A year ago, I wrote a blog on why health care reform won’t work. I was wrong, in part.
I was amazed how little coordination there was among providers in my delivery system to properly code test orders and claims as preventive medicine following a physical. The doctor’s office and hospital lab refused to talk to each other, making me deliver documents back and forth between the facilities AND explain what simple steps needed to be done to get the claims paid. If providers in partnership couldn’t cooperate to get paid, how could the emerging world of accountable care organizations and health information exchange succeed?
I still have deep skepticism over ACOs and HIEs, yet applaud efforts to make them work. But as I listen to Republican presidential candidates, in unison, criticize the Affordable Care Act without the slightest idea of knowing what they’re talking about and sans any alternative proposals, I get angry. No one who knows what’s in the law governing this nation’s largest industry would run around the country talking about death panels and socialized medicine. Don’t you think someone who wants to be president of the United States should know what socialized medicine is? When did the GOP decide mediocrity--indeed, sheer ignorance or just plain lying--was a prerequisite for leading the free world?
It’s time to defend the Affordable Care Act. Is it bad that the Act is quickly expanding the ranks of the insured, particularly among children? That some degree of control over premium hikes now is being put in place? That emphasis is placed on preventive care and healthier lifestyles? That investment in community care centers is bringing better and more efficient treatment to all regardless of socio-economic status? That extensive work is being done to expand and tighten HIPAA transactions, and use data analytics to support effective and efficient treatment? That the HITECH Act provisions that were a precursor to reform are working to accelerate information automation of the nation’s largest industry?
I get angrier when Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney talk of health reform because they aren’t ignorant, just devoid of principle. They both well know what socialized medicine is, they just don’t care that what they now say simply isn’t true. They were strong supporters of reform before a Democratic president took their ideas and made it national law. Then they have the gall to say they will be the job creators when they have no answers today for bending the health care cost curve, which is a major reason American business often can’t compete in today’s global economy.
Regardless of how ready you may be for retirement, think about how secure that retirement will be if until you stop working health costs continue to rise annually at double-digit rates, and when you retire there’s no Medicare and no Social Security. Then think about a major GOP talking point in early January as the White House was criticized for getting help from Hollywood to host a Halloween party for the children of soldiers off to war. And ask yourself if the clowns who now control the GOP have real answers to real problems.
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