drug companies spend on advertising? Billions, it would seem. I am not going to my doctor and ask for a drug that I see advertised on TV. It is his job to know what I need. We discuss the options and decide what is best based upon his recommendations. Then, as stated above, we have to see if the insurance company will let enough money go to cover it.

To me a part of health care reform needs to come in the form of strong arming the insurance companies into letting the doctor and patient decide what is best, not the insurer. Strong arming the drug companies into spending their money on drugs not advertising and charging reasonable prices for those drugs. I know that research costs money, but those billions spent on needless advertising could pay for a lot of research. Basically, the insurance and drug companies need to be regulated in some way to ensure that they are not gouging the insured.

Then there are the millions out there without health care. No insurance, no drugs. They suffer from a plethora of maladies and have no recourse. There are elderly, who cut down their dosage in order to be able to pay for it and eat a decent meal. That should not be happening.

The Republicans in Congress are going to block any kind of health care reform. It does not matter what is proposed, they are the party of no. They have a great health care plan, paid for by the government, the very thing they oppose. John McCain has that and Medicare, but he will continue to talk about the "Socialist" heath care plan. One Republican had the audacity to say that the President is going to take the best health care system in the world and ruin it. Easy for him to say, when he is the benefactor of a government plan.

I fear that once again nothing will come of health care reform. Millions will continue to suffer with no insurance, the rest of us will continue to pay higher and higher prices for health insurance, while the insurance companies drop more and more coverage. Doctors, whom I have left out of this equation, will continue to pile up the dough, while claiming that they have to pay high malpractice fees. Those fees do not seem to have hindered the purchase of luxury cars and fine homes. Take a look in the doctor's parking lot of your local hospital.

Time will tell us if the President is fighting windmills. Hopefully, this time saner heads will prevail and something will be done to stop this ever growing spiral of health care costs. If not we all may be facing some difficult decisions. The young family starting out with lower pay and the retiree on a fixed income. Those who are out of work and can not afford COBRA. They all face an out of control system that soon may be unable to serve anyone.


Diane J Standiford said...

Yeah, PLUS the fat cat (and MANY are FAT) Reublicans not only get Govt ins., but they are so wealthy that they can BUY whatever Dr. they want, fly on their private jet(or jet of a buddy) to any city to go to best hospital--no worries. THEY DON'T CARE about the hard working class or the out of work disabled or the elderly. Watch for it: "Not cost effective to pay for health care/drugs/procedures for those over 75, due to life expectancy." Yes, a local group here is pushing for that, hidden so deeply that it may slip by, if it hasn't already. At 83 my aunt was told she was "too old" for gall bladder surgery, she balked, they did it, she is now 102.

Dirk said...

Diane: So the Democrats in Washington are NOT wealthy too? Was it not Speaker Pelosi who asked for a LARGER private (taxpayer funded) jet? They're ALL wealthy people, & in my opinion NONE of them really care about us. They want us to think they do at election time by promising to fight against & change the disasters they created. Only problem, they don't remind us how many years they have been there & have done nothing about these issues.

Ralph: This government healthcare plan will certainly be an enormously expensive disaster, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The link to the report:
Just think about what nightmares Medicaid & Medicare are, & what bureaucratic messes they both are & then consider what reason is there to believe this massive healthcare plan, that's predicted by the CBO to cost 23 million Americans their insurance will be administered any better? My parents are having to deal with Medicare right now over a recent surgery my mother received. It's getting ugly too.

I'll be doing a blog post of my own on this, but I have a copy of the draft legislation & am doing something that Congress doesn't do: I'm reading it. It's long, not exciting reading, but I want to see for myself what is actually in this thing. If you or any of your readers want it, I can forward by e-mail.