carrie jose

Coming health insurance cuts. Why should we be careful

carrie jose

On Nov. 1, the federal government issued a final decision that will result in Medicare cuts of 4.5%. In an already dysfunctional and overcrowded healthcare system – this is going to be a problem for you (the consumer) – and here’s why.

Health care is ultimately a business. And its purpose is to make a profit. Revenues and profits come from things like procedures, tests, images, and surgery, not from preventing disease and keeping people healthy.

What does this mean to you?

This means that health care specialties such as orthopedic surgery, neurology and gastroenterology, for example – those that are procedurally focused – generate higher incomes and are paid more for their services. On the other hand – disciplines like primary care physicians, rehabilitation therapies (like physiotherapy), and endocrinologists (those who manage chronic conditions like diabetes and osteoporosis) – are paid less. The consequence is that the disciplines that really need more time with you – so they can get to know you and your lifestyle – because that’s what is needed to give you a good strategy for disease and injury prevention – are forced to do more work for less .

Eventually, something has to give.

Family doctors have to see patients every 10 minutes and that’s only if you can see them in a timely manner. Physiotherapists have to see several patients per hour, which translates to 12 to 16 patients per day. These workloads and demands make it difficult for a healthcare professional to really get to know you as a person, what your concerns are, or what your particular lifestyle and burdens are. (A recent comment by Shirlene Obuobi, MD in The Washington Post illustrates this dilemma quite well.) These are all critically important factors if you want to get effective treatment and advice that matches your needs and produces the result you want. you wish. The consequence is poor preventive care. And you risk being unnecessarily referred to the “specialist” who uses fancy tests and procedures (instead of getting to know you and asking questions) to make (often costly) decisions about your health.

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