Patient Advocate to Politicians: What Next For Healthcare?

The politics of healthcare have become  loud  and difficult to listen to.  As an advocate, I wonder where is it all going?  Now that the reigning mantra is to undo healthcare reform, I am questioning  what will happen.  I say this not in a political manner but as one who deals everyday with the many broken parts of our system.  One thing I have learned repeatedly as an advocate is, illness does not discriminate and whether you are a Republican or Democrat, your life can suddenly become overwhelmed financially, physically and mentally.  I have also learned, the healthcare system and insurance industry easily overpowers the individual with its complicated maze and control.

Healthcare is expensive and very few can afford the cost without insurance.  It is an essential part of our system whether mandated or not.  If the reform law is repealed, will we go back to the system as it exists now?  Does it really work?  One reason it needs fixing is the burden of cost is being put on the shoulders of the consumer.  For instance, many individual plans currently, have a deductible of $1,000 or more (up to $10,000) plus a coinsurance of 10-50%.  I recently received a call from a family whose newborn was in the neonatal intensive care for 14 days.  They had a deductible of $3500 and a coinsurance of 30%. Out of pocket maximum is $36,000 for the family. They pay a high monthly premium.  Their bills are over $25,000.  This problem is becoming the norm for families experiencing a healthcare crisis and the costs are rising.

If the law is repealed, will we go back to allowing pre existing conditions as a reason to reject applicants?  Please tell me no or explain why it is a good idea.  Or is it a good idea to go back to allowing Medicare recipients only one full physical in their lifetime?  Will their be a stoppage of funding to provide training for more primary care providers?  How about the funding for electronic medical records?  Will we go back to copays for preventive services? And what about those uninsured folks?

With all the rhetoric to undo the law, what is going to take its place and how fast is it going to happen?  I don’t think it will be a positive move to create a void by just repealing it. Nature doesn’t like a void and needs to  fill it.  The option cannot be what currently exists because for so many, rich, poor, young,old, Republican, Democrat, it is not working.  If the goal is to just cause a political nightmare for the Democrats, then many people are going to suffer unnecessarily.

Is tort reform on the agenda?  Will there be a containment of cost to the employer and individual buyer? Will there be an increased access to primary care providers?My bottom line is, I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican, if you fix the parts that need repair.  The USA has the best medical researchers, centers and providers in the world but it isn’t easily accessible to  everyone.  Somewhere, there needs to be compromise and when I say that I feel like I am shouting into the wind.