Obamacare And ACA Affects On Trucking Industry
We last left off about halfway through this massive document on page 448 in our progression through the ACA. So far we have discussed a ton of material related to Obamacare. We have almost covered insurance coverage for every age range and gender from required health care for little kids to medicare for seniors to expanded coverage for women. And so far we have only found two real instances of highly questionable content. Pretty good for a bill out of the government if you ask me.
The first section that we come to today is 3501 Health Care Delivery System Research; Quality Improvement Technical Assistance. Today we start off with a small red flag or half a red flag. We see that they are implementing a new agency called The Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Otherwise known as “The Center”, sounds like something straight out of prime time television. This agency will establish “best practices” and by analyzing data and overall patient progress they will implement services and methodologies in order to curb costs and create efficiency throughout the health care process. Sounds good right? I’m not so sure, this sounds like in addition to pooling data they will quite possibly be telling hospitals and doctors what is best for their patients. Now, if they use this section to improve efficiency and to communicate oddities and rarities seen in patients and we could possibly prevent major health scares such as what the CDC (Centers for Disease Controls) does then it may be a good thing. But, I do think that this part of the law is possibly one of the most dangerous so far, in that the government will be issuing guidelines on health care.
However, further down in the section there is plenty of room for additional grants to organizations that qualify. Also, more community health teams being organized. So it seems that we are going to have a federal law that can be tweaked down to the local and state level. Again, if this establishes easier access to health care for everyone and makes room for more preventative treatments and establishes community clinics that are affordable I could see this reducing the emergency room costs down the road. It also affords grants to places that handle Chronic Pain Management and oversights so that may or may not reduce the amount of people who are addicted to prescription drugs. As well as adding grants to ER departments for further pilot programs to increase efficiency to life threatening situations.
One thing that amazes me in reviewing this large section is the large sums of money thrown about to different agencies and grant offerings. It seems as though 100 million here and 1 billion there and 25 million over there are strewn among all of these sections. It is amazing to me that the average American may be lucky to clear $50,000 to $65,000 a year and we’re tossing around dollar figures for funding this bill that are astronomical. Maybe this is a little bit of fiscal conservatism coming out but, maybe these oddball republicans do have a point. We are still working ourselves out of a recovery and at the time this bill passed we were in a recession. I doesn’t seem like a very good idea to for a lack of a better term to “put the cart before the horse”. We desperately need to fix the healthcare system but, to spend all this money when we didn’t have any to begin with???
Further down we see Section 3506, this section is focusing on “Shared Decision Making”. What this means is that the doctors and hospitals must present different options after diagnosis for the the treatment of your ailment. They must give you pros and cons and let you make the choice. There is also a part about prescription drug benefit and risk information. No where in that section is a clause or note about doctors not taking kickbacks from drug companies to promote their drug. I think there should be something in there about this since I believe that this creates a problem where the doctor’s decision is more based on their bottom line then your health care.
Section 3509 Improving Women’s Health. This section first establishes a Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. I think that this is a good win for women’s health advocates. The duties for this office will be to “provide expert advice and consultation to the Secretary concerning s scientific, legal, ethical and policy issues relating to women’s health.” (sentence in quotations is directly lifted from the bill itself) I have found that one great thing about President Obama’s administration is that they have championed women’s rights. Starting off with the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (http://www.lillyledbetter.com/) and keeping it going with establishing an office for women’s health.
In the next major section, 4001 it establishes a National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. The members include Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, Transportation, Labor, and a very interesting one Homeland Security? As well as the Chairmen of the Federal Trade Commission. Also, the Directors of Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Domestic Policy Council and the Administrator or the Environmental Protection Agency, the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs and lastly the Chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service. My question is what is health care related about Homeland Security and the FTC at the very least? And don’t worry, all these V.I.P.’s will only be in charge of 1.5 Billion bucks in 2014 and 2 Billion from 2015 and beyond.
This panel will also be in charge of crafting a “Preventative Benefits Education and Outreach Campaign”. Where they will provide awareness on such things as smoking cessation and how to eat properly. I wonder how this is going to work with big tobacco and soda companies lobbyists contributing millions of dollars to our government officials. Is the government going to tell the truth about tobacco? and soda?
Well, we have finally found something that is at least worthy of some of this grant money. Section 4101 School-Based Health Centers, they are going to give grants to these centers to provide health care for kids when they are at school. I guess preventing a bad guy with a gun by putting a good guy with a gun at a school isn’t worth funding but, preventing colds and headaches is by putting a good doctor with a pill at a school. I do see a need for this especially in low-income impoverished school situations. Lets just hope that bad test scores and a failing school means no grant assistance for this program.
It seems as though my opinion is changing when it comes to Obamacare. I still think the health benefits that we as Americans will be good but, at what cost? The data collection and the governments ability to control the care and tell us whether we can drink a soda or smoke a cigarette is infringing on our rights in my belief. Maybe the supreme court thought that the end result justified the means in this instance. We are in such desperate need for health care reform and this seemed like the quickest way to get there? I’ll let you decide on that one. As always the text for the bill is found here http://housedocs.house.gov/energycommerce/ppacacon.pdf. All sections have been referenced in accordance with this document. I look forward to hearing your feelings about anything new that I have brought forward concerning the ACA. As always be safe out there!