9 Things Obama’s Plan Could Change for Healthcare Workers

by Ryan Winter on July 29, 2009

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:

1. Doctors’ pay will come from different sourcessoliant_obama_health_surgery1

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.)

2. Turning patients away because they don’t have insurancesoliant_obama_health_drugs

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.
http://healthcareforamericanow.org/site/content/what_comprehensive_reform_means#whatdrs

3. Healthcare workers could get (more!) overworkedsoliant_obama_health_surgery_2

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.

4. Doctors could be wooed by…public health clinics?soliant_obama_health_patients_2

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.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/Health-Care-Reform-and-Small-Businesses/

5. Patients will come from different ethnic backgroundssoliant_obama_health_patients_3

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

6. Patients will come from different economic backgroundssoliant_obama_health_patients

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.)
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/165/1/22?etoc

7. You might have trouble financing the kids’ second BMW…soliant_obama_health_surgery_rich_doctor

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.

8. In it for the patients…soliant_obama_health_doctors

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

9. Doctors might become more like medical detectives and less like soliant_obama_health_dnaentrepreneurs

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.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Frankly Frank 08.04.09 at 1:21 pm

There was also this post from yesterday about a benefit for healthcare employees that could come out of this plan.

http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2009/08/03/a-little-discussed-benefit-of-health-care-reform-employee-mobil/

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Tony Spencer 08.07.09 at 1:58 pm

“medical detective”? Are you serious? I don’t want a government paid “medical detective”. I want my healthcare workers to be paid WELL. And how can you seriously suggest doctors aren’t currently “in it for the patients”.

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Student 08.08.09 at 12:05 pm

“trouble financing the kids’ second BMW”

Wow. It’s good to know you have an idea of how much most doctors actually earn before you rant about it. Not.

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Nonnymouz 08.09.09 at 11:12 am

Definitely a unbiased representation of the issues… Great thing for your prospective employees to read.
I think there are some doctors who aren’t in the business for the patients, but doubt that its a minority. Low socioeconomic patients won’t benefit from this plan: do you really think this will woo doctors to work in the inner cities???? Do you think this plan will really help get those patients to medical care (often cited as MORE of an issue than actual doctor coverage and one reason the ER is used so often: the ambulance will pick you up and take you there, no matter where you are in the building; paratransit groups require you be able to get outside).
This plan will only hurt those who are middle class and employed…. Because, you see, the government will allow your employer to buy into this plan. And that plan will be so much cheaper than the other plans currently available that you will not have any other choice… the rich will still be able to afford to purchase their own health care, and the poor will still have access to Medicaid, and other benefits that are currently available (and without significant improvement!). The middle class/working class won’t have any other options… and just like in Canada, there will be one or two treatment formularies. If you don’t fit, too bad. Medical detectives? HA!

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Nonnymouz 08.09.09 at 11:13 am

Err, apologies: the first line says “doubt they are a minority” should read “doubt they are a MAJORITY”

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eliz 09.15.09 at 3:55 pm

Many docs come here from countries with a single payer system to make their fortune. I work with many of them, and they do take good care of their patients, but they could have done that back at home. Our health care “system” is a cash cow for Doctors, Insurance companies and pharm companies.

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linda 01.13.10 at 5:19 am

this has to be a joke. those are the weakest reasons i’ve ever seen used to back up something.

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Greg 03.03.10 at 4:20 pm

I agree 100% Linda. We don’t need medical detectives instead of physicians and to hear it made out that those of us in the medical field don’t come across poor people or that people that don’t speak English aren’t currently getting medical care is patently absurd. This is silly, plain and simple.

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electrical supplies 09.13.10 at 3:52 pm

i finally decided to write a comment on your blog. i just wanted to say good job. i really had great fun reading your posts.
I cant wait for your next posts.

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