Death Panels Phooey, Here Is How It Will Really Work

Pelosi with gavel 3-21-10In 2009 Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid performed the Healthcare Overhall Road Show to sell the very suspicious public, the Affordable Care Act.  During this Road Show, a term known as Death Panels was uncovered by the Republicans ( I believe Sarah Palin to be exact).  Most of you have heard this term, I think it was blown out of proportion mainly in an effort to make Mrs. Palin appear out of touch and uneducated.  Her assessment, however was correct…in a roundabout way.  There may not be a healthcare death panel which determines whether you receive the necessary treatment in order to live or die, but there will be a determining body who will financially influence the delivery of necessary healthcare, here is how.

In the near future, before the 30-45 million more patients are added to the roles of the “now covered”, there will be very little change.  As the cost of treating these new patients and all others grows, then there will have to be a means of minimizing the cost of public health coverage, programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  About a quarter of all spending by Medicare, more than $100 billion, takes place during a patient’s final year of life. President Obama has made multiple references to the fact that his grandmother received an expensive hip replacement while she was terminally ill with cancer, holding this example as an unaffordable Medicare spending which takes place near the end of life.  He questions whether this country can afford those kinds of bills.  So what will happen is: a “Medicare board” for lack of a better term, will determine if the provider (hospital, clinic, or individual doctor) will be reimbursed for the end of life service which they provided.  So, if an oncologist provides ongoing cancer treatment to a patient who does not survive, and Medicare is the primary payor, then this “medicare board” will determine if the provider will be reimbursed for the treatment they already provided.  So, what happens if these Doctors keep providing patients the necessary care, but the claims they send off to Medicare are repeatedly denied and not paid.  You guessed it, the doctors will be forced to spend their limited time doing procedures which they know they will be reimbursed for.  The hospital systems they work for, will limit these doctors (who are employees) from providing these procedures because they’re money losers.

The Sacrificial Lamb

lamb

Unfortunately the healthcare industry will take the brunt of the blame.  The argument will be framed, by way of the media and the politicians, that the heartless healthcare industry is the culprit for no longer providing these end-of-life services.  The unsuspecting public will believe it, and the rift between patient and provider will grow deeper.

So, medical care will be dictated by reimbursement, not need.  This is the opposite of how the best healthcare system in the world originated, this is a fundamental change.  We will wake up in 10 years, and the current $2.7 trillion we spent on healthcare annually, will have ballooned to $3.5-4 Trillion, all with worse care.  This is just a testament that the more money you throw at something doesn’t necessarily mean you get a better result, often times it is just the opposite.  This is just one illustration of how the Federal Government controls the delivery of Healthcare and increases cost, see here.  As a result, I believe our freedoms are eroding because for the best medical results,  care should only be between the doctor and the patient not include a healthcare death panel.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Jose says:

    I love the pic! That wouldn’t happen to be Nancy Pelosis’ War hammer would it? Like you described, the providers in the health care industry will probably end up being extremely selective in what and who gets treatment, and I can’t blame them! In a way, the Affordable Care Act may end up in “death panels” by proxy when care is denied by providers. Unless of course more legislation is introduced to offset the bad legislation in place. But our government wouldn’t do that, would they?

  2. Jim says:

    Yea that pic really got me, makes me laugh every time I see it! I wouldn’t be surprised to see legislation introduced that curbs the law a bit. If that is the case, dont think it would be until 2015-16 when the bulk of implementation has taken place. By then people will begin to realize how detrimental it truly is, right now it flies under the radar.

  3. Holly says:

    Ugh, you don’t sound overly optimistic about the future of the Affordable Care Act. =/ I don’t blame you.

    • Jim says:

      Well, I hate to be pessimistic about it, I just dont think much good will come from it. However, with medical technology getting better and people getting more engaged with regard to their health, maybe this can cut down on healthcare costs overall. That will be great!

  4. I strongly believe that everyone should choose end of life options when you enroll in Medicare. If you know you’re terminal, you should get to choose no end of life care other than palliative measures. It’s too hard for the family when your loved one is dying and you have to choose to withhold care.

    One consequence I see with Obamacare is that hospitals and doctors may choose to not participate in Medicare and Medicaid. These patients will end up in over crowded hospitals with limited care, and they will have to wait a long time to be seen, kind of like the VA system is now.

    • Jim says:

      So true Kim! Doctors will decide not to participate in Medicare and Medicaid, in fact this is already happening. There is a market which has been around for a while, but recently gaining popularity called Medical Concierge that will take cash patients and make house calls. We will see lots of Doctors jump over to this profession and most likely serve the wealthy, leaving the rest of us to VA type conditions. I will do a post on this in the upcoming weeks! Thanks for the great insight!

  5. Jim, I think you are right on here. A dear friend of mine has 2 sisters that live under a govt. run healthcare system, and they avoid the docs at all costs. When we put stipulations like this on our medical providers, we certainly can’t expect them to be the high quality providers that many of them are now. I think what scares me most about this is that BO would’ve let his own grandma suffer with a bad hip in order to save some cash. We do need changes to the healthcare system, but not this way.

    • Jim says:

      Laurie, I hate to hear that about your friend’s sisters! I hate to think our healthcare system will be similar in the future, but unless we can get “statesmen” and not ‘politicians’ in Washington to make the tough decisions, I believe this is where we will be in 10 years. I think the fabric of this country is changing, we lack integrity and morality, and people are putting their faith in Government and not in a higher power. Part of my passion with writing this, is to help people understand what is happening, and hopefully realize how we can make changes for the better. We CAN have outstanding and affordable healthcare, we just need less DC interference!

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