Government Controlled Health Care

Health care managed by the government. A Brave New World. Obamacare will change everything. Health care for better or worse.

But mostly worse.

A recent health care symposium hosted by Buck Consultants, BCBSGA, Piedmont Healthcare and others had these observations about the future of health care.

Employers that offer health insurance are feeling the pinch of these costs –- and are, in turn, squeezing workers for more out-of-pocket payments. Medical providers are battling increased costs of their own, and at the same time are being pressured on pricing and quality from insurers and employers.

Sounds bleak huh?

It get's worse.

Providers have scrambled recently to form ‘‘accountable care organizations’’ — groupings of hospitals and doctors that seek to coordinate medical services for patients.

Hospital systems, meanwhile, are consolidating at a rapid pace. Dr. Ira Horowitz of Emory University School of Medicine said the metro Atlanta market could end up with four or five large hospital systems at the end of this wave of mergers and new partnerships.

Assembly line health care is the future.

Health Care in the Work Place

The panelists said employers will continue to provide financial incentives for workers to improve their health, and in some cases will use higher surcharges to penalize workers for unhealthy practices such as smoking.

Burgess said one Las Vegas employer, by offering a hefty financial incentive, induced more than 90 percent of its employees to switch to a new set of primary care physicians.

Employers are also charging workers more for brand-name prescriptions when a generic drug is available.

If you expect to receive health insurance from your employer, expect your employer to demand from you.

Health Insurance Will Change

WellPoint, parent company of Blue Cross, which is paying more to primary care physicians who operate a ‘‘medical home’’ for patients. That means one doctor coordinates services for all the patient’s needs, including managing chronic diseases.

Other insurers, including Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, have launched similar medical home programs.

If your insurance company is paying the bills they feel they have a right to direct your health care.

Welcome to the future.