When Congress Is Doin' The Most, Health Suffers

To fix healthcare, talk to physicians; skip Congress

Photo Credit: Photo: Jennifer Kohnke

| May 26 2017,

10:36 pm

"Doin' the most" has a whole new connotation when we consider that Congress is taking on a job they're neither required nor trained to do: healthcare reform.

As an early career physician, it wasn't until I quit multiple jobs, started my own private psychiatry practice, and dove headfirst into healthcare reform that I discovered why our healthcare finance system is broken:  we've created an unreasonable system and we're asking the most ill-equipped organization to fix it.

"We" (American citizens as patients, physicians, hospitals, government, drug makers) created this boondoggle. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory" indeed because each and every one of us is complicit in building this charade and, worse, allowing it continue. We've forgotten the idea that "there's no such thing as a free lunch" and keep expecting on-demand medical services for free.99.  We force people to pay insurance premiums then allow the insurance company to withhold care.  We overmedicate when non-medical therapies are oftentimes better solutions.  And now, we're all waiting for "Healthy" Superman.  He ain't coming.

"Ill-equipped organization" (Congress) has their job description literally written into the Constitution.  Nowhere in Article One does it mention "provide access to quality affordable healthcare."  I think this is why Congress is so busy tripping over themselves and getting the central premise wrong:  ask NOT how people can afford health insurance but how we can help people afford healthcare.

Over the last year, I've shared a new health care financing idea:  create state-based health companies owned by citizens, eliminate Medicare/insurance contributions, establish a state based preventative care fund, and allow citizens to buy care directly from healthcare providers. Akin to a "health Costco", my idea drops medication costs (private state-based health companies buy their meds in bulk from wherever they choose) and committing to 1 commercially available medical record means your records follow you everywhere.

I've shopped this free paradigm shifting idea around to patients, physicians, and advocacy groups and I'm slowly gaining traction. My goal is simple:  get this idea into the national discourse as a progressive and responsible way to finance healthcare. Strangely, when I've approached Congress, the silence is deafening (though kudos to Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas for calling me back.)  Other faxes, letters, tweets, calls...no response.

Healthcare is my job and as a practicing physician, I know how to fix our broken healthcare finance system:  www.changehealth.today.  When our leaders ask the correct questions (e.g. Q: who's in charge of healthcare?  A: patients and their physicians) the solutions fall into place.

Will Congress listen to a Board Certified psychiatrist running a successful private practice equipped with a full plan creating universal access to quality affordable healthcare?  Maybe not while they're on the East Coast "doin' the most."