Posted on Mar 07, 2017
At its best, the debate is between politicians with differing views about how to accomplish its same thing, at its worst, it’s between people who simply can’t see eye to eye on healthcare quality and affordability for millions of Americans. With that in mind, we wanted to weigh in with certain sane facts about healthcare that are true regardless of your views on the issues.
1.) Cost Matters
Without a doubt, cost, whether to patients or taxpayers, matters. What patients spend on healthcare affects their purchasing power in other areas of their lives, and no one should go broke paying for necessary acute or long-term medical care. Any solution that does not address the core problems of cost for patients does not solve the problem, and any solution that puts an undue burden on taxpayers or providers doesn’t solve the problem either. Healthcare policy should seek to provide the best coverage to the most people at the cheapest possible price.
2.) One Size Does Not Fit All
The great thing about modern healthcare is that there’s more than one way to treat most conditions, and providers can choose the best manner for the patient. Policy, whether from an insurance company or the government, that restricts providers to only providing a single type of care for a particular condition, necessarily puts patients in danger and can reduce their quality of care. For example, homefill oxygen technology is a great fit for many patients, allowing them to fill oxygen tanks in their own home rather than waiting for a delivery truck to swing by with more. It also has the added benefit of being much cheaper than oxygen delivery. However, patients with severe mobility issues and/or severe arthritis can have issues operating homefill machines, making traditional delivery a better, but more expensive, option. Currently, Medicare requires that we provide homefill oxygen machines in many situations
3.) Patients Will Confuse Healthcare and Health Insurance
Truthfully, even some of our nation’s leaders are guilty of this! Healthcare is very different from health insurance. The Affordable Care Act and its proposed replacement deal with health insurance, not healthcare, and that is a very important difference. Many patients see their provider (Cape Medical Supply, a doctor, PT provider, etc) as the be-all-end-all of healthcare, taking out their confusion over costs and coverage on our customer service teams and seemingly forgetting that their health insurance company exists. While, yes, we do charge patients for care, we actually have very little control over the cost to the patient. Health insurance companies and health insurance policy set by the government determines what we can charge and won’t allow us to charge lower, or higher, prices for care, regardless of what it costs us. This is often true in doctor’s offices and hospitals across the nation. Greater awareness of the role health insurance plays in determining the cost of healthcare across the board will ultimately be better and less confusing for all involved.
4.) Healthcare is Going To Continue To Evolve and Change
Maybe congress will get the Affordable Care Act replacement right, maybe they won’t, but regardless of the outcome, the policy will need to be reviewed and likely tweaked and changed in several years. Healthcare is evolving and innovating at a blistering pace, with technology, data and medical advances breaking old paradigms on a seemingly daily basis. Fifteen years ago, we had no way of knowing if a patient was adjusting well to CPAP therapy, now, we can check their data on a nightly basis and reach out and make adjustments to their care as needed. Advances like this necessitate changes in policy to accommodate important shifts in care, so any policy is going to needed to be tweaked and adjusted ever few years!