We are a technology-obsessed society. Many of us most likely have experienced that disoriented feeling when accidentally leaving the house without our phone.
With the 2016 presidential election just days away, debates on the personalities and as well as the policy agendas of the respective candidates have become increasingly fierce. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may both be moderates at heart, but their official policy platforms represent near-extremes of the political spectrum. This holds especially true in their proposals regarding healthcare: Trump’s proposal, entitled “Health Care Reform to Make America Great Again,” and Clinton’s, “Universal, Quality, Affordable Health Care for Everyone in America” together paint a picture of the spectrum of opinions and debates surrounding healthcare.
Health care providers and patients alike have been physically and emotionally frustrated when dealing with health care’s rising cost. Legislative restrictions based on cost often defy logic and common sense in a way that most people have never encountered. But, what is it specifically about the health care market that gives us these fundamentally perverse situations?
The Ontario government is cutting physician services. Two rounds of unilateral fee cuts, with the most recent on October 1, saw physician fees cut by 1.3 percent. Different from other public sector employees, physicians have a commitment to patient care, limiting their legal and ethical ability to take job action. As a medical student not currently earning a salary — but rather paying $24,000 a year in tuition — and junior member of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), I can only passively observe the reaction of many doctors in Ontario to these cuts, and the accompanying provincial government’s almost apathetic response.
I am honored by this opportunity to offer you some advice on how to prepare for your professional career in what has become a treacherous health care system. I will not elaborate on why I think the health care system is “treacherous.” I will assume — and even hope — that you have at least some inkling that things are not rosy in the world of medicine.
Vanilla Ice famously once said “Stop, Collaborate and Listen” in his 1989 song “Ice Ice Baby.” To the same token, we all can agree that we do not do enough of collaborating and listening when it comes to the issue of health care reform: it is a complex topic with no easy fix and one which has become divided on party lines.
We have made it to an era when even fast food restaurants stock biodegradable straws. Corn-derived utensils have been released from the confines of the Whole Foods salad bar and have made their way into a wider range of restaurants and delis. There are pockets in this nation where composting is a city-maintained public service, where green bins enlist each and every home in the neighborhood to move one step closer to a greener lifestyle and to leave a lighter footprint on this earth. But the medical community — perhaps the one institution that has the most potential for enacting change — is lagging in the area of environmental consciousness.
No one can deny the heavy price tag of health care in the United States — in fact, we have the priciest health care in the world. Some might jump to the conclusion that this would mean we also have the best health care, since increased spending means increased capacity to provide a higher quality of care, right? But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), we consistently fall short when compared to other nations in areas like life expectancy or speed of health services.
As health care reform begins to take hold in America, we are beginning to see some significant departures from our “ways of old.” The new forms of payment that are taking hold seem so foreign to us because they are in direct opposition to our past system. Our previous method, primarily fee-for-service, was one where there was an incredible amount of wiggle room for what payments should be. Individual hospitals or practitioners would negotiate with an insurance company as to what their reimbursement should be for a given service or procedure. This has led to enormous disparities in what individual hospitals may receive for the same procedure and the same outcome.
To begin our examination of doctors’ salaries, let us first look at the real cost of becoming one. According to Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), the data warehouse for medical school application services, less than 60 percent of all applicants to MD programs are accepted.
By recognizing the important distinction between for-profit hospitals and non-profits, a medical student can better define his/her own beliefs on how care should be administered and made available to patients. My investigation into the difference between these types of hospitals has surprised me in many ways. It also helped me address my own concerns about whether a profit should be made on providing health care. The conversations I had with Michael Halter, a CEO at …
It’s fairly safe to say that the debate surrounding health care in the United States is long from over. During President Barack Obama’s first term, he fought to implement a new health care system that is projected to shave hundreds of billions off medical costs over the first decade. Once President Obama’s second term comes to an end, many Republican candidates have sworn to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if elected into office. Why …