Freelance: 6 Pro-Life Priorities for Healthcare Reform

One of the fruits of my readings on health insurance.

http://truthandcharityforum.org/top-6-pro-life-aims-for-health-care-reform/

“The practice of medicine involves the whole human body, so policies about it inevitably express a specific anthropology or philosophical understanding of the human person. National legislation that includes every citizen will have the consequence of enacting one anthropology as opposed to others. Accordingly, health care law has become a test of America’s ability to balance an authentic pluralism, one that is capable of respecting both individual freedom and the moral commitments of other individuals who become funders of it.”

  1. A clear distinction between insurance and medical care – A glaring, but oft-unacknowledged error of the Affordable Care Act is the difference between having health insurance and receiving needed medical care. The former is no guarantee of the latter. The working poor with incomes that set them above the Medicaid threshold have been saddled with low-premium plans that have exorbitant deductibles of up to $13,000, that leave them de facto uninsured and priced-out of healthcare. This problem reveals a gap in concern for certain social groups; it’s part of an anthropology that gives lip service to covering all people, but actually disregards some. Pro-life means pro-life for everyone, so a pro-life policy should seek to increase access for all.
  2. Adequate funding for the severely ill and dying – Euthanasia is a development that pro-life people need to fight. As physician-assisted suicide gains legal traction, insurance companies have incentives to deny expensive care for cancer patients, such as Stephanie Packer, a mother of four diagnosed with late stage cancer.Legalized suicide inverts the practice of medicine, turning patients into dollar amounts instead of lives worth saving, regardless of long is left. The cultural message about the value and purposes of life that is sent by legal suicide is tragic and irreversible. If lives are only valuable when they are pain-free and productive, most of us will soon be in the crosshairs. As the government sets policy, we must demand that it take care of its citizens rather than killing them, and that it tells Americans that life is worth living. This should be an anthropological no-brainer.
  3. A continuation of Hyde restriction on abortion – Presently, the Hyde Amendment, a rider attached annually to the Congressional budget, prohibits federal funding for abortion. It affects Medicaid primarily, but is also present in the ACA. Insurers are not required to cover abortions. States, by contrast, may add abortion coverage or limit it.The principles of the Hyde Amendment permit a level of personal removal for taxpayers who would be funding the procedure that, for many, amounts to murder. Hyde is one of the key compromises that followed the 1973 legalization of abortion. However, it came under fire this campaign season from the Democratic party platform and nominee, Hillary Clinton. In the first week of his presidency, Mr. Trump passed the Hyde rider into a permanent law. For valuing life, it’s a small but important victory. Abortion is a clear-cut case of difference on what it means to be human and who counts as one. Hyde represents one stab at pluralism, a starting point. A committed pro-life healthcare policy will further demonstrate support for women, babies and families through—
  4. Support for prenatal and neonatal care – Pro-life groups are often criticized for caring more about the baby than the mother. If conservatives have a chance to help shape public health policy, we need to make abortion obsolete. Support for pregnant mothers, new moms, and infants, as well as adoption placement need to be readily available so that women in difficult situations aren’t left alone and without options. Raising a child is difficult and demanding work. If we claim to welcome unplanned children, we need to welcome unplanned children, viewing them and their mothers as essential to the social fabric of our country. That’s an anthropology of life that values people and responsibility rather than seeking to abolish the natural consequences of behavior.

Full article  (and the other 2 ideas here): http://truthandcharityforum.org/top-6-pro-life-aims-for-health-care-reform/

Question: Why do you think healthcare exploded onto the political scene during Obama’s presidency? What is at stake in the debate?

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Article Round Up II: Medicine and Healthcare Policy

Here is another round up of articles I’ve found interesting and telling about modern medicine and Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. As I ponder the ACA, potential changes I hope the new president will make and especially the new politicization of healthcare and the all-encompassing ethics associated with that (such as conscience protection and service for the poor), these are some of things I’m thinking about.

The Atlantic – Medical Problems: Patient Responsive Happiness. problems with ACA

“Joshua Fenton, a University of California, Davis, professor who conducted the study, said these results could reflect that doctors who are reimbursed according to patient satisfaction scores may be less inclined to talk patients out of treatments they request or to raise concerns about smoking, substance abuse, or mental-health issues. By attempting to satisfy patients, healthcare providers unintentionally might not be looking out for their best interests.”

This takes some background. Pieces of the ACA reward hospitals for higher patient satisfaction, but patient satisfaction surveys don’t correlate with better outcomes. This is why we see hospitals now with brand new furniture and state of the art entertainment. Granted, we patients matters. There are a lot of cogs going into healthcare now as the government works to incentivize the practice of medicine, as they do with the tax code, and we are starting to see some glaring distortions.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/04/the-problem-with-satisfied-patients/390684/

The Atlantic – The Erosion of the Dr/Patient Relationship

“Today’s physicians, he tells us, see themselves not as the “pillars of any community” but as “technicians on an assembly line,” or “pawn[s] in a money-making game for hospital administrators.” According to a 2012 survey, nearly eight out of 10 physicians are “somewhat pessimistic or very pessimistic about the future of the medical profession.” In 1973, 85 percent of physicians said they had no doubts about their career choice. In 2008, only 6 percent “described their morale as positive,” Jauhar reports.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/11/doctors-tell-all-and-its-bad/380785/

Carrie Kovarik, M.D. in the Washington Post, Defending her Trump Vote in Academia

“Putting insurance in the hands of people in this country is a small part of the equation that leads to increasing access to care. Once they have access, the bottleneck to care is moved down the line we don’t have more doctors, specialists or hospitals so we need to plan for innovative solutions that will help to provide them care….

Right now, this is not happening to a significant degree so when my counterparts look at me with disdain, I say, “Why not give change a chance?””

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/11/17/its-a-lonely-place-a-conservative-ivy-league-professor-counters-faculty-calls-for-trump-to-denounce-attack/?wpisrc=nl_highered&wpmm=1

Mother Jones – Trump Care Likely to be more Confusing and Costlier

“According to the state [Kentucky], most of those savings would come from people dropping out of the program because they couldn’t manage the premiums and complexity—18,000 people in just the first year.”

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/trumpcare-likely-be-more-costly-less-efficient-and-more-annoying-obamacare

This analysis strikes me as largely true–some reforms will probably be aimed at making requirements too complicated so that lower-income people drop out. That is a problem.

There are also however other problems such as a legitimate scarcity of resources that the ACA deals with currently by having enormous (such as $13,000.00) deductibles on the low-premium plans which effectively leave people uninsured. Another glaring problem are the bureaucratic and reporting requirements such as online patient portals and the electronization of medical records. These have some good sides, but doctors’ non-clinical duties have increased substantially, as have the number of administrative work required in offices, which has bloated costs immeasurably. Colleges have entire majors now dedicated to Health Care Administration–not medicine, not nursing, but medical office work.

 

Your thoughts and direction towards other resources are always appreciated!