B.I.T.E. #3 — Don’t Mess with Me and My Doctor! (An American Sacred Cow)

One thing I can guarantee about health care reform is this: anything that messes with Americans and their relationships with their personal doctors is not acceptable and non-negotiable. When anyone messes with this American sacred cow it strikes a raw nerve with its people.
 If this is your first time visiting “The EHI One Bite Connection” I want to refer you to B.I.T.E. #2 on this blog to fully understand what I’m going to share with you here in B.I.T.E. #3.
There are many consequences that will result if a public plan run by the government is introduced. As I said in B.I.T.E. #2 the experts predict within two years the private health insurance market will not exist. When this outcome occurs I have two questions for you:

 — How important is your relationship with your personal physician?

 — Are you willing to give up that relationship?

The single-payer healthcare system that will most likely evolve will be just like the one in Canada. This would be like having one giant HMO. Just ask your present doctor if they are not currently part of an HMO, why aren’t they? They will tell you that they could not be profitable enough based on the low level of reimbursement paid by the HMO. Under a public plan there are a number of variables that will affect your relationship with your doctor:

1 — If your doctor does not agree and accept the public plan’s low reimbursements, you cannot use that doctor. (Loss of freedom #1)

2 — In Canada it is against the law to pay a doctor under the table in cash for any services, no matter what your circumstances. The government dictates the medical necessity of services, not your doctor. (Loss of freedom #2)

3 — A public plan will drive away the best quality doctors because they will elect to practice medicine in countries outside of the US. If you want to use these top doctors you will have to pay with cash and travel outside of the United States to access their services. (Loss of freedom #3)

 America used to be synonymous with freedom. Under our current healthcare system 85% of Americans have the freedom to choose which doctor they want to see and when they want to see that doctor. They can also choose to shop around for a better doctor or one that costs less if they choose to do so.

 Introducing a public plan will force the 85% currently covered to jeopardize this freedom of choice. Health care reform needs to bring a solution that offers similar freedom of choice to the 15% that currently don’t have access to that freedom. Otherwise we will be “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”.

Don’t just take my word for it, I challenge anyone reading this to ask your personal doctor, what would happen to your patient-to-physician relationship if this public plan becomes a reality?

Matthew T. Berrafato

Elephant Hunter

B.I.T.E. #2 — Don’t Be Fooled!

My goal in writing this is to encourage everyone regardless of what side of the political fence you’re sitting to debate the issues that are being introduced under the broad category of health care reform. I will be using the core principle of elephant hunting by only introducing one bite of information each day on this topic of health care reform. In doing this I believe it is possible to keep from getting overwhelmed on this extremely complex topic. My intent is to focus on only one issue each day giving readers the facts and information to effectively debate the issue.

Don’t be fooled!

The new administration in Washington will be attempting to introduce as early as July 2009 a “public plan option” that would supposedly be allowed to compete with the private health insurance marketplace. This public option would be financed by you and me and businesses through taxes and would be run by our federal government and would be open to every American just like Medicare. In my opinion this is the most important debate to be discussed when looking at health care reform. It is not only my opinion but that of the independent consulting firm Lewin Group that if this public option is adopted, within as little as two years, the private health insurance industry would no longer exist. I strongly encourage you not to take my word for it but to check out the website for the Lewin group, www.lewin.com and read their white paper titled “The Cost and Coverage Impacts Of a Public Plan: Alternative Design Options”. This particular paper gives you specific details of why they have come to this conclusion. They point out that of the 170 million Americans currently covered under the private health insurance industry, 119 million would move from the private health insurance side over to this public plan. All you need to do is look back to 1965 when Medicare was introduced, it was created as a plan to compete against private insurers that offer coverage to seniors. Within only a few years, the only option left was the current federal Medicare plan that exists today that has zero competition. By the way, the federal government issued a report a few weeks ago that indicated Medicare will be out of money in only eight years. The current system of Medicare covers 40 million people approximately, my question is if we are going to add another 119 million people to a government run health insurance plan, who is going to pay for it?

Don’t be fooled by this public plan offering!

I am asking each one of you to debate the issues with your Congressman and Senators from Washington. Share this information with other people within your own centers of influence as well encouraging them to join the debate.

Matthew T. Berrafato
Elephant Hunter