The current state of government medicine is abysmal. The United States government forces us, our entire working lives, to pay them for Medicare and forces us to buy health “insurance” we don’t want. Then they tell us what medications we can and can’t have, what treatment we can or can’t have, and what doctors we can or can’t see.
They lie to us. If we like our health insurance, we can’t keep our health insurance. If we like our doctors, we can’t keep our doctors. And I really like my patients-no… I love them, but I can’t keep them.
I am praying for massive public outcry to replace the passively accepted theft and inhumanity of business as usual in our nation’s capitol. The squandering of 3 Trillion dollars per year on complete and utter dysfunction and insanity called healthcare is criminal.
Below is a patient’s letter that shares just a taste of my daily heartbreak. Notice the word choices of my dear patient: despair and painful stand in stark contrast to trusting and care.
An interesting phenomenon is occurring in me, a new coming of age, if you will. My once dilute tear streams of intimidation and fear have crystallized into solid rock salt streaks on my cheeks, kinda like subtle war paint, symbolic of my growing strength and courage. My sorrow has morphed into determination and laser focus. My mama bear instincts are on fleek.
Attention members of the inside the bubble D.C. cartel:
Hear us, out here! We’re not playing anymore. We, the very good people of the U.S.A, demand you fix your mess. Our eyes are on you, our roar is ferocious, and our bite will be more than you can bear.
Dear B____ and J__,
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your handwritten and heartfelt letter. I was blessed to meet you back in July 1996, 20 years ago, and have had the great privilege and pleasure of serving as your ophthalmologist since this time. I hope you will share my letter far and wide, and particularly with our elected representatives who have so severely let us down.
You must know I traveled to Washington D.C. this week and met face to face with Mr. Andy Slavitt, Acting Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I am trying my best to fix this broken system that harms not just seniors, but all patients.
You need to know that I have agonized over changing my Medicare status. My own mom and dad are in your same predicament. You all have paid into Medicare since 1965 on the promise that you would receive medical care. Sadly, Part B Medicare premiums are going up, while access to physicians and ability to obtain needed medications and treatment is going down.
I have read extensively about what is in store for Medicare patients going forward, and I cannot ethically go along with it any longer. This is why I opted-out and continue to privately contract with my Medicare patients. Yes, the “opted–out” status is also called “private contracted” by Medicare.
I am forging a new path to provide top-notch, state of the art care to my patients at a fraction of the cost. I will always be here for you. I have a follow up visit for $45.00 now, should you have a problem and not be able to get in with your Medicare provider. Further, when you need cataract surgery, please consider comparing my fees. You may not know that Medicare does not cover laser assisted cataract surgery, lens implants that correct astigmatism, or multi-focal lens implants that allow you to see distance and near. If you plan on having one of these options, you will find my fees are substantially lower, and you will actually save money returning to my care.
My pledge to you, and all patients, is to fight for a solution that benefits patients, not insurance companies and politicians.
I will forward your records to you. I wish you both the very best. I will be overjoyed to see you any time you need me. Our patient-physician relationship never ends; it’s just taking a little detour. Again, thank you!
Kristin S. Held, M.D.