Monday, June 08, 2009

There is a big push to get healthcare reform through Congress this summer and have a bill for the President to sign as soon as possible. Part of this is because it is legislation that Ted Kennedy wants to see pasted in his lifetime and that time is very short at best.

The main proposal is that businesses will be required to provide health insurance and Medicaid will be expanded to cover more of the poor. Business is going to fight this proposal because small businesses will be facing raising prices for their goods or laying off folks in order to cover the cost. Any move to a single payer system by providing a government program will be opposed by the insurance companies. This is all old stuff and the same obstacles Hillary Clinton faced in her attempt to overhaul healthcare. Since we have a totally Democrat Congress and Democrat President it may pass this time.

I suspect that a single payer system will eventually prevail. The growing number of welfare recipients and coverage for illegal aliens will be overwhelming. This increasing majority of people who can’t afford insurance of any type will compel us to move to a government program. Like Social Security, to be equitable, the government program must be available to all. The welfare folks are simply out breeding those who are paying the bills and the healthcare system will evolve into a single payer system whether we like it or not. Businesses, both large and small, simply can’t afford to pay the expensive healthcare cost without charging exorbitant, noncompetitive prices for their goods.

With all the discussion, which is bound to ensue, I hope that something can be done to harness the financial incentives for doctors, hospitals, medical equipment manufactures and drug companies. These folks should be allowed to make a profit but they are almost in the category of Wall Street gangsters, bankers, lawyers, professional athletes, movies stars, TV Evangelist, thieves and others in the trade.

I have devoted much of my life to giving away healthcare. I have been pretty well compensated for my work but I have given away far more than what I was paid. I was painfully aware of this when I was in solo general practice and it was still very much the case in a group practice where I was on a salary. Fortunately, it was just less apparent in the group practice. I don’t recall ever denying anyone care. With today’s incredible cost for providing services I realize that some are denied care and cannot get insurance. I just hope that containing cost will be addressed and that quality will not degenerate with care being delivered by physicians and providers who are anything less than the best. I’m just glad I’m on the porch and don’t have to figure out the solution to this big problem.


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