Sunday, July 26, 2009

Healthcare Reform - Is it Gloom and Doom for Seniors?

July 26, 2009

Healthcare Reform - Is it Gloom and Doom for Seniors?

I apologize in advance if the purpose of this newsletter is once again reform, but with the daily debates in Washington about overhauling the healthcare system, I feel I have no choice.

Let me be clear.

Our healthcare system needs reform, but the reform must start at home and not in Washington. I founded the Institute For Medical Wellness because the present third party insurance, government and corporate dominance of our healthcare system is unsustainable and detrimental to high quality patient-centered care. I removed myself from the system to be able to provide the patient-centered care that you deserve, not the care that a insurance or government bureaucrat feels you are worth. The present reform bills in Washington, both House and Senate, are focused not on improving care, but on controlling costs by putting more roadblocks into obtaining medical care. These reform proposals aim to incrementally and permanently move individuals and businesses into a government controlled system. This has already been tried in Massachusetts and Tennessee and has not worked, with the costs of the programs and waiting time for medical care both rising exponentially. When government medical costs rise, taxes rise and rationing of care soon follows. In a freer market based system, where individuals have more control of their healthcare decisions and dollars, medical costs and waiting times decrease as medical innovation increases. As costs decrease, care becomes more affordable and accessible to all. Look to the car industry. The cost of a new car today is about the cost of a new car a decade ago. This is not due to government intervention, but due to free market economics. On the other hand, Medicare and Medicaid , both government programs that fix costs, thereby not a free market, have had tremendous costs increases.

At the present time, I participate in Traditional Medicare. But the reform proposals aim to change the Medicare system, and not in a way that is good for patient care. When I stopped participating in insurance plans, some of the plans paid me better than Medicare, some worse. I did not risk my practice due to payments from insurers being too low. I dropped the insurers because they were meddling in the care that I needed to provide. Presently Medicare does not have these roadblocks. Under the present reform proposals, that will all change, and I truly fear for the medical care of seniors. Senior citizens will bear the biggest brunt of the reform due to cuts to Medicare of half a trillion dollars over the next ten years. These cuts will happen even though Medicare enrollment is expected to increase by 30% as the "Baby Boomers" become eligible. So how do we improve care, cut the budget to pay for this care, all while having people enrolled in this care increase by 30%? We can not! The math just does not add up!!

No, you have it wrong doc.

That is not what the reform bill is all about.

We will all get access to better healthcare.

Sorry, but that is just political rhetoric. One of the OBama administrations healthcare advisors, Zeke Emmanuel, has written extensively that the elderly should get less care, especially for incurable illnesses such as dementia, because, they "no longer contribute to society." The following is a quote from Dr Emmanuel:

"An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia. A less obvious example Is is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason."

Sorry Mom and Dad.

Sorry Grandma and Grandpa.

It was nice knowing you !!

Sorry children. You do not deserve the chance to learn to read and reason!!

I am sorry, but this is not reform, and is not the type of healthcare I expect from our country! This is a planned political medical power grab and medical rationing by the government. Any other conclusions or statements to the contrary is rhetoric, outright lies and deceptions.

There are better ways that benefit individuals and business of all size to better afford medical care, while keeping medical freedoms. Some proposals I agree with are listed below:

1) Allow individuals and small businesses to band together to negotiate better rates with insurance companies.
2) Allow insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. This will increase cost competition and hopefully end state mandates that lead to higher insurance rates.
3) Allow individuals the same tax deductibility for health insurance and healthcare that businesses now enjoy.
4) Decrease defensive medical costs by passing tort reform. Many doctors order tests that may be unnecessary for fear of getting sued. Patient's truly injured by medical malpractice will still be able to sue for damages, but the frivolous lawsuits must be ended.
5) We need more HSA's, (Health Savings Accounts), tied to higher deductible or catastrophic insurance policies. These policies are much, much cheaper than present policies, allow tax free savings for medical care, and protect from medical bankruptcies. It also puts the power of the healthcare decision making and the power of the healthcare dollar back in the hands of the patient, and away from insurers and government bureaucrats.
6) End pre-existing condition clauses in health insurance.
7) Make health insurance portable and not tied to employment. If individuals are allowed to band together as a group to negotiate better insurance rates, why do we need employers to do it for us? Allow employers to give employees, as part of their compensation package, tax free money to purchase their own coverage, if they do not like the coverage offered by their employer. If the government wants to help, they can cover part of the costs of coverage if an individual is between jobs.

There are many other suggestions for reform, the key point in reform is to allow the power of healthcare to remain with the individual, and not a government or third party. If the present reform package becomes law, I truly fear for the health of our country! We need reform that will restore the doctor-patient relationship as the predominant factor in healthcare!! Ask yourself, "Who do you trust to help you make healthcare decisions? Your doctor or Washington politicians??

If you care about healthcare choice and healthcare freedom, I strongly urge that you visit the following website, , which contains more in-depth information on the present reform proposals. Please do not be left on the sideline, or say it is too late to stop these reforms. You may agree or disagree with the views on the above website, but you need to be informed, and make certain that your political representatives hear from you!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

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