A Doctor's Thoughts on Health Care reform: Part I

One of my classmates did an excellent lecture on the different health care reform bills currently in congress.

Mostly, I left the lecture depressed. But because I have lots of thoughts, I'd thought I'd put a several posts up about specific ideas the bills contain. One thing I did learn is that there are 3-4 different versions going through congress right now, several senate bills and a house bill. So all the bills contain things that are slightly different.

Today's post will be about the things that I liked. This will likely be a rather shorter post than further thoughts to come, but I don't have tons of time tonight for the more lengthy posts about things that I didn't like. So in no particular order:

1. Setting standards for what insurance has to cover - a big part of what is in the bills is going to change laws so that lots of basic stuff has to be covered by health insurance. Things like pap smears, colonoscopies, mammograms, maternity care now will have to be a basic part of what is covered. There is a good focus on encouraging people to get preventative care so that we can prevent or catch earlier some of the diseases that cause lots of problems. This is good.

2. Preventing insurance companies from excluding those with pre-existing conditions. - Even if you have health problems, you will be able to get insurance. Hopefully some of the people without insurance now who are very, very unhealthy will be able to get insured so they can see doctors regularly, and not just when they are in a medical disaster and come to the ER.

3. No lifetime limits on benefits - insurance companies will no longer be able to say, "Sorry, you've used up too much of our money, we aren't paying for anything else."

4. Encouraging some competition by creating co-ops and health care exchanges so people can shop around for the best plan for them. The idea of the exchange is that there will be a place people can look for a clear description of different plans. Hopefully this will mean less "fine print."

5. More funding for loan repayment for people doing primary care. Some of the bills also have increased funding for low interest loans for those going into primary care. Hopefully this will help encourage people to choose primary care specialties.

Well, they may have been a few other things I liked, but that is most of what I can remember right now. What do you like about the bills? Any thoughts?

And come back later for Part 2, and if the post gets too long, Part 3 - things that I didn't like and things that are just bad ideas.


Chandelier said…
Don't forget lawsuits as a major factor in the whole equation.

thanks for posting these about the bills. I wish they would just stop at insurance reform and not try to control health care and health care providers! What so many people don't realize is how much control the gov. already has over insurance b/c of medicare/medicaid and look how not functional those programs are!!

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