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Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Changing Face of Healthcare

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healthcareDuring a recent trip to a hospital emergency room with a loved one, I began thinking about the care she had received throughout the time there. Other than the few minutes it took initially to insert an IV line, take a few of vials of blood, place an automated blood pressure cuff and leads to a heart monitor, not one of the nurses, doctors, or technicians who came in and out had any need to touch this person again for the duration of the next few hours. All of the information they needed about her care was supplied by the devices she was hooked up to, and was logged into a computerized record.


The face of healthcare is changing quickly and dramatically. Instead of “hands-on” care, more and more procedures are now being performed by high-tech machinery (even robots), with data about the patient being constantly monitored and plugged into computerized records, with much of the personalized care being taken out of the picture. Indeed, members of the hospice team I work with on a daily basis often bemoan how little time they actually have to focus on caring for the dying patient because so much time is required to complete the electronic charting required by insurance companies and Medicaid regulations.

Perhaps you are one of the millions trying to navigate the so-called ObamaCare Affordable Healthcare Act website to sign up for health insurance. For many it is a daunting and discouraging undertaking. Although this law is supposed to help make health insurance available to everyone, it actually penalizes married couples and older Americans.

According to a recent article, healthcare reform is unfavorable to many. Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation who has been writing about the marriage penalty in health reform since 2010 said, “Under ObamaCare, there are dramatic penalties that are substantial—particularly with couples in the upper age range. You have to pay a penalty of multiple hundreds of dollars—a substantial portion of your income—to stay married. It's saying society is basically hostile to the institution of marriage." It might be hard to imagine, but some couples across the U.S. are actually contemplating divorce, and just living together, because of the additional cost of obtaining insurance as a couple compared to single individuals.[1]

There are numerous other flaws with the implementation of the “new” healthcare system. During recent congressional hearings with the contractors responsible for building the troubled ObamaCare federal exchanges, it was learned that anyone who puts information into the ObamaCare website cannot expect to have their privacy protected, even though it is supposed to be. The troubling fact is that a person actually gives up their right to privacy because it is hidden in source code that reads, "You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication of any data transmitted or stored on this information system." [2]

ObamaCare “navigators” and other enrollment aides can easily violate the privacy of exchange users: By necessity, these individuals handle sensitive personal information required to apply for healthcare coverage, thereby creating an enormous opportunity for fraud because they receive only minimal oversight and training. (They can be approved to work on the site after just 20 or 30 hours of training.) In addition, the federal government will not provide navigators with IDs, or maintain a list of individuals who are approved by the program, making it easy for unscrupulous individuals to steal personal data.[3]

Another downside of the new policy is that many relatively small businesses (those who have between 50 to 100 employees) may have to close their doors because they cannot afford to provide insurance for their employees or pay the penalties if they don’t. These are a few twists that we all might need to be aware of concerning the future of medical care in the U.S.—and perhaps in other countries as well.

And on the upside? While we can’t escape the aging or disease process (and anything associated with it) as long as this present world is in existence, study of Jehovah’s precious promises toward us reveal that a perfect setup is in His plan and will be put into place at the time He determines. When that happens, health insurance, medicine, hospitals, and clinics will all become things of the past, because there will no longer be sickness, infirmities, or death. For encouragement read Revelation 21:3-4, Revelation 7:17, Revelation 22:1-3, Isaiah 33:24, and Isaiah 35:3-10.

Probably the best medicine of all is to know that Jehovah takes loving care of His people. As the apostle Peter wrote: “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

[1] http://news.msn.com/us/the-hidden-marriage-penalty-in-obamacare

[2] & [3] http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/10/what-a-small-moment-in-the-obamacare-debate-says-about-ideological-media/280864/

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