Prescription for America and Your Migraine Treatment

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • Health care reform is one of the hottest topics in the news today. I doubt that any of us thinks our health care system is as good as it should or could be. Certainly, we have too few doctors who treat Migraines and other headache disorders adequately, let alone well.

    The issue of health care reform is one that ignites fears and concerns for a great many Americans. People who don't have health insurance and can't afford it, often can't afford care. People who have good medical insurance often fear that health care reform will include changes that result in their care not being as good as it is now.

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    We hear President Obama and other important policy makers quoted out of context, which leaves us wondering who really thinks and stands for what.

    Yesterday evening, a special edition of ABC's Nightline aired: Prescription for America. This hour with President Obama reviewed many of the issues surrounding health care reform. Finally, there was an opportunity to listen to the President and hear what he's thinking about health care reform. Here are some of the comments and statements he made:

    • "We have finally decided to fix what's wrong with healthcare in America."
    • "How can we come up with a uniquely American plan?"
    • "There's a whole bunch of care being provided that every study, every bit of evidence we have, indicates may not be making us healthy."
    • "The status quo is untenable... we can't keep doing what we're doing... it's bankrupting families... it's bankrupting business... it's bankrupting our government."
    • "One aspect of it... Can we come up with ways that don't prevent people from getting the care they need but also make sure that because of all kinds of skewed incentives we are getting a lot of quantity of care but we're not getting the quality we need."
    • "If we are smart, we should be able to design a system in which people still have choices of doctors and choices of plans... that makes sure that the necessary treatment is provided, but we don't have a huge amount of waste in the system... that we are providing adequate coverage for all people and that we are driving down costs over the long-term."
    • "... The issue of evidence-based care. I have great confidence that doctors are going to want to do the right thing for their patients if they've got good information, and if their payment incentives are not such that it actually costs them money to provide the appropriate care. And what we have right now because doctors are paid fee for service, and there are all sorts of rules governing how they operate, as a consequence, often times it is harder for them, more expensive for them to do what is appropriate. And we should change those incentive structures."
    • "We want to use science. We want doctors and medical experts to be making decisions that all too often right now are driven by skewed policies, by outdated means of reimbursement, or by insurance companies."

    I think this statement, in particular, addresses many concerns of patients and health care providers alike:

  • "If you are happy with your plan, and you are happy with your doctor, then we don't want you to have to change. In fact, if we don't do anything, if there's inaction, I think that's where the great danger that you lose your healthcare exists. So, what we're saying is if you're happy with your plan and your doctor, you stick with it; if you don't have insurance, if it's too much for you to afford, if your employer doesn't provide it, or if you're self-employed, then we will have what's called an exchange, or you can think of it as a market place, where essentially people can compare and look at what's out there. They'll have a host of different healthcare plans available, each with their own physician's network. And you will be able to sign up for the plan that works for you. We will help people who don't have insurance get insurance. Doctors are not going to be working for the government. They still are going to be working for themselves. They're still going to be focused on patient care. And in terms of how doctors are going to be reimbursed, it's going to be the same system we have now except we can start making changes so, for example, we're rewarding quality of outcomes rather than the number of procedures that are done."

    Yes, I'm concerned that health care reform may make things better for those who currently have no insurance while reducing the choices of those of us who do currently have health insurance. Still, especially as I talk with our uninsured readers, I know that something must be done. Will "they" come up with a perfect system? Of course not. There's no such thing. But we must encourage reform, speak up when the opportunities arise, and trust that things will get better.

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    On a related topic, Organizing for America is organizing this Saturday, June 27, as a National Health Care Day of Service with events to learn or to take action in our communities. In many areas, there are many different types of events that you can attend. To find an event in your area, please visit Organizing for America's Health Care Action Center. While you're on their site, look at the other opportunities to keep up-to-date on the issues and ways in which each of us can take part.

    Health care reform is an issue that cannot be decided along party lines. Rather than a Democratic or Republican (in alphabetical order) response, we must have an American response.

    Right here, right now, let's discuss what each of us things health care reform means and what we need from it. Please click the "Add Comment" link below and start talking!

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    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape© Teri Robert, 2009
    Last updated Juen 25, 2009


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Published On: June 25, 2009