Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Eggs Anyone?

Happily, at my last physical I found out I was fine.

I was kind of surprised that I was fine because when I arrived at the doctor’s office, I was assaulted with some new paperwork to fill out. I say assaulted because, I am told quickly and gleefully, that this paperwork must be filled out and returned, so that the secretary may then put me in the queue to be seen by the health care professional whose services I have contracted near the time I have scheduled that service. I thought my blood pressure would be quite high. 

So what was this new paperwork? HIPAA forms letting me know of my doctor’s intent to share my medical information with other medical and non-medical providers so I can get the best treatment, but really to "simplify" the administration of health records? Nope. I had gotten used to that CYA bit of white tape. Was it for insurance information to prove that I had the ability to pay the doctor for his services or had contracted with another agency that assumed the relative risk of the cost of my health care in exchange for great sums of money in order to pay the doctor for his services? Nope. I always have proof that I contract with health care insurance provider on hand because I've chosen to pay a lot, but willingly, for that particular value. 

No. This new set of paperwork was courtesy of the government’s federal billing standards and “Meaningful Use System.”  Easter eggs from Obamacare.

Not that these provisions were intentionally hidden, as the term Easter egg might imply, but that our elected legislators did pass the bill so we can all find out what's in it after all.  What's in it is a gigantic morass of new rules, new agencies, new standards – in fact, it's 2700 pages worth of legal yarn spun, twisted, and knotted up into an 1.1+ trillion dollar ball of taxpayer's money which promises to spawn over 27,000 pages of further inscrutable regulations administered by government bureaucrats.  And yet, there is nothing that will actually help me gain better access to health care, better understanding of how I'm responsible for the decisions that affect my health, access to better doctors, or a healthier outlook on life.  

Quite the contrary. 

Every government intrusion into what should be a private interaction between an individual and his health care providers pushes the ostensible goal of a populace of healthy individuals further away.

So this is the form my most recent Easter eggs took.

“Understanding Your Insurance Benefit for Physicals”

“Meaningful Use System”

Because nothing protects a patient’s affordability of care better than not knowing what he’ll have to pay for until AFTER the services have been provided except possibly, his doctor knowing the race, ethnicity, and language of all patients everywhere. 

What other rotten eggs will this joyless hunt yield? 


Jared said...

To add insult to this, note that the incentive money that is being provided to physicians for achieving meaningful use of electronic health records came from the 2009 federal stimulus act. So they are using your own tax dollars to harass you.

Lynne said...

Awesome. It's the gift that keeps on giving, especially when those funds run out and all the special interests that were artificially supported by it begin to clamor for more for their necessary survival.

Don't worry, though. The President told us that we just need to keep up those "investments" before we'll see the real payoff.