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Showing posts from 2014

Shape Up or Ship Out!

We are coming to the end of the first year of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Although the ACA ushered in an era of improvements, we still have a long way to go.   Devin Miller, Washington correspondent for the American Academy of Pediatrics, optimistically reports that more children that ever are currently insured, thanks to the ACA, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 1 He reports a 25% reduction in the number of uninsured Americans, which should be great news.    My question is, what does “being insured” mean?  In my experience, the new Covered California plans generally have a large deductibles, sizable co-pays, restrictive formularies accompanied by many exclusions.  If you can still go bankrupt from medical bills while insured, how much good has this done?   We are happy that many more people have insurance now, but that needs to translate into good medical care for policy-holders.  If the insurance industry does not step up and become a good partner in the he…

Insurance: Physician's Perspective

Hi.  My name is Emily Dalton. I am a local pediatrician and  I have had the misfortune of dealing with the health insurance system from 3 different perspectives:   that of a patient who uses an insurance plan, that of a small business owner who purchases insurance for a group of employees, and that of a physician who contracts with and gets paid by various insurance companies.  Our system is profoundly dysfunctional, and we need to completely rethink how we deliver healthcare to the nation’s population.  Previously I spoke about my experiences as a patient and an employer.  Today I will share my opinion as a physician.   I have had no end of problems dealing with the 9 different insurance companies with which our office contracts.  After one of our doctors has seen a patient, we submit a claim to that patient’s insurance plan requesting payment.  Three full time employees work to make sure the claims we submit get paid correctly.  It seems that any reason is good enough for an insurer …

Insurance: Employer's perspective and Heath Sharing Ministries

Hi.  my name is Emily Dalton, and I am a local pediatrician.  I have had the misfortune of dealing with the health insurance system from 3 different perspectives:  that of a patient who uses an insurance plan, that of a small business owner who purchases insurance for a group of employees, and that of a physician who contracts and gets paid by various insurance companies.  I am here to tell you that the system is broken, and that what is going on today in medicine is so dysfunctional that we need to completely rethink health care in our country.   Previously I spoke about some of my experiences as a patient, struggling to get medical expenses covered by my insurer.   Today I am going to talk about what I deal with as a small business owner who provides insurance for the 30-odd employees of my medical practice.   Over the past decade, our medical office dreads the arrival of each new year because the insurance plans offered previously are cancelled and replaced by more expensive plans wi…

Insurance: A Patient's Perspective

Hi.  my name is Emily Dalton, and I am a local pediatrician.  I have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with the health insurance system from 3 different perspectives:   that of a patient who uses an insurance plan, that of a small business owner who purchases insurance for a group of employees, and that of a physician who contracts and gets paid by various insurance companies.  I am here to tell you that the system is broken.  What is going on today in medicine is so ineffective that we need to reinvent our nation’s healthcare system from the ground up. As a patient, I am tricked by the insurance plan I bought.  Even though the plan is called “HSA 2000”, the deductible for my family is actually $4000.  When we bought the plan we were told the insurance would cover 80% of the charges after the deductible, but after signing up that percentage was changed to 70%.   Despite the deception, I am stuck with this costly plan for the rest of the year and I have no options to change it. …

MY LATEST RANT AGAINST THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY: GODZILLA HAS RISEN

GODZILLA HAS RISEN:   THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY UNDER THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
When inquired if Godzilla was "good or bad", producer Shogo Tomiyama likened it to a Shinto "God of Destruction" which lacks moral agency and cannot be held to human standards of good and evil. "He totally destroys everything and then there is a rebirth. Something new and fresh can begin.”  (Godzilla, Wikipedia)   Despite all the hopes many of us had for the Affordable Care Act, the current system of medical insurance is a twisted and dysfunctional nightmare.   I should know, because I am in the unique position of experiencing it from three perspectives simultaneously:  that of a patient who uses an insurance plan, that of a small business owner who purchases insurance for a group of employees, and that of a physician who contracts with and gets paid by insurance.   As a patient, I am tricked by the insurance plan I bought.  Even though the card says “HSA 2000”, the deductible for my family…

The Preserve Polio Society

PRESERVE POLIO SOCIETY


Whenever one of my patients refuses vaccines for their child, I cringe.  Why turn down one of the best medical protections available?  Vaccines have prevented massive numbers of deaths and uncountable lives of anguish.  Refusing them makes as much sense as refusing clean water or sanitation systems.  For those of us with basic medical and scientific knowledge, this decision is incomprehensible.    
However, for the average parent, vaccines may seem incomprehensible.  Medical science has advanced to the point where many people can’t understand how vaccines work, and don’t appreciate the benefits they have brought about.  Most parents don’t have a scientific education, so in decision-making they rely on the loudest voices that jive with their inner sense of values.  The collective memory of children in iron lungs or infants coughing themselves to death from pertussis is gone, so fear of disease has been removed from the equation.  In modern times we see the benefits…
WHAT TO DO WITH THE VACCINE REFUSERS?


This month at our office we have been bandying about the thought of taking a stronger stance against parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.  In a recent article in the Daily Beast entitled “Pediatrician:  Vaccinate Your Kids-Or Get Out of My Office” Dr. Russell Sanders takes the hard line 1.  He points out the tremendous health benefits that vaccines have engendered, the overwhelming evidence to support their safety, and the irrationality of declining one of the most beneficial medical treatments available.  He focuses on the issue of trust:  ..“for immunizations to be as malign as their detractors claim, my colleagues and I would have to be staggeringly incompetent, negligent or malicious to keep administering them” ...“as a parent myself I wouldn’t trust my children’s care to someone I secretly thought was a fool or a monster”.  He concludes by emphasizing that if parents can’t trust his medical advice on vaccines, then they will not tru…