Does new health care law improve things? Hard to tell…

Just got back from my primary care doctor and have come away with this slant on the effects of the new health care law, often referred to as “Obama Care”:

The doctor would refer me to a specialist if necessary but many of them, the doctor warns, are demanding pay up front and that the patients hassle with the insurance later on their own, this due, I understand, partly because of cuts in what the government will pay.

Some specialists are actually going out of business or changing to primary care because with reduced payments there is not as much money in specialties.

If the result is that the trend goes back to general practitioners, the old family doctor, that might be a positive trend — except when you really need a specialist.

I don’t know if this is really in direct relation to Obama Care or just the current realities in the business/field of medicine, but that was the inference to be drawn, that is it is the result of the new health care law.

Right as it was passed an elderly woman in my apartment complex told me that her Medicare supplement insurance premium jumped way up unexpectedly.

The way I see it, if the government totally runs health care it can call the shots (although it would have to find the doctors to cooperate), but if not, there is no law that says an insurance company has stay in business or keep offering health coverage if it does not want to, and a doctor does not have to practice medicine if he or she does not want to.

I’m all for health care reform, but I am not for making things more complicated than they already are.

It seems politically this nation, the United States of America, does not support socialized medicine, even though it has gotten used to Medicare, a variant of that.

I just saw something on the CBS Evening News that suggested that health insurance rates are going way up, but the health insurance companies say it is not about the health care law, but about higher costs and the fact that when higher costs make healthy people drop out of the health insurance market, that leaves unhealthier people in the pool and that costs the insurance companies more money.

(Of course I don’t think people on employer group plans tend to drop out, but a lot of people are unemployed or are self-employed or work at places that do not offer plans.)

I tried to do some research to make sense of the new health care law, but it seems like just too much to wade through and no clear answers (remember, congress passed it without reading it).

I did hear one business leader, who runs a company that is actually hiring, though, say that he thought the Republicans were wrong to pick the health care fight. He indicated that they should instead cooperate with Obama to zero directly in on the economy.

And I still do not understand why the business community would not stand wholeheartedly behind some form of single-payer government health care in order to take the monkey off their backs (except I suppose that would mean higher taxes). But of course they do not want a law that would lock them into providing health care no matter what the rates.

It’s all very confusing.

While the threat by the Republicans is to repeal the new health care law in total or in part, my bet is that if economic conditions improve over the coming year, fervor to monkey with the new health are law will die down.

But I still would say improve or expand Medicare, but don’t ruin health coverage that already has existed and worked. 

And as I have always maintained, I am no more, or little more, concerned about a government bureaucrat making decisions on my health care than a private company bureaucrat, except that theoretically in the free market you can go elsewhere, but when you are already into your illness it is a little late.

It is all really quite a mess. One wonders how long one can afford to live.

In fact, that elderly woman who said her Medicare supplement insurance premium skyrocketed reacted this way when I told her my mom was turning 100:

“Goodness, I couldn’t afford to live that long!”


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