We need patient-centered healthcare plan

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Dr. George Flinn, Guest Columnist

6:04 a.m. CT April 15, 2017

For too long government has been chipping away at your doctor’s ability to really serve you. With every new rule or regulation, there is less and less patient interaction.  And doctor-patient interaction is what is needed for patient-centered healthcare.  Doctors do not need to be clicking boxes on electronic tablets while they are in the exam room with patients. They need to be taking their patient’s history, performing a physical examination and ordering appropriate diagnostic studies in order to rapidly find the diagnosis and institute treatment for their patients.

Currently, patients are experiencing increased waiting times, increased costs and fewer choices when it comes to selecting a healthcare provider. If the patient is even luckily enough to be seen by a provider, that provider has no time to give a thorough explanation to the patient.

This is not the fault of the provider or you, the patient. It’s the bureaucracy and restraints that have been placed on our healthcare system under Obamacare.

Providers are being required to fill out more and more paperwork. Your doctor has to consult with insurance companies and government programs to obtain permission to treat patients. Medication costs are rising. There are some unfortunate cases in which a patient must choose whether they pay the water bill or pay for a prescription. They can’t afford both because the cost for prescriptions are outrageously high for many people.

The bureaucracy is dictating too much. They have a say in what the provider does, when they do it, and sometimes how they do it. Patients are unsure of who exactly is treating them. Is it Medicare or Medicaid? The insurance companies? The government? The doctor?

We must do better. We have no choice but to repeal Obamacare.

We need healthcare reform that allows insurance companies to sell across state lines. Competition will be a catalyst for driving the price down for consumers.

Additionally, we need a program that will incentivize providers to treat the poor. Under current law, providers absorb a significant financial loss when treating the poor. A plan I’ve developed would provide tax incentives to providers that will help mitigate the financial burden when treating these types of patients.

And, finally, in order to keep costs even lower, we need to organize high-risk pools of patients. Pooling will reduce the burden of insuring high-risk individuals and lowers premiums for customers. And allowing those pools to cross state lines will increase access and increase affordability.

Since Obamacare’s implementation, House Republicans have voted to repeal or alter it more than 60 times, either knowing or not caring that it wouldn’t make it past the Senate. And, if by some miracle it did, they knew it would be vetoed by President Obama.

Fast forward to 2017 when finally Republicans hold a majority in Washington. This group should be able to improve or replace what most know is a greatly flawed healthcare law. But their first attempt failed by disastrous proportions and now they’re talking about giving up and moving on to another issue.

Everything is becoming clear: All of those repeal votes were a pseudo-effort of going through the motions to create the illusion of resistance. The establishment has all the tools needed to create something better than Obamacare, but after only three months, the establishment is already throwing in the towel.

We’ve had seven years to right this wrong. Where was the plan?

The political establishment and the Freedom Caucus threw out a few ideas, but neither plan would have fixed the crux of the healthcare problem. In fact, the ideas they pitched made clear that they are not taking the nation’s health care plan seriously.

The veiled attempt at repealing and replacing the current ACA healthcare plan must not stand. We can do better. Our entire nation must demand it.

We cannot afford to keep the broken plan we currently have, just because it’s easy to do nothing.

We need a patient-centered plan, one which puts the patient first–not the bureaucrats. We can’t quit until it’s done.

George Flinn is a radiologist who lives in Memphis.

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We need patient-centered healthcare plan

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