What Will New Economies Carry for Your Health Care?

As of September 18, 2009, the healthcare reform bill, HR 1495, was still in committee. Once it is out of committee, it goes to the House and Senate for vote and then to the president for signing. Just because it is signed, doesn’t mean that it immediately goes into effect. Some of the mandates of the new bill require private insurers to comply with new rules and regulations that are set by the reform bill. One can only guess how well that is going to go over. The real issue at hand, as is with many bills, is how much will it cost? Not only in terms of actual cost to individuals desiring some form of healthcare, but in terms of taxes and burdens upon tax payers?

Currently, an estimated $500 million in new taxes are anticipated to cover the healthcare reform. Whether or not this is the actual number, the reality is that covering the healthcare costs of tens of millions of Americans is not going to be cheap. The Obama Administration is already spending money at an alarming rate. Can we really afford this plan? and yet, can we not afford it?

I can tell you that my own predicament is having to afford healthcare for my own family. I want the best care, but at a reasonable rate. When it costs almost $800.00 a month to pay for my family, I wonder what the federal alternative will be? Will it be less for the same care? Or will it be an HMO nightmare where I can’t get in to see a doctor for weeks on end. Will mental health be covered? What will it cost me as a clinician in terms of being paid for the services I provide? It’s already difficult understanding how insurance companies justify what my pay should be, and at such low amounts!!

Balancing both sides is difficult. I should be paid well enough to support my family, yet I don’t want to be robbed when trying to get healthcare coverage. This is where private industry can step up. Healthcare shouldn’t cost so much to meet the needs of patients. Without going into great detail, healthcare companies have very much figured out how to “pool” their members to avoid a catastrophic trend of insurance claims that would bankrupt them. Therefore, why does it cost so much? Employers already bear much of the burden for their employees when contributing towards their insurance premiums. The answer seems pretty obvious to me: The current insurance companies are top heavy.

When greed is factored into the cost of insurance, then it becomes a problem when considering the moral value of insurance and healthcare. Corporations have a duty to benefit the stakeholders of their organizations. This is in direct conflict of providing affordable healthcare because it makes moral sense. To dramatically offset the corporate greed, government feels it needs to step in. Unfortunately, the government can’t see the forest among the trees. They are so worried about those who are lost among the forest that they lose sight of the bigger picture: Providing healthcare without burning down the forest. Until corporate governance can limit executive pay and until government can limit the waste in spending, neither option is the best option. Why not have a healthcare system that is subsidized by government, but only to the extent that it limits the cost to those who are uninsured, and therefore, limits the pay to upper management in order to avoid a top heavy system?

At some point, a pendulum must meet it’s center. The new healthcare reform seems to be at odds with the current healthcare system. The current healthcare system provides the best medicine in the world. It provide efficiencies that make processing insurance care easier, faster, and less expensive. Medicare should be a forewarning to us about how the government will manage this system. It’s slow, burdensome, and has more holes than Swiss cheese that allow for abuse.

As a clinician that constantly battles with insurance carriers over payments, processing of claims, and meeting the needs of my patients, I can say that the system has become easier, faster, and more user friendly over the past couple of years….and it doesn’t take over 1000 pages to accomplish this.

The bottom line is that healthcare reform isn’t going to happen anytime soon. It isn’t going to happen cheaply. So before everyone jumps on the bandwagon, take a moment to think twice about where you are in your current coverage and lobby for a cooperation between private and government healthcare, instead of government run healthcare.

Dr. Christy Wise is the CEO of San Diego Family Services and a licensed clinical psychologist. To find out more, please visit [http://www.sdfamilyservices.com] She is also a national speaker on relationship conflict resolution and sex therapy.

Dr. Wise has been practicing for over ten years. She has brought comfort and understanding to issues surrounding divorce, children, teens, relationships, conflict resolution, sexuality, anxiety, depression, psychological testing and many other diagnostic categories and issues.

Dr. Wise is also a trained child custody evaluator and meets the requirements of California Rules of Court: Rule 5.225, 5.230 and Domestic Violence updates. She is qualified by her knowledge, skill, experience, training and education. She is driven by her commitment to positively impact the lives of individuals in a safe and effective environment.