Thursday, November 6, 2008

What will healthcare look like under an Obama presidency?

Since I work in the healthcare field, I would have to say that this is the biggest question I have since America will soon have a Democratic president again. The most (in)famous attempt to overhaul the healthcare system was made by First Lady Hillary Clinton during Bill's first two years in office. That was arguably the biggest reason why the Democrats lost control of the House and Senate in 1994.

"HillaryCare" came to mind when I read this article about the growing number of hospital patients who are unable to pay for their medical services.
While the full effects of the downturn are likely to become more evident in coming months as more people lose their jobs and their insurance coverage, some hospitals say they are already experiencing a fall-off in patient admissions.

Some patients with insurance seem to be deferring treatments like knee replacements, hernia repairs and weight-loss surgeries — the kind of procedures that are among the most lucrative to hospitals. Just as consumers are hesitant to make any sort of big financial decision right now, some patients may feel too financially insecure to take time off work or spend what could be thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses for elective treatments.

The possibility of putting off an expensive surgery or other major procedure has now become a frequent topic of conversation with patients, said Dr. Ted Epperly, a family practice doctor in Boise, Idaho, who also serves as president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. For some patients, he said, it is a matter of choosing between such fundamental needs as food and gas and their medical care. “They wait,” he said. The loss of money-making procedures comes at a difficult time for hospitals because these treatments tend to subsidize the charity care and unpaid medical bills that are increasing as a result of the slow economy.
Four years from now, will we still read articles like this one? Will conversations about the uninsured still exist?

1 comment:

  1. I went to the ER in June. The doctor bill came a week later. The ER bill came two weeks ago. I paid it a week ago. The day after I mailed the check, I got a call at 7:00 AM, demanding to know why I hadn't paid my bill. It's acceptable to take three months to mail a bill, but because I took a week to mail a check, the hospital was about to call a collection agency.

    This on top of paying an additional 30% for being uninsured.

    Go fig. Something needs to change.