Suppose that health care providers handled sick patients the same way that our so-called Representatives are treating a sick system named healthcare. Below are examples medical care followed in italics by analogous Congressional ‘treatment’ of healthcare.
- You go to your primary doctor complaining of pain in your belly. She does no tests, makes no diagnosis, and sends you to a surgeon. [Congress has no diagnosis, no evidence of WHY healthcare is sick but is treating it anyway.]
- The surgeon will open you up and remove your gall bladder. After all, that is a common cause of belly pain and rules dictate what she does. [Congress creates and supports rules and regs that punish (no rewards) for not following rules. There are neither rewards nor punishments for outcomes because they do not measure outcomes.]
- There is only one overhead light and only one nurse in the Operating Room, which has not purchased any new instruments since 1989. Recovery room were over before your operation was finished. [Congress keeps “cutting costs,” which is code for reducing payments, which translates to cutting services. They make no attempt to maximize value received for our healthcare dollar. Because they do not measure benefits, they cannot calculate cost/benefit.]
- The cost of healthcare – both nationally and individually – keeps going up, yet your hospital and your doctor get less and less each year. Where is all the money going? [By far the largest expense item in healthcare is the “waste in the middle.” WHO is the middle? That is, I hope, a rhetorical question.]
- You have a bad outcome from your surgery similar to what happened to patients in New Jersey and Nebraska. Unfortunately, your doctors are not allowed to have information about what happened to those other patients. [Congress has passed numerous rules and regs that prevent providers from learning. Congress protects a medical malpractice system that works against both patients and providers.]
- Because of a bad outcome at your surgery, you need a second operation. This is good for your doctor because she makes more money. [As regulators find more non-compliance, there is an increasing “need” for regulators AND they have greater job security.] These are but two examples of the perverse incentives that dominate healthcare.
- After your bad outcome from surgery, you asked the surgeon for her performance record and found that many other times, her results have been bad. [Congress has passed a number of “landmark” Bills to fix healthcare such as MediCare, UMRA, and HIPAA Each has made healthcare more complex, generated more costs, lowered quality, and reduced access to care. ]
- Your hospital was found out of regulatory compliance and heavily fined: they had to lay off nurses. A nearby hospital was in compliance and not fined. Your hospital has better outcomes than its neighbor institution but: a) you have no way of finding out comparative results, and b) the regulators do not care about outcomes, only compliance with rules. [Congress set up and protects this system. Do they care about patient outcomes? Do they even know what happens to us – good and bad?]
- Your nurse has been at the hospital for only five months and your 51-year old doctor is desperately hoping for early retirement. [The healthcare system is destroying professional satisfaction. This leads to churning of the workforce, fewer entering, and more and more leaving. Hassle factor is the major reason.]
- Your insurance company is delaying authorization for your surgery. That is how they make money. [Who created the rules under which the insurance companies function? ]
- Your doctor used to accept MediCare patients but she does not now because she cannot afford to. Your local hospital is closing because it cannot make payroll. [Congress mandates delivery of services without payment. The Federal Government is planning additional cuts in MediCare payments even though they already pay less than doctors’ cost-of-staying-in-business.]
- Whatever happens to you, there is no effective feedback to those who decided your care: doctors, nurses, hospitals, managers, or regulators. [If Healthcare and we-the-patients suffer as a result of bad Congressional decisions, there is no consequence to our Representatives.]
Is Congress guilty of malpractice…on healthcare?
Should we approve their newest bad decision…again?!