The COVID pandemic has shown many weaknesses in our current healthcare system. These include lack of access to healthcare, high costs, and social inequalities in healthcare. Sadly, rather than address the problem, we as Americans have thrust politics into the arena of healthcare, creating more uncertainty and allowing an unimpressive outcome in our fight against COVID. There has been a long debate about whether health is a right, benefit or luxury. My view is that healthcare is a right for all that is best achieved with the least intrusion by the government.
There are two main issues in health care we battle in America today- cost and access. While the Affordable Care Act was meant to address both, it was more focused on access rather than cost. Furthermore, the ACA created more government overreach into a space that should be left for the marketplace to take care of. The government rarely does a good job in running a sector hence why we cede control to it over health care. I will start with what I would do to increase access and then discuss possible solutions for reducing costs. In another article, I will discuss my view on expanding government coverage as a means of increasing access. These are working ideas that would evolve as time goes on
Going back to the challenge today with the COVID pandemic, a major aspect that is often overlooked is the sustenance of rural hospitals and healthcare facilities. Especially in the state of Tennessee, we have seen a systematic closure of rural hospitals due to lack of funding. Even, in instances when a foreign investor has come in to form a partnership with the government to get these rural hospitals going, at the initial phase, these investors have been frustrated by useless government bureaucratic rules that show no clear understanding that these hospitals are the life lines of these rural counties. I believe as a nation, we need to give incentives such as school loan forgiveness to healthcare workers who practice medicine in rural communities as a way to strengthen the rural healthcare sector.
Finally, we have to ask the salient question—why is healthcare so expensive in America? It is simple, we practice more and more defensive medicine with labs and studies, and there is now less emphasis on bedside diagnostic skills. While I believe there needs to legal redress for medical malpractice to protect patient rights, I also strongly believe that we have moved the dial to an extreme that needs to be reset. As a physician and an attorney, I have the requisite and working relationship to bring trial lawyers and physicians to the table to discuss healthcare reforms that would lead to a reduction in our costs
It is not going to be an easy solution but we have to start now by admitting these facts. Healthcare is a right and COVID has shown that healthy Americans sustain a healthy American economy.
Independent • Traditional • Principled