Archive | January, 2014

The Affordable Care Act — Is Our Future At Stake?

30 Jan

by Heather Grace IPJ Staff Writer

After reading information on the Affordable Care Act from (what I believe is) an unbiased source: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-will-change-with-obamacare-2013-10, I wasn’t put at ease. The article confirms what I’ve been hearing from patients and doctors alike. I fear for our future–I really do.

BIG ISSUES WITH THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT:

  1. Already in 2014, many low income/poor people who want insurance cannot get it. In truth, the ACA WILL NOT HELP UP TO 2/3 OF THE 8M POOR IT WAS INTENDED TO HELP! Though people thought the poor would get free coverage under ACA, most won’t. Of the 50 states, 26 did not expand Medicaid coverage through ACA. (Families without dependent children don’t qualify in these states, for example.)
  2. People who want to keep their “good” PPO insurance plans are already paying a huge price… they all got notices of increased taxes & have been paying them since January (if they could afford to). IN A FEW YEARS, TAXES WILL GO UP EVEN MORE FOR PEOPLE WHO CONTINUE TO KEEP THEIR CURRENT PLANS INSTEAD OF CHOOSING A PLAN ON THE WWW.HEALTHCARE.GOV SITE!
  3. Our overburdened system is already getting worse as a result of the ACA. Docs that either help people at low cost -or- are good pain care providers are seeing record #s of new patients & it’s getting hard to help them all. Because of the government’s “take it or leave it” pricing, staff cuts &/or lower cost (often less skilled) staff will be necessary for all providers that will ultimately survive the next 4yrs & beyond. So will across-the-board budget cuts. Preparations for these inevitable changes are underway. Why? PROVIDERS MUST REDUCE COSTS BY $1.6B WHILE ADDING UP TO 40M PATIENTS TO THE SYSTEM! With a system that’s poised to pay less but ask more of everyone, what’s the incentive to go to medical school? Why be an RN when you can become a CNA or LVN? The possibility that brilliant healthcare practitioners will be paid what they deserve in the future is bleak. Staffing shortages are sure to follow.
  4. ALL THESE ISSUES MAY LEAD TO A SERIOUS HEALTHCARE CRISIS if pie-in-the-sky ideas like “encouraging patients to lose weight/make healthy choices” don’t dramatically reduce the burden on the system, along w/ongoing cuts. If we can’t serve up to 40M more people with $1.5B less money, OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM MAY END UP BECOMING A LOT LIKE WORKERS COMP IN THE NEAR FUTURE. WC caused my permanent disability due when my spinal cord injury that wasn’t cared for appropriately. No one should wait 2yrs+ for a desperately needed MRI & then another 5yrs+ for much-needed surgery to fix a disc that’s severely pressing on the spinal cord! Yet, I did. By the time I got my surgery, it was too late. My career, my home, any chance of getting back to “normal” — everything was gone! Think I’m a rarity? Think again! I’ve met far too many people just like me, who were seriously injured &/or permanently disabled by WC’s medical neglect.

DO YOU WANT YOUR FUTURE TO LOOK LIKE MY WORKERS COMP EXPERIENCE? I lived this misery & I don’t want this sort of ‘healthcare’ for anyone! Short of expecting *everyone* to pay cash for procedures instead of waiting (assuming they can afford to), what can we do to ensure a better future for U.S. healthcare? Any ideas on how to prevent catastrophe?! Let us know in the Comments section, below. Good luck to us all…

About The Author
Heather Grace is an Intractable Pain Sufferer, Writer & Advocate. She’s Co-Director of the 501c3 nonprofit Intractable Pain Patients United (http://www.ippu.info), has been a Speaker/Conference Planner at For Grace’s (http://www.forgrace.org) annual Women in Pain Conference and is a Pain Ambassador for the U.S. Pain Foundation (http://uspainfoundation.org).

© 2014 Intractable Pain Journal & Heather Grace. All rights reserved.

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