The pressing issue of the day is the shape and form of the upcoming healthcare reform. Unfortunately, none of the current proposals actually reform healthcare. They merely increase the numbers of insured that will be eligible to have their healthcare bills covered by whatever insurance (government sponsored or private plans) these reforms provide.
True reform of healthcare would change the current emphasis from treating illness to actually sustaining or improving health. Such measures involve preventive care (vaccines, mammograms, etc), incentives to people and institutions to reduce poor choices (smoking, drinking excessively, overeating, unprotected sex, sedentary life style), and education that improves health (diet, exercise, accident prevention). Engineering a financial methodology that pays for this type of system instead of our current reimbursement for illness care will be even more challenging. Surgeon in the trenches (SiiT) does not predict such a system will see the light of day in our lifetime. Rather, we will see some type of change in how our country pays for illness care extended to more of our citizens, if not all of our citizens if health insurance is mandated.
SiiT looks forward to the day when people can have their healthcare needs (as opposed to wants) met without regard of financial status and free from the current regulatory environment that chokes our offices with paperwork and redtape that delays needed care and deserved reimbursement. SiiT is not holding his breath.
by Douglas K. Holmes, MD