Anyone who listens to the news and reads the various articles written about recent events in the world of medicine cannot help but be aware of the very intense feelings on each side of the aisle. The quote below was taken from the white paper, “Healthcare Highway: Crossing the Election Divide” put out by The Physicians Foundation on their website.
Despite the well documented trends toward increasing polarization, leaders will need to find the “governing middle” …and unite to defend their decisions to a contradictory and divided electorate.
Some of the areas covered within this paper include :
- Fee schedule and sustainable growth rate for the Medicare physicians.
- Payments based on value and quality
- Accountable Care growth and the Medicare Shared Savings Programs
- Reforms being made within the health insurance market
- Expansion of Medicaid programs in the states that accept the ACO program
It paper covers several of the challenges that face the 113th Congress when it comes to healthcare entitlement programs, the federal budget, the debt ceiling and federal tax policies. All are major factors impacting healthcare.
With all the turmoil and intense discussion that is going on, the people of this country are becoming very much involved. Some have planted themselves on one of the two main sides found in Congress, but a growing number are in the middle. The latter are looking for a cooperative effort to be made by both opposing sides, as it is their health and their money that will be affected when an agreement is finally reached.
A related article in Forbes, (4/3/2013) written by Louis Goodman & Timothy Norbeck, states that in-depth studies into where the highest costs occur reveal that it is not the doctors and their care that is the main culprit for rising costs. Insurance companies with excessive administrative overhead (85% according to CMS) are a leading factor. Other areas of concern for rising costs include : technology, hospital costs, lifestyle choices and chronic disease conditions.
For many physicians, setting up their offices to comply with Meaningful Use and purchasing technology is a financial burden. There is also a huge discrepancy in billing costs between what individual medical offices charge and what a hospital charges for the same tests and procedures.
Then there is the issue of dealing with chronic disease. American lifestyle over the years has led to more chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and other ongoing conditions. The Forbes article states, “people with three or more chronic disease conditions generally fall into the costliest one percent of patients who account for 20 percent of all healthcare spending in the U.S.” Preventive care and home care need to be addressed to bring down the tremendous costs concerning chronic conditions.
All of these issues are concerning to medical providers, consumers and government administrators. There is no clear answer, but the coming months will reveal how people with divergent perspectives come together to solve these problems in new ways.
What are your thoughts about how Americans can come together to solve some of these issues? What issues are the biggest concerns for you? We invite you to share your ideas.