Dear Mr. President;
You promise to fix healthcare to something better because we all know the US healthcare system is broken. You tell us how fabulous your plan will be,then you turn around and tell us that no one knew how complicated the healthcare system is. Yes, many of us did know: the healthcare workers and patients who have toiled in it every day on the frontlines knew. You want to fix it, like a broken toy. But, it is not a toy, people are dying because of it.
You met with the executives of major health insurance companies yesterday and lauded them on providing good healthcare to the American people. But you are wrong, Sir. The insurance companies and their executives are the problem and that is why you are finding the fix to the healthcare system to be so complex. They have been obstructing healthcare for the past few decades.
Since the corporate take over of the American healthcare system, American lives are ransomed. Doctors no longer can decide what tests to order for patients or what medications to prescribe because these companies over-ride our decisions as part of their routine. They are now the ones making the medical decisions while bearing no liability. If your loved one were to fall ill, which one would you want to provide healthcare: a doctor or a health insurance executive? If you say the latter, than you are really confused as to the true complexity of the healthcare system.
Doctors and other clinicians are the ones trying to give healthcare to patients. The hurdles to jump over are mounting. Even something as common as a MRI can take weeks to get approval from an insurance company, while the patients endure relentless pain. Did you ask those executives how they plan on combating the suffering patients endure while their employees play a game of hide the benefits for company profits?
One of the great benefits of healthcare in the US is that all patients have access. But this is rapidly fading away. Doctors are dropping Medicare and Medicaid because the burden of regulatory control has proven too much for many to bear. Did perhaps those executives discuss the problem of the impending doctor shortage and what they would do to make it more lucrative to attract doctors to care for all patients? Or most certainly the focus was increasing insurance company profits?
You were proud to take a picture with those mighty men of healthcare but did you realize you left healthcare workers, and women it seems, out of the discussion. Surely those men don’t know how single mothers diagnosed with breast cancer have to struggle to stay alive while the system beats them down? They have probably never had to battle to get an urgent appointment with a specialist because the lack of access is becoming glaring. And do you know, there is an insurance company in my area that does not cover any asthma inhalers? They are not cheap by any means, or at least not for someone living on a fixed income. Where is a parent supposed to find $70+ for their asthmatic child’s life-saving medication when their insurance company won’t pay for it? Should a child with an asthma attack go to the ER or would that drive up the costs for these gentleman more? Or perhaps they should just die? Did they mention this at their meeting with you?
And forget it if you’re a patient. You are just gambling chips in the corporate cog-wheel with many hoping to cash in on your health, or lack of it. Wouldn’t you like to have a voice in the future of the US healthcare system?
Those same men who gave you their ear were there when the ACA passed and will be there when the next POTUS takes office. They will throw you under the bus just like your predecessor when you no longer serve their needs.
If you really want to make the system better, listen to those who see the flaws firsthand: the healthcare workers and patients. Until then, you are just a pawn in the political rhetoric shoot out and a ploy for others’ financial gain. We need an end of corporate medicalization and make American healthcare great again. What is your aim?
A Doctor from the frontlines who wants patients to be our true focus again.
© 2017, Linda Girgis MD. All rights reserved.