By Dhiren Patel
Right now, we are seeing the struggle we saw a few years ago in Washington over how to fix healthcare so that the quality our care is better and it’s cheaper. Now with the planned rollback of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare & ACA), it has become a more pressing issue. The new Secretary of Health does not support programs have provided low-income families with healthcare like Medicaid and Medicare. So how can we move forward in policy so there is an investment put towards better healthcare?
There are many stakeholders in healthcare – The patients, the providers, pharmaceuticals, and insurance companies. There are always pockets to fill and the way hospitals and physicians offices maintain funding and the influence of big pharma on doctors is a huge issue. This is something I’ve experienced first-hand, a doctor keeps pushing me to take Accutane given the side-effects and my family’s history of depression because it was something he sponsored. There’s a huge influence on doctors conducting trials and how to prescribe one medication over the other based on the influence of big pharma so that they keep their prices high. These stakeholders also influence policy and we tend to forget the most important stakeholder is the patient.
Focus on Health Outcomes, not the System
Health care needs to be flexible and able to evolve as people, technology, disease evolve. We have to recognize that change needs to be made and that health care providers and stakeholders should have information of today, not yesterday. Most doctors still implement practices that are 13 years old, so you are already more than a decade behind the science and technology of today. We have implemented a system that rewards change and innovation as well as positive health outcomes so that we are constantly pushing the industry forward much like the consumer industry today, every week there is something new and amazing happening. If the car auto-manufacturing industry can be disrupted so can the healthcare system and it’s up to people to provide solutions and the government to provide health care, stakeholders, the incentive to look at outcomes vs the number of patients and visits.
Coming up with a solution will take bi-partisan action, most health policy experts agree on 70-80% of what is needed. They also need to consider an on-going reform that should be reviewed and updated as necessary. Some of the ACA policies stemming Healthcare innovation and better access are worth keep keeping, while it is not the perfect system, there never will be and that’s something both parties need to come to agree upon so that there can at least be a conversation. California is already taking the steps to have a discussion on a statewide single-payer system.