Here’s my response (for better or worse) to this comment after this post:
“That would be sad for you … I mean millions of uninsured Americans would have access healthcare, and middle class families could actually afford their bills… but if controlling the out-of-control medical industry means that your husband has to take a pay-cut, that would be a bad thing. I bet you’re glad he’s not a teacher or a police officer, that would be really hard.”
Please understand, Anon, that the point of this post is not about my husband taking a pay cut. In fact, some physicians may actually see a rise in their incomes initially under a national plan since they will get reimbursed for patients who don’t currently have insurance.
Likewise, my original post was not about ObamaCare, although I wish more Americans would really take a long, hard look at the plan and not just assume it’s the perfect solution to our healthcare “crisis” but about my being more supportive of my husband – whatever profession he chooses – and he is committed to being a doctor no matter what the future holds. (So don’t take anything out on him, okay?)
That said, I urge you to read more about the perils of socialized medicine (and Obama’s public health care plan is a form of socialized medicine) and the impact it has on everyone’s care.
I’m not suggesting changes don’t need to be made with our current system or with the health insurance industry (government, for example, should remove some of the stumbling blocks that are currently in place to discourage new health insurance companies from forming in the first place; more competition would mean better prices for all of us). I would be against a national healthcare plan whether my husband was a physician or not. But, yes, I am a little concerned about cuts in doctors’ paychecks because physicians train for years and have huge loans (we have over $200,000 in educational loans). They get paid nothing during med school (and have to pay to take tests, buy books, medical equipment like stethoscopes to care for patients) and then they make less than what most teachers make during residency.
We’re already facing a shortage in general practice physicians (as well as some specialty doctors). I can’t imagine what will happen to our pool of doctors if we move to a healthcare system where they work more for less and have decreasing control over how they practice medicine.
I personally know of at least one would-be doctor who is having second thoughts. I have a very bright, compassionate cousin who thought he wanted to go to med school, but he’s having second thoughts. Not because he’s greedy but because he’s not sure he could ask his future family to endure years of training only to be met with a job where he’s not “allowed” to make over a certain amount and more importantly, where his knowledge is trumped by Uncle Sam’s bottom line.
To illustrate further: Now short-sighted politicians want to come in and determine how much doctors should make, what tests should be given to patients, etc. A doctor, who has experience actually treating patients, might say, “I realize this test costs more money upfront, but it will result in better health care for the patient and will most likely reduce future costs.”
How does Capitol Hill respond?
“I don’t care. It’s not in my budget. If you do the test, we won’t reimburse you.”
Here’s another scenario: You get in a terrible car accident and severely injure your leg. Your doctor believes there’s a good chance at performing a successful surgery and then rehabilitating the leg so you can walk again. However, Uncle Sam, M.D., sees that amputation is much more cost-effective than months of rehab. You’re not even asked what you want. You’re just told that the leg will be removed.
I don’t know whether you’re pro-life or not, but think about how easy it will be for government to start controlling how many babies families should have. Prenatal care is expensive and if Washington is paying for it, it just might be tempting for them to say: “Two babies are enough. After that, you’re on your own.”
Or maybe genetic testing will become a requirement. Suppose during this testing they discover you and your husband are both carries of the cystic fibrosis gene (CF runs in my family). They know the medical costs associated with caring for a CF patient – who is first and foremost a human being and not some medical label – so they encourage you to abort (even though your baby only has a 1 in 4 chance of being born with CF), or they tell you they won’t foot the bill if your baby does have CF.
And we think we have trouble getting private health insurance companies to cover things. Just wait! I’m offering worst-case scenarios here, and I realize President Obama keeps insisting we can keep the healthcare plans we have if we’re happy with them. But if there’s a “free” option out there, employers are far less likely to offer health insurance as part of their benefit package.
Are you beginning to you see that the patient’s care, when it is part of a government-controlled healthcare system, is at the whim of bureaucratic budgets and suffers? Don’t think this will happen? It already does with Medicare.
Likewise, everyone keeps saying access to health care will improve, but this is a fallacy. If health care is “free,” then people who would not have immediately gone to the doctor for something routine will show up. There will long waiting lists (like in Canada).
Of course, when you’re healthy, you love socialized medicine because you don’t have to use it much, but when you’re faced with something like cancer and the healthcare system says, “I’m sorry you’ll have to wait to get chemo,” how will you feel about it? (Ask two family friends who came to the U.S. from Canada to pay out of pocket after being put on a waiting list for radiation treatment.)
As for the number of Americans who are uninsured that the media and politicians keep spouting out, it is very misleading. It includes people between jobs who will soon have health insurance again. It includes households with an income of over $50,000. It includes people between the ages of 18 and 34. In fact, this fun-loving bunch represents 40 percent of the uninsured in America; yet, they spend more than four times as much on alcohol, tobacco, entertainment and dining out as they do for out-of-pocket spending on health care. (Source: Free Market Cure)
It also includes illegal aliens. Should we be giving people who are not American citizens and do not pay any taxes free health insurance? I’m not arguing this point one way or another; I’m just pointing out that numbers often only speak half-truths.
Moreover, Obama’s public health plan is not free. The government will still take the money out of our pockets – through increased taxes. We just won’t have a choice like we do now on how much we want to spend.
People want security. I understand that (clearly by my post you responded to), but when the government is the go-to source of our security, we lose freedom, and we sacrifice quality.
Besides, we already have a form of national health insurance, and it’s not working well. Medicare and Medicaid are already deeply in the hole, and they limit the way doctors can treat patients. I’ve heard ample doctors say they are increasingly frustrated with the way the Medicare “rules” dictate how they should practice medicine. They don’t see the patients. How do politicians know what’s best for them?
Ah, but I am ranting again. I just regret that you (and, no doubt, others) missed my point. This is not about me. And for the record: I am part of a middle class family right now. My husband is in his fifth year of residency now makes just a little more than what many teachers make, and we can afford health insurance (and no, medical residents don’t get a special, reduced plan, and I’m not saying they should). We are very, very blessed, yes. However, we’ve also had to make difficult decisions to make it happen. (We just got paid television programming in the last year, for example, because we recognized that the health of our family was more of a need than watching American Idol. Not that deciding between television and other forms of entertainment and paying for health insurance should even be considered difficult.) Ultimately, we believe we are personally responsible for our health – both in how we take care of our bodies and how we choose to spend our money.
As I alluded to earlier in this rant, I do believe we need plans in place to help the poorest of the poor as well as those who are in between jobs, etc. (individual plans are way too expensive right now), but please don’t assume that doctors (and their families) who are opposed of ObamaCare are only concerned about their personal bottom line. I do have a personal, vested interest in this issue. But so should anyone who wants quality health care.