UNLESS YOU HAVE disconnected your internet service, stopped listening to the news radio stations, stopped watching TV news and have avoided any and all contact with our health care system including doctors then you are probably keenly aware of our country’s health care crises. The obvious questions that demand answers are who is to blame and who can fix this calamity?
Who is to blame for this mess? The answer is everybody is to blame! From the patient who tries to “milk” the insurance company for all he can, big pharma who have such great capacity to produce quality of life improving medications not mention potentially life-saving drugs but at the highest cost possible for the highest profit possible, the health insurance carriers who continually raise your premiums and co-pays but provide less coverage. Throw in hospitals and doctors (not to mention Obama Care) all of whom have created this crisis.
Big Pharma: As stated above the major drug companies have produced so many beneficial medications that can treat or cure diseases that were automatic death sentences. Sadly they have chosen to demand top dollar (and then some) for these drugs that they are largely unaffordable for those who have to pay out of pocket as few insurers will cover it. While a few drug companies will offer assistance if you cannot afford to pay for your necessary drugs it is only usually a “one shot deal” that requires tons of documentation before they assist you.
Health Insurers: As noted above your premiums skyrocket as do your co-payments. In terms of coverage more and more claims are denied or severe limits are put on the number of doctor visits you are allowed per year. Appeals to get the insurer to pay for a medication they normally would not pay for are on the rise. In short you are going to keep paying more while receiving less. In a very real sense you are punished for needing to use this coverage that you have been paying for.
Physicians: While all are sworn to uphold the principles of Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon aka The Rambam) many do not opting instead to order often unnecessary tests or procedures which along with the exorbitant fees that are charged for the visit alone nicely pad their pockets. Throw in the referral fees they receive for prescribing a certain monthly amount of a certain drug or the referral fee they are paid by another doctor (usually a specialist) to whom they send you to for further “evaluation” and testing. Colonoscopies which are ordered as often as a hamburger from McDonalds cost well over $5,000 with additional fees for the facility where the test is done in addition to the anesthesia and of course the anesthesiologist.
Pharmacies: Taking huge mark ups over the wholesale price of the drug so they can bill the insurance company at the increased price. Certain anti-depressants such as Abilify cost over $200. for a one month supply. It bears repeating that the amount billed to the insurance company and the wholesale price the pharmacy pays are two radically different amounts. When a dispute arises each points the accusing finger at the other for being greedy. Caught in the middle of this greed driven tug of war is the patient who needs the medication.
Hospitals: Before I get into discussions about their “contributions” to the current crises it should be pointed out that many hospitals are being fined, audited, etc. if they treat an uninsured patient. In years past a hospital could not deny you at least stabilizing care (if not more) based on your inability to pay for their services. If you are admitted to the hospital each item is listed on your bill. That would include the one Aspirin pill for which they charge around $10. (you can buy a whole bottle for less than that), attending physicians, other medications, bed pans and so on. Hospitals with their very handsomely compensated administrators are ripe with fraud and waste. Once again the battle between the provider and the insurer turns into a bureaucratic war where yet again the patient suffers.
Patients: Doing almost everything in their power to prevent wellness by excessive smoking, drinking, drug use, dangerous disease laden sexual behavior and of course unwanted pregnancies. The overwhelming majority of us avoid some of the above behaviors. Using a hospital admission to obtain pain killers and alike that are sold on the street for obscene amount of money upon their discharge is yet another root cause of our current problems.
Obamacare is the single worst legislated program to be shoved down the throats of the American Public to the point where less doctors are available and the plans themselves are not inexpensive just because you are buying from the open market. The program is a drain to tax payers while doing nothing to improve the health of the American Public.
The list of those who are to blame can continue on paper that can easily reach distant galaxies. Comprehensive solutions are needed to reign in cost while protecting the health care consumer from the offenses committed against them. Unfortunately the “fix” for this problem can also turn into a long-winded study that costs million while yielding no tangible solutions.
Healthcare advocates hold a big key in helping to solve this problem. By putting intense pressure via lobbying, etc. on those responsible for the current fiasco change can happen. The honest and true health care consumer must also take up the fight to protect the vital services they need while not being burdened with costs that will put them into financial ruin. Lastly, it is up to those whose job is to keep us well to do so in a manner that allows them a life style in accordance with the service they provide but learning to be willing to work for the good of the patient. The under the table transfer of money (referral fees) must stop to start the reform process. For all those who are to be blamed they too must be prevented from causing costs to spiral out of control.
Like the recession this threat to our economy did not magically or mysteriously happen overnight neither will these problems be solved overnight. If there is no concerted and concentrated effort to make the corrections that need to be made more people will suffer from declining health with no means of paying for treatment. Those who violate the sacred oath that was created from the healing that Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides) must have their practices put under strict supervision both financially and medically or have their license to practice medicine revoked.
It can be argued there will be less doctors if these procedures are put into place but the fact is there will be new and honest doctors to take their place who will come in the form of eager American Medical Students who were forced to study and practice medicine outside of the United States coming home to rebuild our health care infrastructure back to where it should be.