I was talking with a couple of relatives this weekend at a family Christmas get together. Normally, this isn’t OSN news worthy, but one of the people is a senior person at one of the major insurance companies, another is an internal medicine physician and the last is my cousin that is due to graduate medical school in May (needless to say they are a pretty bright group). The topic of healthcare reform came up and I thought it was interesting that we had a representative from each of the major arms of the medical device industry: physician, insurance provider and the industry (me). The dialogue was interesting.
My cousin that works for a major insurance company said that they are prepared to move away from being an insurance provider as a primary business strategy and move towards being a wellness service provider. Since Obamacare offers access to care, their new role will be to work with major companies to manage their wellness programs for their employers to help keep costs down. That was interesting and, for me, frightening. I’m not suggesting that the medical insurance industry is flawless, however, the idea of a government program making a major insurance provider change their entire business strategy and focus makes me more than nervous.
My 2 physician cousins see that they will be working a lot harder than previous generations. They are not afraid of the work, however, they are still wide eyed and optimistic as to why they joined the medical industry. They want to help people. That is noble, but I pray for their sake, that this new way of doing things doesn’t make them regret being a doctor in the first place. I have spoken to too many surgeons during my time in this industry to know that they all (without exception) have told me that if their kid wanted to be a doctor, they recommend being a lawyer or something else. One of the doctor cousins said “I figure we just won’t know what it was like. All we will be able to evaluate is what we learn. I just hope it doesn’t continue to get harder and harder to earn a living!”
For the industry side, what I spoke about was how it is ignorant of the government to think that an additional tax will decrease medical costs!! I also spoke about how I worry that the doctors will not have access to the best available treatments because of all the bureaucracy that surrounds getting a product approved these days. As it happens, I see these two articles on the newswire today. They seem to validate my concerns. (article #1; article #2)
Now I’d be curious to have some debate/comments on this. I have my opinions, but would like to hear yours as well.