Here’s an interesting twist to the debate on health care reform. As we have tried to tell you, it’s very complex and one cannot reduce it to “single payer” vs. “nothing.” Not only does every constituency have a point of view, but the points of view often vary within a constituency. For example, Kaiser Permanente is a large insurer in California, but it is a non-profit, and it has different ideas about reform than some of the members of AHIP, the designated lobbying organization for the insurers.
The AMA, which supposedly represents the medical community but apparently only represents 17% of it, has been at the table during the negotiations. But this week, social media takes another step forward as the physicians of the Sermo online community announce the Physician Appeal, opening a channel for direct communication between physicians and policy makers, cutting out the influence of special interest groups.
1. Reducing unnecessary tests and procedures through tort and malpractice reform,
2. Allowing doctors to spend more time taking care of patients by making billing more transparent and streamlined (creating an alternative to CPT codes)
3. Insurance reform to ensure that physicians are making medical decisions with their patients, not insurance company administrators.
4. Revising the methods used for calculating reimbursements so that there will be enough qualified physicians to provide patient care.
Perhaps most telling, not one of the things that physicians consistently rank as the most important steps to true healthcare reform are even mentioned in the current versions of the reform bill. And we can venture a guess that the physicians on Sermo are the younger ones who will be practicing under whatever legislation is enacted.
Stay tuned, as the fat lady is a long way from singing. Social media has a tendency to bubble up into the mainstream (as we have already blogged about this) and we expect some of these ideas to be discussed before any legislation is passed.