If it becomes reality, the Obama administration’s controversial proposal for a Canada-like option for those without a private insurance plan could dramatically impact healthcare workers. Positive or negative, here are nine things we think the plan could change:
In Canada, doctors bill the provincial healthcare system. Among other things, the Obama plan could allow people who aren’t covered by an insurance company receive affordable coverage from the government. For health care professionals treating such patients, preventative medicine in America would become a paying practice. (And hopefully a healthier population.)
In theory, doctors wouldn’t have to do this as often. A public healthcare option would also reduce the stress and hassle of billing arguments and claims denials from private health insurance providers.
3. Healthcare workers could get (more!) overworked
More insured people equals more clients. That equals more patients…And more insured people equals more clients. Though such a system would eventually see fewer medical procedures performed, a frenzied adjustment period could be pure chaos.
Private medical practices will be required to contribute to employee health insurance plans and be given tax credits for insurance plans. A public health care option could help attract higher quality medical professionals to clinics that might otherwise only want to work for larger healthcare firms.
Since the Democrats ended America’s ban on legal immigrants enrolling in the program until they had lived in the States for at least five years, these people could be eligible and insured. American doctors could quickly be seeing more patients who primarily speak a language other than English. Among other things, this could cause a shift in health communication needs. http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5135JJ20090205
Equity in health care access, treatment, research and resources to people and communities of different economic statuses, could result in the elimination of disparities in health outcomes. Changes in demographic for patients could mean changes in requirements, because socioeconomics is a factor in many diseases (for example, heart disease.)
Doctors who want to make as much money as possible could have their profits affected: The Obama plan might make it harder for doctors who want to reach the top of their pay scale or earn as much money as their business will allow.
Doctors who are in the profession – above all – to help patients get the best care possible could see a system that helps them achieve their goals faster. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande?currentPage=all
To lower costs (fewer tests, fewer surgeries) and maintain or increase quality, one effect is increased team work and more “putting heads together” among doctors. In other words, a public healthcare system could create more collaboration between healthcare professionals.