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Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

A Giant 1990s Style HMO

Economy, Healthcare, Political, Quality of Life, Taxes, U.S.

As I read the House of Representatives health care reform bill (HR3200 at 1,018 pages), I am reminded more and more of the old fashioned HMOs where the providers were all capitated (limited payments each month that caused providers to have to limit patient appointments when the money ran out before the month ended).

Those HMOs also told doctors what they could and couldn't do for their patients.  Doctors just loved that as you can imagine.  Hospitals were told how long the stay could be for patients.  If a patient had to be re-admitted, the hospitals would be "dinged" for that having happened.

The HMO had a person called an Ombudsman who was responsible for helping you to navigate through that complicated system.  HR3200 has those, too.  It also has "community groups" for enrollment that sound ominously like the ACORN-type groups.

Services could be limited by the HMO when a patient showed no signs of recovering.  HR3200 has that in its many pages, too, and goes further by offering "end of life" counseling.

The HMOs were a "one size fits all" approach to health care and there aren't many of those animals left around anymore.  There is a reason for that.  The deep thinkers who dreamed up the HMO movement had all the answers except for the most important answer.  That question was, "Will the people like our new creation and will it work in the real world?"

The resounding answer to that earlier question was NO, NO, NO!  And the HMOs went away.

Guess what your answer will be if this new health care "miracle plan" is passed into law.  We will be bankrupt as a country; we'll have worse health care at a higher price; and those who did it to us will still enjoy everything they had before they decided what was best for us.

I think your answer would likely be, again, NO,NO,NO!  But the new plan will have so permeated and deconstructed the existing system that there may well be no going back like we did once before.

Let your elected officials know right now that you've already decided what you want.  I hope you'll agree that your answer is the same as mine, but you need to contact your elected representatives and senators and tell them what you want.

Oh yes;  if you have no life (like me), ask, and I'll be happy to send the link for HR3200 to you by e-mail.

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The Curmudgeon Blog today is titled A Beer And A Teaching Moment.

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