Sometimes it feels like healthcare is moving from being a compassionate profession to a robotic system. Doctors are frustrated. Patients are frustrated. At times, this “new and improved” healthcare system seems like it churns patients in and out of a revolving door. Insurance companies must contain costs, just like every other type of business. Otherwise, they would go bankrupt. There must be a healthy balance between providing excellent care and managing the costs of that care. If several major health insurance companies folded, imagine how many people would abruptly find themselves without acceptable healthcare coverage. Fortunately, national guidelines based on sound medical research help guide healthcare decisions. Still, cost-containment is necessary for America’s healthcare system to thrive and provide excellent care. It’s important to remember that.
Meanwhile, numerous doctors are fed up with the changes in the system. Many are paid significantly less for their services than in the past. Even worse, less of their typical day is devoted to direct patient care because of all the bureaucratic and administrative demands they face. For a variety of reasons, many doctors are leaving the field sooner than they once thought. We are still determining where this merry-go-round will take us as a society. Concerns over access to care, potential rationing, and no care have many Americans sitting on the edge of their seats. Yet, you can play a proactive role. You don’t need a medical background. You may not have a personal advocate in Congress, but you can become the best advocate for your health care. The better informed you are, the more you can help your physicians help you.