Guess what America? If you pay for health insurance, you’re giving billions upon billions to health insurance CEOs, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical company CEOs. So, if you’re obeying the law, you’re contributing to their astronomical salaries.
In fact, Cigna’s CEO made around $49 million this past year, if you read the various reports on the Internet. The CEO at a non-profit hospital in New Jersey (Morristown Medical Center) made some $5 million back in 2014. And of course, we all know about Mylan Pharmaceutical’s CEO. She made about $26 million in 2014; all for skyrocketing the price of a medication that should be about a dollar a dose.
So when I read about insurance premiums increasing in 2017, and about the government attempting to “bring down health care costs” by “paying for quality care,” I can’t help but think that we may be going about it all wrong.
Presently, physicians are gearing up for the latest attempt at cost-containment, known as MACRA. If you don’t know what MACRA means, don’t worry, according to the latest AAFP survey, 80 percent of physicians don’t know what it means either.
So presently, your physician is reading about governmental regulation, quality measures, value-based care, and MIPS instead of reading about your lab tests, your medicines, and recent developments that could improve your quality of life. Or, they could be in the 46 percent of physicians in a recent Forbes survey that are throwing up their hands in exhaustion and planning on getting out of medicine as fast as they possibly can.
Meanwhile, my patients with COPD can’t afford the inhalers that improve their quality of life. My patients with diabetes can’t afford the insulin that’s necessary to reduce potential complications. And many of them will not be able to afford health insurance after the 25 percent increases that are anticipated in 2017.
So what do we do? I can tell you what I’d like to do. I’d like to have a catastrophic insurance plan that’s utilized like my car insurance, home insurance, or life insurance. A health insurance plan that truly meets the whole purpose of insurance. To only be utilized if something terrible happens. That way, my health care dollars would be paid directly to the people that actually provide my health care — nurses, lab techs, radiology techs, physicians — instead of being funneled to the various CEOs and business individuals making a fortune off health care without actually caring about patients’ health.
But I can’t do that because of the ACA. So instead, I’ll go back to reading about MACRA, MIPS, and APMs. COPD, CHF, T2DM, and HTN will have to wait for another day.
And I’ll keep funneling more than 25 percent of my monthly health insurance fees to various CEOs that are seeing wonderful business opportunities as health care soars to more than 17 percent of our GDP.
Justin Reno is a family physician.
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