• Putting You in Charge of Your Own Health Care

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    Americans
    are ready for change in the way they receive and pay for health
    care. Surprisingly, it may not be the changes that most politicians,
    big businesses, insurance companies and special interests are pushing.
    Americans are ready to take back control of their health care. They
    are ready for a change from unaffordable insurance that comes only
    from an employer they may prefer to leave – insurance that
    seems to provide more of a hassle than convenient protection from
    unexpected expenses. They are sick of sitting for an hour to see
    a doctor, then seeing a nurse for 10 minutes and the doctor for
    three and often left to wonder about what happened. They are burdened
    by high taxes for government programs that seem to provide health
    benefits for everyone but them while the same government clamors
    to cover even more in financially unsustainable programs. They have
    heard enough of empty promises from politicians who care only about
    getting re-elected and having more power. Yet even with all these
    and other problems, many Americans have given up and figure that
    it is up to the government to solve the problem. They wonder if
    the government solution will still allow them rapid access to high
    quality health care they deserve.

    The current
    proposals for reform are cloaked as big changes, but as it turns
    out, they are actually more of the same. They can be summed up in
    this way: turn more control over to the government and insurance
    companies while politicians and special interests jockey for credit
    and work behind the scenes to benefit – at the expense of individual
    Americans. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same
    thing over and over and expecting different results – but that
    is what is being proposed today. While most American want more individual
    control over their own lives, the health reform proposals will expand
    the control over health care held by third-party payers (insurance
    companies and government). This would make matters worse for Americans.

    The
    story of how we got to where we are today is long but has its roots
    in the World War II–era policy that stated that a tax deduction
    could only be applied to health insurance provided through a job.
    That lead to employers’ control of health insurance purchase and
    removed the consumer from the decision – decisions they make
    every day for auto, homeowners and life insurance (products that
    are affordable). Insurance companies then sold to employers –
    not to consumers. Insurance products then began to expand from "accident
    and sickness" policies, to "health" insurance. Thus
    they cover every minor expense except for a token deductible from
    patients. While this seems desirable on the surface, in the end
    it leads to little control over demand for medical tests and treatments
    and drives up the cost of health care and insurance for all. Instead
    of asking your doctor, "Do I really need another pill"
    or an MRI, or a surgery, consumers take the "free" benefit.
    Unfortunately, doctors often do more tests and treatments to survive
    government-fixed prices through high-volume services and to protect
    themselves from lawsuits. This leads to what the government and
    insurance companies call "over-utilization," the boogeyman
    they seek to kill by having more control over what kind of care
    every patient can be authorized to receive. Authorized by someone
    else besides the patient through cookbook medicine and rationing
    of care. That is the same thing that happens in socialized medicine
    in other countries.

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    April
    8, 2009

    Dr. David
    McKalip is a Solo Practice Neurosurgeon in St. Petersburg Florida
    and President of the Florida
    Neurosurgical Society
    .

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