Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Health Insurance does not equal health care

Worth reading is this commentary by internist Dr. Marc Siegel who cautions that "health insurance does not equal health care".Neither is the promise of a government of universal coverage equal to the actual delivery or ready availability of health care.

Medicare (which some may remember as the government program that promised not to interfere with the physician-patient relationship) has so limited the payment to physicians (particularly primary care physicians) that the promise for medical care for the elderly increasingly is becoming unfulfilled as more and more primary care docs opt out or at least refuse to see new medicare payments. This is government care for just one segment of the population.In Canada the unfulfilled promises can affect everyone or at least those who cannot go south and pay for their care.

A recent Texas Medicare Association survey indicated that only 38% of primary care doctors are accepting new Medicare patients and the situation is worse with Medicaid patients.

Problems finding a physician in Massachusetts affects everyone since they instituted the brilliant plan of getting medical insurance for all by simply passing a law that mandated it.This is the same plan that is now asking for a federal bailout.See here for how that is working out.

There are many interpretations for the cryptic lyrics of the song "Hotel California" which says in part

"...relax, said the night man, We are programmed to receive. You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave! "

My interpretation is that the hotel provides the trappings or appearance of a service but not the real service. What does your national health service card mean if you have to wait so long for the care that it might not matter or if the shortage of docs gets to the point where little care is available.

1 comment:

Life Insurance Canada said...

Interesting article, it sure looks bad for Medicare and Medicaid. I wonder what they say about this and why the doctors don't accept them. I sure wouldn't want to be in a position of an elderly person who has to travel around looking for a doctor that will accept him as a patient.

Take care, Lorne