As Obama’s proposal for a universal healthcare plan gains momentum, the question arises: will those insured be allowed to choose their own doctor or doctors, or will they be limited to the doctors or doctors provided under the government’s program?
According to The White House website, “President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass comprehensive health reform in his first year in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”
Furthermore, under the new program, which is set to appear on the November ballot in the Senate, the measure would ban all state laws limiting an one’s choice of doctor or doctors.
Jeff Singer, a surgeon from Arizona who organized a petition in support of the bill told the Arizona Business Gazette: “We just want to make sure that whatever kind of health-care reform is ultimately instituted, that it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of people to make their own decisions regarding what kind of plan they want to be in – or if they want to be in a plan, what kind of health care they want, what kind of doctor they want, whether they want alternative care, whatever.”
However, not everyone is so supportive of President Obama’s guarantee of being able to choose whatever doctor or doctors they want. Many are skeptical of the plan’s guidelines and wonder if the government will renege on their promises of an individual’s choice of doctor under the universal healthcare program.
“There’s not enough money to pay for what’s being promised and we could go to rationing or delays, waiting for service,” said U.S. Representative Tom Petri (Rep. 6th district).
Most criticisms of Obama’s healthcare plan come from the right wing Republican Party. Most criticisms are not about what doctor or doctors an individual may choose, but the type of care that doctors’ will be allowed to provide.
Joe Flower, a blogger for The Healthcare Blog says, “The really sad irony is that we already have, in our system as it works today, every bad outcome these folks are imagining. We already have bureaucrats telling the doctors what they can and cannot do, and telling consumers what doctors they can go to- by everyone except the government.”
As a result, an even greater oversight of doctors by an enormous Government bureaucracy, will limit the quality of care given to patients by their preferred doctor and/or doctors.
Within the health care system, almost everyone faces heavy incentives, including every doctor in the field. Therefore, with the Government breathing down every doctor’s back, the quality of care given to patient has the potential to decline substantially.
Additionally, giving patient’s their own choice of doctor and/or doctors could significantly increase the cost of the program, which will then be passed along to tax payers.
In review: President Obama “guarantees” that each individual will have the benefit of choosing their own doctor/doctors. However, critics say that the Government may not be true to its word and could possibly renege on the proposal and limit individuals to the Government’s chosen doctors. Also, the quality of care given by doctors will most likely decline due to increased oversight and mandates. Finally, giving patients on the universal healthcare program the freedom the choose their own doctor will most likely increase the cost of the program, which will come from the tax payers pockets.
Is the freedom of choosing your own doctor/doctors under the new universal healthcare program beneficial? You decide.