What should replace ObamaCare?

Dr. Aleita Eck's picture

ObamaCare is a wildly unpopular law for anyone who knows anything about healthcare. The election proved that. Physicians came together in Washington, D.C., to film the following national ad:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPwEVXstFdA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Perhaps it is time for the politicians to admit that the government cannot provide healthcare. Period. All government can do is set up an administrative scheme that pays many people to decide who qualifies for which government program, gives out entitlement “insurance” cards, but then underpays for the actual care.

Bureaucrats get paid while physicians do not. Taxpayers get fleeced.

Before 1965, the administrative costs in a doctor’s office were negligible, especially when it came to caring for the poor. Typically the doctor would not even bother to write out a bill. For the average patient, the doctor charged a reasonable fee and if the patient had insurance, it was his job to get reimbursed. People bought “hospitalization” insurance policies.

Today the poor seek Medicaid — the huge federal/state program that entitles the recipient to “free,” care. But since the physicians must fill out forms only to be given a fraction of a reasonable fee several months later, most refuse to take Medicaid at all.

So Medicaid recipients with sore throats inappropriately clog up the emergency rooms with twice the frequency of the uninsured. The system is expensive for taxpayers, demeaning to patients and generally unworkable.

An innovative solution to our healthcare crisis would involve several layers of care.

The first layer could involve the average person paying his doctor directly for services rendered. Paperwork would be minimal, patient-physician confidentiality would be maintained, and prices would be kept down by simple competition. Living healthy lifestyles would save money.

A second layer would be personally obtained, non-cancelable health insurance for unforeseen major medical maladies and accidents. These policies should have the coverage and deductible that fit a family budget. The states should merely oversee that the contract terms are met, but not mandate what is to be covered.

Thirdly, safety net non-governmental charity clinics could to be scattered throughout every county in every state with each clinic deciding ways to determining the eligibility of those seeking the free care.

The Zarephath Health Center was started in central New Jersey in 2003 and uses volunteer physicians and nurses to provide free care to the poor. Patients include the homeless, the mentally ill, the jobless, the undocumented immigrants and even patients with Medicaid cards.

Physicians there diagnose and care for patients with acute and chronic illnesses. The patients are treated with kindness by those who are willing to donate their time, and currently 300-400 patients get free care each month.

The cost to provide services at the ZHC comes to $15 per patient visit compared to $150 per patient visit at the federally qualified clinic in the neighboring town.

The latter clinic has huge bureaucratic administrative overhead and collects funds from the federal and state governments and the patients. They are constantly asking government for more money.

The Federal Tort Claims Act of 1996 provides free medical malpractice coverage for professionals who volunteer at any free clinic. Freed from the specter of frivolous lawsuits, the physician can offer common sense care, leaving compliance up to the patients.

Why not devise a similar plan with state rather than federal government involvement?

We could set up a system where the physicians donate, say, four hours per week in free care. A surgeon might agree to take on one charity case per week.

Then, to compensate the professionals who donate their time and expertise, each state could agree to provide full medical malpractice coverage for their entire practice.

Such coverage is already provided for physicians who work or teach in medical school university hospitals. The state would not be laying out money for medical malpractice insurance, but just agree to pay the costs of litigation and payouts.

The result? Poor patients would get care. Physicians would be rewarded with lower office overhead, not having to pay expensive medical malpractice premiums.

Taxpayers would not have to fund the enormous Medicaid bureaucracy or payments for actual office-based care to the poor. Unnecessary defensive medical tests would be eliminated, causing health insurance premiums to drop for everyone. The number of lawsuits would diminish.

It is time to think “outside the box,” come up with workable solutions, and lower the cost of healthcare for all.

President Obama said he is willing to entertain any reasonable proposals. Let’s start the discussion. Charity care and tort reform — perfect together!

[Dr. Alieta Eck, M.D., Internal Medicine, has been in private practice with her husband, Dr. John Eck, M.D., in Piscataway, N.J. since 1988. In 2003, she and her husband founded the Zarephath Health Center, a free clinic for the poor and uninsured that currently cares for 300-400 patients per month utilizing the donated services of volunteer physicians and nurses. Dr. Eck is a member of the Christian Medical Dental Association and serves on the board of Christian Care Medi-Share, a faith based medical cost sharing Ministry. She is a member of Zarephath Christian Church and she and her husband have five children, one in medical school in N.J. Contact Dr. Eck at eckmds@gmail.com.]

Davids mom
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What is needed

. .is integrity, ethics, honesty. Without these three - nothing will work, regardless of the 'system'. Some 'workable' ideas have been submitted. Some cogent arguments have been shared. Keep the politics out of health care - and let's have leaders that work for the American people. Obviously hard working ethical, honest people surround the author of this article. Are some of these people represented in our Congress?

Joe Kawfi
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Integrity, ethics, and honesty

Integrity, ethics, honesty - These words are foreign to liberal leaders.

Liberals have created, and the minority leadership has exploited, a community of dependent people, unaware of the true route to prosperity and happiness: self-reliance and self-investment. Instead, people are told that America is unjust, unfair, and full of disadvantages. They are told that their only hope is for government to fix their problems. What has happened is that generations of people have bought into this nonsense and as a result have remained hopelessly mired in poverty and despair -- because the promised solutions don't work. And they will never work -- they never have.

PTC Observer
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Joe K. - well said

Well said Joe, a sense of entitlement and dependence this is what socialism breeds by necessity.....toward the goal of

Statism.

lion
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Healthcare reform

Alternative to "Obamacare"?

The GOP alternative is to get sick and die.

Which is, of course, the Christian. family value way.

Chris P. Bacon
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Medicaid and micro-clinics

The current medical safety net for the poor is unwieldy, and the author is correct, it forces many poor people to hospital emergency rooms for routine ailments. Having identified a problem, though, I've yet to see a viable alternative.

The micro-clinic concept is worth exploring, I'm seeing more and more of them, particularly at CVS pharmacies. They are local and convenient and staffed by nurse practitioners, who have license to treat common ailments.

Here's a thought: Why not require these micro-clinics to accept Medicaid patients as a condition of receiving a business license?

If you think about it, there's a good deal of win-win here: Hospital emergency rooms become less crowded, routine ailments are effectively triaged, freeing up doctors to handle more severe medical cases, doctors would not have to soil their hands touching the unwashed poor masses, and the micro-clinic concept is still in its infancy so that it wouldn't adversely impact an existing business model.

PTC Observer
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Bacon - great idea

Let's just force business to accept Medicaid patients, you know like Congress forces States to fund Medicaid. Then we could force doctors to provide care in order to get a state license. Then we could force individuals to buy government insurance, oh wait we've already done that one.

Using force is violence, when the state uses force it's "compassion".

You leftists unionists are all alike, social engineers of the worst kind.

Joe Kawfi
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Compassion

"Compassion" is one of the most often used liberal terms. "Character" is no longer a liberal word because it implies self-restraint. "Good and evil" are not liberal words either as they imply a moral standard beyond one's feelings. In assessing what position to take on moral or social questions, the liberal asks him or herself, "How do I feel about it?" or "How do I show the most compassion?" -- not "What is right?" or "What is wrong?" For the liberal, right and wrong are dismissed as unknowable, and every person chooses his or her own morality.

Chris P. Bacon
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Petey C Observer: Somalia Beckons!

I'm just glad we've evolved as a nation where poor people no longer have to suffer so that your execrable pseudolibertarian philosophy remains pure!

Between Catfood Conservatives and Mudhut Libertarians and those who wish to legislate Christian morality, we RealAmericans™ have our work cut out for us!

PTC Observer
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Bacon - yes

yes you do have your work cut out for you, and you will lose in the arena of rational ideas.

The only way socialism can win is by use of government force, for as you well know socialism is an ideal centered on the forced confication of individuals' property, including labor.

You clearly advocate this and believe it is right, I don't.

Courthouserules
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PTC Observer

I'm with you about health care being forced on people. We don't need that sort of thing, the health industry--hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, have done such a marvelous job for so many years with keeping the costs down and treating everyone who needs help, why would we want to interfere with that?

Why it is just like not controlling infectious diseases, the less we do about that the more die making the cost of health less.
I think we ought to stop forcing nurses and others at hospitals from taking shots and health exams also. The sooner those sick people in the hospital die, the less it will cost us.

Also, our retail stores have done such a marvelous job of furnishing health policies that are less than their paycheck, we don't need to improve that at all!

These leftist, social engineering scoundrels who try and meddle in business must be stopped. There must be a way there somewhere that a person earning $20,000 a year can buy a family policy that costs $17,000!

And those Medicare and Medicaid patients have to go. Why those soldiers who saved the world in the 40s are all wanting into social security for the insurance they have been paying for since 1944!
We can't afford such stuff and it must be stopped.

Darned if I'm paying any more taxes to support such a rush on the system.
It looks as if most "earmarks" have been stopped, maybe that will pay for it? No, it turns out they amount to much less than 1% of the budget last year--won't quite do it.

I know---stop the donations to the states for their budgets!!!
Let Georgia raise their taxes.

Georgia Patriot
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Who Pays?

for this socialist utopia? Why don't we just give everyone their own personal physician? The reason other countries don't have great healthcare is they don't have the money to pay for it, well, we don't have the money either but since when has that stopped a socialist from taking(stealing?) it? -GP

Courthouserules
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Examples of non-regulation

Health Insurance companies are making huge gross profits from their premium income, as much as 75%! However, instead of lowering premiums or working to reduce hospital and doctor charges, they are spending nearly all of the gross for advertising, bonuses for employees, salaries for executives, and lobbying!
I would guess that if nothing changes they would soon be spending 90% in that fashion. It is the American way.

Just one year ago the Superintendent of Atlanta schools was awarded the prize as the best in the nation. However, cheating on the tests that got her that prize is now under investigation. Two different research companies have now said cheating on a grand scale did occur.
They even refuse to provide the school systems own hire to check the cheating to the public!
This is more of the "no child left behind crap."

We also now discover that banks hired foreclosure factories and paid them extra to "hurry" the foreclosure. They did by signing off some in 15 seconds and falsely notarizing much of the documentation.

Most of these people do owe for the home but illegalities have set many men free!

Cyclist
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Right CHR$

It's those evil insurance companies and they're at it again - eyes rolling.

Courthouserules
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cyclist

Are you saying it isn't true? Or, are you saying, I don't care what they do?

The people running these health insurance companies, not the company, are
the dudes at fault. Just like th bank officers and boards of directors.

I don't get it why you don't want such stuff corrected!

Do you sell insurance? Work for a bank?