Family Docs Squeezed by Narrow Networks

The American Academy of Family Physicians in a recent article has complained about the “Arbitrary Elimination’ of Physicians From Insurers’ Networks.” http://www.aafp.org/news/practice-professional-issues/20140729narrownets.html#embeddedforumform

I Commented:
Narrow networks are just the latest insurance subterfuge.  No matter what CMS does the insurance companies will always be ahead of them in the gaming of the system.   When will the AAFP get wise and endorse single payer medicine?

Dr.George Barron Replied:
To see this problem as an insurance subterfuge and in the same breath ask the AAFP to endorse a single payer system betrays a thorough misunderstanding of the current problem as well as the proposed solution. I think every physician who believes in the utopian notion of a single payer system either spend a year working in the VA system or a week as a patient in the VA system

Thank You:
Thanks, Dr. Barron, for responding to my comment on the AAFP denouncing the “Arbitrary Elimination of Physicians from Insurers’ Networks.” I am sorry that you have had such poor experiences as a physician and patient with the Veteran Administration.   Obviously you were not in the Rand Corporation study of the VA medical system which stated that “Based on 294 health indicators in 15 categories of care, they found that overall, VA patients were more likely than patients in the national sample to receive recommended care. In particular, the VA patients received significantly better care for depression, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. The VA also performed consistently better across the spectrum of care, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. The only exception to the pattern of better care in VA facilities was care for acute conditions, for which the two samples were similar.”  http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9100/index1.html

I think we can both agree that government run programs (like the Air Force, the CIA, the Federal Reserve System, Medicare, etc.) all leave room for improvement. And I assume that your dislike for these agencies will tempt you to forego any Medicare limitations and rely on your own personal finances and private insurance for your future health care.  However, some of us are not satisfied that, with our insurance-based medical system, the U.S. pays almost twice as much as any other industrialized country and yet ranks 11th in health care quality. And the first 10 countries have some form of single payer medicine. And, like the AAFP, we are not satisfied that health insurance companies are eliminating primary care physicians from plan networks across the country.

U.S. Healthcare Overall Rating

We describe single-payer medicine as improved Medicare for all. The ‘improved” part of this is important. No one believes it will not take a lot of work.  In addition to system changes we need to insure that the program is appropriately funded and relative immune from political micro-management. And we should start now.  I assume you would not be interested in joining me and the 19,000 other members of  Physicians for a National Health Program.

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