The Three Healthcare Patients

Blog by Joe Babaian

Voting begins today in Texas. For me and many more, this means a time to choose our healthcare future. Do we want to have a better, more accessible, and fair healthcare system? Do we? The solution has to be a national decision or not. This led me to think about the true state of our healthcare system – trying to distill it down as simply as possible without losing the point.

I am not thinking about TYPES of insurance like we often want to discuss and find ourselves in the hornet’s nest of competing interests. I decided to approach this from a human perspective – the types of patient that result FROM the broken system. I won’t call these folks (all of us really) “consumers” because to be consumers, we would have to have true and fair choice. And let’s face it, no one “chooses” to have healthcare that puts say, insulin, out of reach until they die.

Let’s look at the types of patients – distilled down – we have in the American system of healthcare. Share this with your international friends. They will be and will remain speechless that people fall into such buckets and experiences that should not even exist in a fair and kind society.

  • The Lucky – Insurance coverage affordable, appointments readily available, access to primary care and specialists is unimpeded, billing is handled with few errors or overages (shock bills), few denials, centers of excellence are in-network, records flow well between providers.
  • The Weary – Insurance coverage creates significant financial stress. appointments are difficult to secure and not convenient, access to primary care and specialists requires significant effort (but can be done), billing is rarely correct and often sees shock statements, denials are common and appeals frequent, centers of excellence are often out of network, records must be handled personally from place to place and are often are incomplete.
  • The Left Behind – Coverage is unavailable, out of reach financially, or extremely limited when available, appointments become impossible to secure, access to primary care and specialists is subject to luck and usually doesn’t work out/impossible, billing is abusive with large up-front payments required and high fees, denials are par for the course, centers of excellence are a pipe dream, records are so fragmented as to be useless.

These are not levels of coverage based on the type of insurance (from private to Medicaid) but levels of care that Americans face based on socio-economic status, fate, zip code, race, and more.

I hope we can discuss this today in light of the grievous nature and unfairness of having these three types of patients.

Join us tonight, October 13, 2020 at 8:30p E for our weekly #hcldr chat!

Tonight’s Topics:

  • T1: What type of patient are you from this list – Lucky, Weary, Left Behind? What do you feel directed you to this situation?
  • T2: What, if any, are the present solutions for allowing people to have healthcare that works for them again?
  • T3: How do our choices in elections impact the state of healthcare in America? Should we be single-issue voters and is this is risk in itself?
  • T4: As a patient/human in this system, what do you expect will happen with healthcare access next year? Share your thoughts!

Photo Credit – Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash

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