Will Healthcare Reform Be Just another Mess for Doctors to Cleanup?

The President signed the healthcare reform bill yesterday and the AMA immediately sent out a release supporting most of the provisions of the new legislation. One of them struck me as a bit perplexing: "coverage and market reforms that will strengthen the patient-physician relationship." Exactly what are they doing to improve the relationship between my patients and me?

The President signed the healthcare reform bill yesterday and the AMA immediately sent out a release supporting most of the provisions of the new legislation. One of them struck me as a bit perplexing: “coverage and market reforms that will strengthen the patient-physician relationship.” I’ve looked at highlights of the bill and didn’t see anything related to anyone allowing me to prescribe the medications I want without having to ask permission from the insurance companies, or order the tests I want without asking Aetna/Cigna/Avmed, “May I?” Exactly what are they doing to improve the relationship between my patients and me? Looks like maybe just more patients to see who can share waiting room space.

On the way out of my building, I passed a lady speaking on her cell phone and she had a great perception of medical care, or maybe it’s a “misadventure.” I heard her tell someone, “He had a fever, went to the doctor, got an antibiotic, and the fever went away.” I wish it was that easy, but it ain’t.

And the mess that this healthcare bill will produce will be monumental. Already there are states lining up to sue the government, claiming it’s unconstitutional to mandate that everyone must buy insurance. I just don’t see, how in a bipartisan Congress, every Republican was against it, as well as 34 Democrats.

I never thought I’d agree with Rush Limbaugh, but when I got in the car I thought I’d listen to what he had to say. He said that more patients (30 million of them) would actually increase the cost of care--more patients, more tests, no tort reform (I added that), and even more tests to protect our asses. I had to agree with his concept.

Then he said that this year the feds would give seniors a $250 rebate if they had reached the malignant Medicare “donut hole.” I had also read that and said “big whoop.” And then, OMG, so did Rush. Why not just do away with the donut hole immediately so that the seniors can buy the meds they need without spending their life savings?

And then he had a representative from the insurance industry who said that in three years, there might not even be an insurance industry. She said that 65% of premiums went to pay claims, 45% for other expenses. Now that is 110% and has to be a mistake, but Rush let it slip -- of course he did; she was on his side. But the new bill mandates that 85% of premiums must go to pay claims. That will leave 15% (or maybe 25% with the new age math) for other expenses, including bazillions for CEOs and money paid out to investors. That won’t happen. The insurance industry is too strong to just fold. Be prepared for a battle royale.

More of my thoughts on healthcare reform later. What do you have to say about all of this?