As a doctor, I have been struck watching CNN by the many perspectives on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. There are stories aboutcustomers’ sticker shock at plans with deductibles as high as $12,700 for families. There are stories on US president Barack Obama criticizing the insurance companies for having substandard plans. And there are stories about peopleblaming the president after losing their current insurance.
Yet in none of these were doctors even mentioned. It’s as if doctors do not know the intricacies of the health-care system. As if doctors are not there for their patients 24 hours a day. As if doctors are not dealing with denials from the insurance companies on a daily basis, losing valuable hours to menial paperwork.
Doctors have a duty to care for their patients and are the engines that put health care into motion. Unfortunately, doctors’ voices are largely excluded from the discussion of health-care reform. Their valuable insight into the day-to-day operations of this health-care machine is ignored. This strikes me as misguided. Would you want to build a plane with no input from a pilot? Or design a curriculum without a teacher’s input? These insider insights are essential. Unless we look to doctors to help solve these dilemmas, we will be doomed to spiraling costs, dysfunctional insurance companies, and, of course, more talking heads on TV blaming others.