Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Single Payer Off the Table?

This is very disturbing:

..."Himmelstein's take - Obama is caving to the insurance industry.

"The President once acknowledged that single payer reform was the best option, but now he's caving in to corporate health care interests and completely shutting out advocates of single payer reform," Himmelstein said. "The majority of Americans favor single payer, and it's the most popular reform option among doctors and health economists, but no single payer supporter has been invited to participate in the administration's health care summit.

Meanwhile, he's appointed as his health reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, a woman who has made her living advising health care investors and sits on the board of many for-profit firms that have made billions from Medicare. Her appointment - and the invitation list to the health care summit - is a clear signal that the administration plans to propose a corporate-friendly health reform that has no chance of actually solving our health care crisis."

Obama to single payer advocates: drop dead."

(From Common Dreams)

This is very bad news.

I have worked as a health-care professional for over 35 years.

It has become my opinion over time that Single-Payer is the only thing that will save our health care system.

People who do not share this opinion tend to be the very folks who profit from the current rats nest of payers, options, coverage levels, charge-backs, write-offs, bureaucratic mazes, service denials and so many other non-medical devices meant to carve a slice out of the pie and privatize it into some one's wallet (or Swiss account).

From where I sit it seems so simple:

Expand the Medicare system to include all American citizens and fund it from payroll taxes.

The Veteran's Administration Health Care system was a terrific model of the efficiencies until Bush and his Iraq blunder and funding cuts broke it. (Seven years ago I could call and get a non-emergency appointment in less than a couple of weeks, now it can take six months to a year or more. Heckuva job, Georgie!)

Take the insurance monkey off the backs of employers. Free employers from the cost of this benefit: productivity and competitiveness are improved.

If this isn't good enough for you and yours and you can afford it, by all means, seek fee-for-service private health care. It will remain your right. Just no "opting-out". We're all in this together, it's for the good of the country and a shared burden will lessen the cost per enrollee.

And in a private practice like the ours, we will be able to practice medicine full-time again rather than spend as much as 50% of non-physician hours fighting with insurance issues. The resulting decrease in overhead would have a marvelous effect on our bottom line. (Raise, plz?)

In our present system we've seen premiums rise drastically, co-pays increase, reimbursement go down, access be denied and third party payers building private fortunes. This is no way to run an equitable health system.

I'm very disappointed in President Obama's stance. If he were to make a choice other than Single-Payer after giving it due consideration that would be one thing. But to choose to give it no consideration whatsoever is inexcusable.

Think again, Mr. Obama, for the health of the nation.

Catch you later.....

Update: From Crain's New York, (NY Regulators Frown on Doctor's Flat-fee System) a doctor charges a flat fee of $79 per patient, per month for affordable health care and state insurance regulators (!) try to shut him down. Sounds fishy to me. Imagine what single-payer could do with $79 per patient!


George Fulmore said...

The important thing is for there to be a government-offered option for health care insurance. Private insurance companies can still be in existence and can still make payments to doctors and hospitals. That can still work, and it will be what the majority of employed workers will want to continue their health care insurance. Under this scenario, there would appear to be no need for the government to pay for all services.

PFL0W said...

this is just what I'm saying today at Mo Rage. there's a few things Pres. Obama seems to be caving on and this health care, single payer is one of them. seems the corporations have gotten to him. Now he'll sell us all out.

I hope not.