Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This is Quality Health Care?

Critics of health care reform often cite the potential for a loss in the quality of health care as a reason (or scare tactic) for not pursuing reform. If the quality of health care is so good now then explain to me how waiting 30-40 minutes to see a doctor for five minutes is a quality visit. Now, I've had really good health care coverage for the past ten years, and yet, I can think of only one instance, just one, where I didn't wait an inordinate amount of time to see the doctor and then was unable to get a word in edgewise as the doctor spent five, sometimes ten minutes telling me what is or is not wrong, stood up, shook my hand, and left the room. When I do get a chance to ask a question, I'm brushed off as ignorant and disrespectful, and it's clear to me the doctor thinks I'm wasting his/her time. I'm really not exaggerating here. From the point of view of someone fortunate enough to have health insurance, I think the quality of health care NOW is awful. I can only imagine how bad it is for those without coverage.

Sure, I get cheap prescriptions, unlimited visits to the cognitive therapist, a choice of doctors, Flexible Spending Plan, and so on, but what's the point if the doctor doesn't listen? Where's the quality in a five-ten minute visit that I waited 30-40 minutes for and took half a day off of work to make? Maybe the health care bill being passed around will make it worse, I don't know. But to criticize changes to the system on the basis of "quality" tells me those critics haven't spent much time in a waiting room lately. They clearly can afford the quality of care they expect, while I would just like to find a doctor now that isn't holding the folder of his next patient when he finally finds time for me.