Health Care Reform

As a concerned American citizen, I feel compelled at this time to express some strong personal convictions about what is happening in the United States right now with health care reform. In recent months and especially in the last few weeks, this has swelled into a big issue, almost rivaling the economic crisis in media attention and in many Americans’ minds. Why?

“Health care plan?”

Well, for one thing, everyone recognizes that the U.S. health care system is in dire need of reform (and frankly, just about every other system in this country run by the federal government is in the same boat). The percentage of Americans who lack health insurance has grown substantially in recent years, medical costs have skyrocketed, and many people are not getting the health care they need. Health care is a complex multifaceted issue that involves both the public and private sectors and directly affects all Americans sooner or later. Thus, reform of this system is a big project likely to draw wide attention.

But more than that, health care reform is in the spotlight right now because the administration of President Barack Obama has made it a priority. “Health care reform can not wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year,” as President Obama famously declared near the middle of his first year in office. The president has been pushing Congress to quickly pass new legislation that would, with his signature, supposedly deliver better and more accessible health care to the American people.

I have to wonder, though: Why such a rush to health care reform? You can’t fix a broken system overnight, whether it’s the economy or health care. Reform is a major undertaking that requires careful research and accurate analysis of the situation, together with a generous period of honest public discussion and debate concerning short-term, medium-term and long-term measures that should be taken to correctly address the situation. Moreover, these elements of reform need the foundation of common moral and ethical guiding principles.

None of these requirements are being met in the current rush to draft and pass health care bills. As a result, U.S. health care reform is on the road to disaster.

So again, why this hurried effort by the Obama administration to enact health care reform? The administration has its reasons for hurrying. One is that they have a semi-secret agenda to accomplish, and this agenda collides head-on with the will of the American people. Whether the mainstream media will acknowledge it or not, there is in fact a fundamental issue even more important to Americans than the twin heavyweights of economic recovery and quality health care. That issue is the right to life of every human being, especially the most innocent and defenseless–the unborn child in the womb.

In Washington, health care reform is being touted merely as a ruse. It serves as a convenient vehicle to advance the Obama administration’s ever more urgent hidden agenda. That agenda is to increase federal funding of, and expand public access to, abortion. And this is the most important reason why health care reform has drawn the scrutiny of Americans right now.

The urgency of this semi-secret agenda from the viewpoint of its proponents becomes clear when we look at trends in recent years. Since 1993, the annual number of abortions and abortion providers in the United States has been in steady decline. U.S. voters across this country (a majority of whom are women) have built and continue to support a vast infrastructure of state restrictions on abortion, from parental notification laws to bans on state funding for abortions to sonogram viewing and waiting period requirements for pregnant girls prior to their scheduled abortion procedure. These laws, together with adoption, crisis pregnancy care centers and various outreach programs, have been wonderfully beneficial for women, for their unborn children and for society itself. Meanwhile, polls have confirmed that an increasing percentage of American citizens oppose the legalization of abortion through the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973. As of this writing, survey reports indicate that a majority of the American people are pro-life.

However, in Congress the overall trend with abortion has been moving in the opposite direction, especially since a Democratic majority came to power in 2006 in the House and Senate. In 2007 Representative Jerry Nadler and Senator Barbara Boxer introduced an infamous joint resolution deceptively named the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). The contents of this revolting abortion bill are so evil and frightening that it could only have come straight from Hell and been conceived by the Devil himself. It would have, at one stroke, demolished all state restrictions on abortion. Moreover, this draconian bill would have far surpassed Roe v. Wade in elevating abortion to the status of a “fundamental human right” subject to unlimited government funding and support. Apparently our Congressional representatives intended to remove every legal barrier and provide every possible incentive for Americans to murder their offspring.

So a rift has opened up between the American people and their federal government on the issue of abortion, and in the past few years this rift has been growing increasingly wider. The Obama administration may have given up on FOCA due to massive public opposition (thank God), but it is still bound and determined to enact at least some of FOCA’s provisions into law-for example, the sickening concept of “abortion coverage” as a “health benefit”-whether the American people support them or not.

And what is driving this wicked agenda to ram abortion down our throats? The answer is money. Abortion is still a big, $100 million-per-year business that makes a handful of doctors and companies in the U.S. quite wealthy. But with the gradual nationwide decline in demand for killing “services” and a fervent pro-life ethic among the younger generation of Americans, abortion providers face the real threat of going out of business altogether sometime within the next decade or two. Thus to salvage a sinking enterprise, the multimillion-dollar abortion industry has turned to the rich and powerful federal government for a hand–just as the financial institutions have turned to the same government for rescue from annihilation since late last year. In both cases, the government has generously responded with legislation and fiat money. This administration is not serving our interests but the interests of rich and powerful lobby groups on Capitol Hill. In my estimation, the Obama administration is the most corrupt administration in American history.

This is another reason for the race to health care reform: President Obama and his cronies don’t want Americans to find out the truth behind their new health care policies. In a democracy, corruption has to hurry or else it can’t achieve its ends. Too much research, analysis, discussion and debate-essential for proper reform and healthy for democracy-would expose this corrupt agenda and result in its doom. The “hurried” and “evil” aspects of health care reform both result from the driving force of corruption. Transparency and accountability are crucial for the correct functioning of democracy, yet little of either is evident with our government’s rapidly coalescing health care plan.

So given the divergence between American respect for life on the one hand and governmental obsession with death on the other, our leaders are forced to pretend that they are representing the wishes of the people while they pursue an agenda contrary to those wishes. How long they can keep up this charade remains to be seen in these uncertain and unpredictable times. However, a few things are certain. The American people want affordable health care reform that respects life. Their elected representatives want a health care plan that pads their own pockets and funds murder. Sooner or later, either the abortion industry or its puppet government or both will cave in. But the pro-life movement in this country is strong, it is steadily advancing, and it is destined to win.

How Universal Health Care Impacts Medical

The health plan that President Obama is proposing is going to be efficient and effective. In order to be efficient it would have to be streamlined and working well, for example, there couldn’t be loads of bad debt sitting on the books. In order to be efficient, the bad debt would have to be collected and always try to be up to date or very minimal. Currently 5% of hospitals gross revenues are written off to bad debt and charity and this is before the implementation of the health care plan.

Some collectors have told me that they are worried that third party collectors or collection departments receiving payments through the proposed plan may take longer than an outside insurance agency or a personal payment could take to get paid. As debt collectors we are used to slow payers but always working on new ways that payments can be obtained more quickly rather than slower. With this new program, many collectors are worried that payments will be slower which we will be forced to accept since it is a government program. On November 25, 2008, InsideARM said that “Debt collectors who currently specialize in medical receivables shouldn’t expect fewer accounts, but the balances forwarded to them by clients may be smaller.” According to Kaulkin Ginsbergs Health Care Analyst Michael Klozotsky, “Just because you insure more people, it’s not going to drop people’s co-pays and deductibles”.

According to Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D, “For payment reform to reach its potential, Medicaid programs and private payers of medical care such as insurance companies should participate in developing new Medicare payment methods and follow them to the extent possible. Many health care providers have substantial market power and the ability to offset Medicare payment reductions with increases for private payers, so creating payment structures that are uniform across payers can increase the potential of payment reform to change provider behavior. If a public health insurance plan is a part of health reform, then an all-payer rate-setting structure could help establish a level playing field for all health insurance plans.”

The White House.gov website says, “The President has vowed that the health reform process will be different in his Administration – an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis. Working together with members of Congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, and other key health care stakeholders, the President is committed to making sure we finally enact comprehensive health care reform.”

The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:

o Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
o Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
o Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
o Invest in prevention and wellness
o Improve patient safety and quality of care
o Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
o Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
o End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions

What does it mean for your business if this health care plan protects families or consumers from bankruptcy or debt due to the costs of maintaining their health. How will consumers avoid the debt of health care costs to stay healthy when they cannot afford it? I am all for helping consumers stay out of debt, but have concerns about how this new bill protects consumers from the debt of medical bills and how will this affect third party collectors.

Small businesses are an important source of job growth in the United States. Firms with fewer than 20 employees accounted for approximately 18 percent of private sector jobs in 2006, but nearly 25 percent of net employment growth from 1992 to 2005. Many collection agencies are small businesses, and have many questions on how this plan will affect how they collect debt, how much debt they are able to collect and how much time they will have to wait to get paid if they get paid at all. Recently, during my consulting calls I was working with someone who is considering starting a medical collection agency and is worried there won’t be a demand for his services or any debt out there to collect based on this healthcare plan. In my opinion medical collectors should not worry about repercussions of the Universal Healthcare plan, there will still be plenty of work.

You can take steps now to prepare for this new plan, consider how you accept other government payments or deal with their offices and this may be similar. Set up policies and procedures now to use when the plan goes into affect. Once you start working with your policies when the plan is in place, you can tweak it to fit your billing and accounting practices. Just talking about it with your employees will help everyone to feel more comfortable with the plan once it is in place, everyone will have heard about it and will have an idea on how to handle those accounts immediately. The more efficient and effective you can be, the quicker you may get paid. Agencies can also assist with the insurance collections and will find an increase in that line of business, the providers will find it hard to educated, train and hire staff to deal with the additional follow up and if they move or shift workers from dealing with self pay accounts this would not compensate for the increased workload of collecting from the insurer. As one reader stated, “Anything the Government gets involved in becomes more complicated and complex, clients will need their collection agencies to help them deal with this even more.”

Free enterprise will always prevail. The insurance companies that are out there now, aren’t going to go away once we have this new healthcare option. The biggest impact I have found that debt collectors foresee with this new plan is how slow they may be paid or how slowly their clients may be paid. Start working with your medical clients and help them work with their patients so that they can serve as an advocate and show empathy for each individual situation and help them to work on a realistic payment plan – your job as the collector – enforce that payment plan. The longer you wait, the worse off you are – catch accounts that need help early and you will be ahead of the game.