LETTERS: Healthcare should be between patients and their doctors

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Editor: In 2019, Medicare quietly launched a scheme called Direct Contracting allowing companies to control the healthcare of tens of millions of traditional Medicare and Medicare supplement beneficiaries.

Direct Contracting inserts a for profit company between patients and medical providers. Companies are paid a monthly fee to cover a portion of a patients expenses keeping 40% of the fee that’s not spent on patient care. Beneficiaries can be enrolled without their full knowledge or consent and to opt out, a patient must change their primary care doctor. Companies lure doctors with promises of greater reimbursement from Medicare and payments for enrolling their patients into the plan. Companies were granted a waiver that exempts them from certain anti kickback regulations that normally keep doctors from entering their patients in a for profit plan, so doctors can be paid to enroll their patients in the scheme even without the patient’s permission.

The program has no Congressional input, approval or oversight. The General Counsel for the Health and Human Services Department warned that it appeared the new project was set up to benefit specific companies. Since resigning from Medicare two officials involved with planning the scheme have opened businesses that will benefit from Direct Contracting. Medicare admits previous attempts to save money and improve care have failed, costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. Instead of cancelling the program, Medicare recently renamed the scheme calling it ACO REACH, but the same flaws exist. Medicare expects to cover all traditional Medicare beneficiaries with this plan by 2030, effectively privatizing Medicare.

If the ACO REACH program continues seniors will have their care radically changed, their choices undermined, services denied and care rationed while increasing the chance of bankrupting Medicare. Healthcare should be between patients and their doctors, not companies that have profit as their motive.

Mike Gatton, via [email protected]

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Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

Companies should absolutely NOT be tweaking the availability of health care. But in the case of Medicare, don’t insurers who offer Medicare advantage plans already do this?

Thank you, Mr. Gatton for bringing this to our attention, but what can we do about it? It sounds like work has been completed behind the scenes to bring this about.

Medical decisions should be between patient, doctor, God and family.

Dennis Duffy
Dennis Duffy
2 months ago

I will be 75 in December and have used Kaiser as my provider for almost 30 years through my employer. In the past few years I have felt like a piece of meat as I cycled through the increasingly money devouring medical scam we call health care. I pay close to 20 thousand dollars a year for full family health care but I always feel stupid when trying to get something #I# want, Not what they want but what I want. Like a letter stating I am to ill to work after spending a week in the hospital bleeding out my butt from internal damage. Catching Covid twice and feeling like my brain is a block of wood,then simultaneously having three urinary tract infections along with neuropathy and painful arthititis. Yet when I hobbled into doctors office using my wheeled stroller once again I felt like a piece of meat. No empathy for me but oddly a definite preference for the insurance company handling my disability claim, I doubt the doctor even understood he had become a cog in a medical tragedy affecting most Americans caught in this insidious health care mess.
I no longer trust doctors
I no longer trust lawyers
I certainly don’t trust politicians
I no longer trust religious pedophiles
I no longer trust the police
I no longer trust just about anyone as our character flaws have been exalted in some weird corporate reality as something to be proud of.
That’s just my opinion on Healthcare
Since I am elderly I also feel noxious ever-present ageism in conversations with people I think are morons. Could it be me that wrong
I suppose so but am not sure I trust myself anyway…