Give Americans Healthcare

President Obama's healthcare reform bill may be undermined by lobbyists and lawsuits.

By Leonard C. Goodman

One year after the passage of the Obama administration's signature healthcare reform bill, the future of the legislation is in serious doubt. Opponents have organized vigorous assaults on several fronts. The law's most progressive features are in danger of being undermined by industry lobbyists, and [RETURN TO ARTICLE]

  • Reader Comments

    America’s healthcare “reform” bill? Please. It’s a joke. Whatever happened to universal health care or the “socialist” health care packages that the political class or members of the military enjoy? Doesn’t anyone remember Obama invited representative members of the health insurance corporations into the White House, foxes into the hen house, to devise this laughable reform. How stupid do they think we are?

    Posted by da vinci on Apr 26, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    American health consumers and doctors are being more cost conscience than ever but that isn’t going to help our failing health care system as long as we have so many stakeholders profiting from the sick (a rather sick thought anyway). 

    Even in MA despite the fact that everyone has access to care, we cannot afford to deliver that care; it is simply too costly.  Now with proposed ACOs (accountable care organizations) the insurance companies will shift the risk to the doctors who, similar to the 90s HMOs, will have their salaries tied to the amount of care a patient requires (set-up for withholding care and/or only keeping a panel of healthy patients).

    Without cost control, health care reform will hurry the demise of our system! Maybe then we can start over with a few rather obvious basics such as: transparency of costs and pricing of care (eg what is the price of this service and what does it cost me?), malpractice reform so doctors can cease unnecessary testing (no good measure of this and it is worth addressing as any doctor will attest to the fears of malpractice hence ordering unnecessary testing), implementing cost effective prevention policies, mandating industry (pharma and med tech) to carry out cost effective research (and publish all research results) so that doctors and patients can be fully informed, address insurance companies profit margins (article below) improve primary care delivery to keep patients out of hospitals, and address so many conflicts of interest in medicine that make it better to keep the sick sick to increase profits!

    So the hospitals, pharmaceutical and technology companies, insurance companies, other related service providers, doctors, and lawyers all have to give up a piece of the pie.  Fat chance without better reform! 

    Check out this NY Times article last month:

    Posted by MMMD on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Great article Leonard!

    Posted by MMMD on Jun 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    The total spinelessness of both parties in cow-towing to the insurance companies was depressing.  Clearly the current system is failing, but the inability of any politician to say “no” to the healthcare industry is sickening.  The “fix” that has been forced down our throats isn’t sufficient.

    In addition to the cost control methods mentioned above, the insurance companies are going to need to be hit pretty hard. It’s insane to think that we can cut healthcare costs by re-enforcing a system that skims huge profits off the top and adds layers upon layers of inefficiency.

    It’s a bit hard to rectify call for the government to be more involved in healthcare with the obvious inability of politicians to be anything but a lackey for the insurance companies.  Managed care and insurance companies are deeply entrenched in our healthcare system in large part because of government policies which preference care administrated by HMO’s and encourage employer based health insurance (with subsequent small pools, limited or non-existant consumer choices, etc.). 

    That said, even if mankind suddenly discovered a hidden deeply buried cache of politicians with integrity or backbones (perhaps we would have better luck looking for fountain of youth….), usurping the insurance companies with government-managed healthcare doesn’t seem the best option.  In a fantasy world with super-human politicians able to weigh ideas on their merits and resist lobbyists, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate managed care as a whole, and evaluate the possibility of a system where care is paid for (and “administrated”) directly by patients for most common healthcare expenditures, and where insurance is relegated to its traditional arena of the catastrophic or unexpected.

    It clearly isn’t acceptable for America to be a society which turns its back on the sick, less fortunate, or poor, and there needs to be a mechanism to ensure health care for those who cannot afford it.  However, the idea that this entails the government administrating care for everyone is a non-sequiter.  Much of health-care costs are elective, routine, or predictable, and there seems little reason that we should turn to an insurance policy to pay for such costs, be it government or private.

    There is no way the addition of administrative procedures necessitating expensive things like administrators, work-hours spent on paperwork, work-hours spent on deciding reimbursement rates, etc. can reduce costs unless the added complexity is accompanied with either a) reduces the amount paid out to doctors, hospitals, etc. or b) reduces the amount of care available to patients.  Both of those things may be necessary, but patient-directed care can accomplish both goals through normal market forces, without the need for the extra costs of administrators. 

    Unfortunately, we seem so have become so accustomed to having a third party direct our care, that any solution which does not involve managed care is dismissed out of hand.

    While insurance is clearly required given the huge costs of treating many emergencies, some chronic conditions, etc., The only possible result of having insurance/HMO’s pay for routine costs such as yearly checkups is an increase in costs, since the HMO needs its slice of the pie too.

    Back in the real world of spineless politicians who will desert their ideals (of any flavor… red, blue, pink, or other), perhaps corporate influence can be minimized at the state or local level.

    At least some states have begun to address the issue, and the diversity of proposed is a bit encouraging. Even as a strong skeptic of single-payer solutions, it will be very interesting to see how solutions like Vermont’s proposed single-payer plan will succeed.

    Posted by D.P Gumby on Jun 17, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    It is very important to be informed on where to acquire a good health service from. I appreciate that there are such health care circles, as the one conducted in this article, because this looks to me like a support group where from you can get all the information you need in terms of health issues. Either you have to run some tests, maybe get a nighthawk radiology, ask for many doctors` opinion on a certain issue, you have all support here.

    Posted by Elliad on Dec 26, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    I felt this own my own. From a simple neck pain that kept bothering me for some time, I found some remedies on the internet. The pain disappeared, then I started some further medical investigation and I discovered some problems I wasn`t aware of. The point is, however minor the problem can be, there can appear unforeseen costs when it comes to medical investigations.

    Posted by daria spencer on Jan 31, 2012 at 4:31 PM