Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Things to Come in Five Years

Since spring of this year....I continue read almost weekly on different paths and steps being taken in relation to the health care law passed.

The most dramatic thing that I've noted...is a poll where 44 percent of doctors have indicated that they will retire or change their method of operation as a result of this new law.  As I read the article....I came to pause and consider that some of these folks are simply indicating that they were in the age to think retirement, and were simply going to carry it out.  They might currently be in their late 50s or maybe even in the mid-70s.  But the rest were in this younger crowd with a change in mind.

There are various scenarios that I end up seeing to occur:

 - You have Doc Jones who lives in a small community and has 850 regular patients from that area.  With the Medicare rules and fees changing....Doc Jones makes a simple change...no one from beyond the city limits.  So over the course of the next twelve months, he tells over 1,000 folks from outside of the city limits that he won't touch them.  He's happy with his take-home pay of $72k a year and doesn't care to put in another 200 man-hours a year to cover lower-cost patients.

- You have Ms Windale who retired to Florida and her regular doctor of five years has retired.  She spends two months looking for another doctor in the county to take her as a regular patient and none will do it for the Medicare fees involved.  She finally finds a doctor who lives 62 miles away.  That's the best she can do and has to accept a 90-minute drive just to have quarterly check-up on her stomach problems.

- You have Oscar who had been seeing a specialist for two years about his knee problems....and the doctor suddenly retires.  Oscar suddenly finds that while his half-way decent policy from Pepsi Bottling is ok....the new doctor insists on quick turn-arounds and is continually on Oscar when the insurance company isn't paying the fee within four weeks.  Oscar throws his anger at the Pepsi bosses who have no control at the insurance group they hired for their benefits package.  Oscar would like a new specialist but the only other guy who would take this case of his....lives around sixty minutes away from work, so that doesn't work.  Oscar is unhappy but with no options because of the new law.

In the end....whatever your senator or congressman said he'd fix....he fixed, and then he created a fresh new list of problems that you really can't stand.  Five years will pass, and then the boys will jump up to fix these problems or be fired.  The blunt truth is that you have wave after wave of fixes, and then wave after wave of screw-ups or failures.