Saturday, October 5, 2013

HCR -- An Oncologist's Take on the Affordable Care Act

From the Health Care Blog (and I'm sure his own) Dr. Salwitz explains why he is optimistic about the Affordable Care Act. 
There is more at the link, but here are the bullet points...
  • No pre-existing condition exclusion: So the 31-year-old programmer with Stage 1 breast cancer can change jobs without losing insurance.
  • Healthcare coverage by parents until their child is 26: So families will not lose their homes paying for Hodgkin’ s disease in a 22-year-old.
  • Guaranteed payment by insurers for patients entering experimental trials: So patients with any insurance can be involved in research, and everyone benefits from the latest advances.
  • Free healthcare screening: So that my 58-year-old neighbor with a family history of colon cancer gets routine exams and life saving colonoscopies.
  • Uniform healthcare insurance standards: So that the 45-year-old man with stomach lymphoma I saw last week, does not have to suffer and die because his employer brought a health policy, which excluded chemotherapy.
  • All health insurance must cover at least one drug of each type: So patients do not have to choose which insurance by which drug they are taking, and prey the doctor does not change his mind.
  • Emergency room visits do not require preauthorization and they cannot be charged as out-of-network: So that Monday morning my patient with lung cancer does not stumble into and collapse in the office after having a fever all weekend.
  • Psychiatric parity: So that the 41-year-old Mom with advanced melanoma, two kids and a mortgage, whose husband just walked out on her, can get counseling and support.
  • Insurers must cover hospitalizations without a lifetime cap on health costs: So that more than half a million families each year in America will not go bankrupt paying inpatient bills.
  • Guaranteed physical therapy and rehabilitation: So that my patients who are cured of cancer have a real chance to get back to real lives.
  • Prenatal care: So that the national disgrace that is a ridiculously high infant mortality rate will stop killing babies and I can hear children playing outside my window instead of tears.
  • Health insurance for tens of millions of people: So that they can get care and, hopefully, their caregivers will be paid.
  • Finally, and critically, health insurance and policies written not in lawyer-businessman language, but in clear English and every person is guaranteed the right to appeal any coverage decision.
James C. Salwitz, MD is a Medical Oncologist in private practice for 25 years, and a Clinical Professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He frequently lectures at the Medical School and in the community on topics related to cancer care, Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Salwitz blogs at Sunrise Rounds in order to help provide an understanding of cancer.

==>  Time permitting, do take a few minutes to read the comments thread at the link. These represent a cross-section of other health care pros and policy wonks who have been following this law from the start. 

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