Freedom in Healthcare
During my 18 years caring for and advocating on behalf of my patients, I've spent vast amounts of time assessing the inadequacies of the Healthcare system before, during, and after the ACA.
Before the ACA, patients came to my office asking me to keep their diagnoses off their records. They knew that if I put their medical problems in their charts, they would risk being denied care due to pre-existing condition clauses.
When the ACA was implemented, I saw people come in who had gone without care -- many for years -- and were eager to get back on track. This was great, of course, but some had lost so much ground that we could not get them back to where they had been before losing coverage.
This was coupled with the Insurance industry's last gasp trying to deny as much coverage as they could, by having me fill out multi-page questionnaires about patients and their health. They used this information to find ways to carve out conditions that were diagnosed in the past, so that they could deny coverage for those conditions going forward.
Flash forward to now, and patients are again asking to leave diagnoses off their charts because they fear what the GOP is trying to do to take away care and put them at the mercy of pre-existing condition clauses again.
So for many years, I've been thinking about what an ideal Healthcare system would look like. And's it's pretty straightforward.
It's based on a basic premise: Freedom
Every American should have the Freedom to go to whichever doctor, or hospital, or lab that they think is best for them.
Every American should have the Freedom to seek Healthcare services when they need them.
Every American should have the Freedom to change jobs or move across the country without fear of losing their Healthcare coverage.
Every American should have the Freedom to live their lives without the fear that a health crisis will push them into bankruptcy or lead to an untimely death.
To me, this is pretty simple. But there is only one system that truly provides this type of freedom: Single Payer.
I envision a Single Payer system created by doctors who have been on the front lines, who are experts in their fields, and who are familiar with and understand evidence-based medicine, rather than Insurance company executives looking to make a profit for their investors.
I'm not sure why we don't have a groundswell of support for Single Payer. I'm not sure why elected Democrats, the Democratic Party, and candidates for office on Democratic tickets aren't advocating for this. We are the party working for people -- aren't we?
Currently, physicians are in favor of Single Payer with a plurality of 48% in favor to 32% opposed. 52% of Democrats are in favor. These numbers are historically high. And support continues to grow. I am convinced that we can build on these numbers if we make our voices heard.
Sometimes the best ideas have to work their way up from the bottom instead of coming from the top. If we speak up, if we talk about the Freedom that would be a part of a Single Payer system, eventually we will get there. But we have to speak up. We have to insist that our leaders and those who seek to lead us listen to us.
We keep saying that Democrats need a positive message going into 2018 and beyond, something to tell voters and attract them to our side.
I happen to think Freedom in Healthcare is one such message.