Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health Care Reform

When Shawn started practicing medicine, he and the patients were in charge of health care. Over the years, however, the insurance and drug companies seemed to take over. Back then our patients had good health care insurance that was provided by their employers and our older patients had Medicare. Drugs were available at a reasonable cost. Things have changed. Not a day goes by that we don't deal with some sort of financial issue - somebody's co-pay is too high and they can't come to see us, or they lost their insurance or their insurance didn't cover their lab test or their office visit or the medicine that Shawn prescribed. We are constantly taking our eyes off of patient care and running decisions through other filters - what will insurance cover? And it's a good thing you don't know how often I have to send them copies of your "private" medical records so they can "review" your medical problems. We now deal with HMOs and Medicare-replacement plans and "donut-holes" and waiting on the phone with insurance companies forever to discuss Shawn's plans based on his 20 years of education and experience with some 20-year old in Delhi begging for a prior authorization. We have at least ten drugs reps a day come through the office, selling their wares. I remember a time when they would come in and actually talk about their products, the research, the benefits. These days, it's all about coupons and vouchers and websites and giving away "free" drugs, at least until the formularies change. And then there's the cost of insurance. Some employers have stopped providing it and individuals now have to choose between insurance and food, often choosing a plan that promises everything, then changes a month or so after signing up. Something has to change and tonight is the first step. The House, after almost a century of trying, has passed a health care reform bill. Now it's up to the Senate. Come on, people, it's about time.

1 comment:

  1. Yea, Lisa, for saying it so eloquently, and from the point of view of a medical provider too.