Chiropractic, Wellness and “Obamacare”

“17.3 cents of every dollar you will make will go to healthcare”

The above quote is my modified version from CBS news.  Healthcare costs are now 17.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  That is alarming in such that 20 years ago it was around 10%.  How does this affect you?

If you didn’t know this already I would like share that the #1 reason for bankruptcy in the U.S. before the Great Recession was medical bills.   I feel this is very important as 2% of the population is going through bankruptcy in any given year.  With medical costs being the #1 reason, wouldn’t it make sense to look at prevention?

In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court decision paved the way for Obamacare to go into effect in 2014.  The major changes we will see is this.  Employers who have 50 or more employees must provide health insurance.  For those who cannot get health insurance through the employer, we must buy from the State Exchanges.   From my understanding, the State Exchange will sell Medicaid.

Now, I would like to clear up one thing.  I personally am not against Obamacare.  I actually believe 10 years from now, people will say, “why didn’t we do this before?”.  It’s good for the people, and quite frankly, it’s our money anyway.  With that said I would like to talk about how I think Obamacare is going to affect you.

First thing, employers that can, will keep the maximum number of employees under 50 when ever possible, including subcontracting work abroad if possible. So in 2014, unemployment will rise for about the first 6 months of the year.  Secondly, Medicaid in Michigan at least is not generally accepted by a lot of medical providers.   Why?  Because the cost to treat a patient in the medical field can leave a slim to none profit margin for the provider.  I would like to clarify that this will apply to most M.D.’s, and D.O.’s but probably not most D.C.’s., due to different legal responsibilities of the providers (scope of practice) and other factors.   But wait, why is this important?  Isn’t the Doctor supposed to be there to help people?  Yes of course but the Doctor also has to pay employees, who don’t work for free.  Medicaid will not allow the provider to bill the patient other than a copay.  Where does that leave you?  Probably without a Doctor until some creative overhead problems get fixed.   It’s really simple Economics, it’s called a Shortage.   I will use gas as an example.  If the cost to produce gas is $3/ gallon and the government says, the price of gas sold at the pump can no longer be more than $2 per gallon.  How long do you think it will be before a gas producer stops producing gas?

Unless two things happen, we are going to have some major bumps in the early years of this program.  What has to happen is the State Exchanges must offer an affordable coverage that is comparable to Blue Cross or some other Private Insurance.  This is probably not going to happen as this could quite easily put Blue Cross out of business and the Blues will probably lobby the State of Michigan to change the coverage.  This originally would have been impossible as Obamacare was meant to have a Federal Exchange.  With the State Exchange, it is up to the State to decide on the coverage.   The other thing that must happen is the M.D. or D.O. must get “creative overhead” to pull the costs of providing treatment down.  It has been told to me that some M.D.’s have already become employees in a sense at hospitals.  The hospital handles all the scheduling, intake and  other employee related costs while the Doctor simply consults and treats thus the overhead drops but from my understanding those Doctors are limiting new patients.  The hospital can do this much more efficiently than a single office can, it is called Economics of Scale.

Where does Chiropractic come in?  We are the new primary care provider.  This is not a new concept.  It has actually been done before and the results are amazing.  When people go to the Chiropractor first ( yes we can order lab tests for you or refer to specialists for you), the overall costs of Medical care drops.  I would like to quote from the Michigan Association of Chiropractors  

The AMI Study

In this study, a chiropractic network in which DCs performed all patient examinations, treatments, and procedures at their own discretion was constructed. Recommended follow-up visits, choice of appropriate treatment, and ancillary therapies utilized did not require approval from an MD. The original study, which focused on the years 1999-2002, found decreases of: 43 percent in- hospital admissions per 1,000; 58.4 percent in hospital days per 1,000; 43.2 percent in outpatient surgeries and procedures per 1,000; and, 51.8 percent in pharmaceutical costs. It noted that: “The AMI experience seems to indicate that a non-pharmaceutical/nonsurgical orientation can reduce overall health care costs significantly and yet deliver high quality care.”

This study was updated in 2007, covering the years 2003-2005. The results of the original study were confirmed, with demonstrated decreases of 60.2 percent in in-hospital admissions, 59 percent in hospital days, 62 percent in outpatient surgeries and procedures, and 85 percent in pharmaceutical costs.

What else can provide a 85% reduction in pharmaceutical costs that is all natural?   NOTHING!   I cannot stress this enough.  I have lived this way for 20 years now and it works.

So Obamacare will be here in 2014.  Plan your health wisely, keep looking at prevention.  It’s the best bet.

Your Grand Rapids Chiropractor, Dr. S