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Doctors become a few new friends as years pass

September 12, 2014
James P. Whipple , Shepherdstown Chronicle

A friend mentioned the other day that the only new people that he met in the last year or two is doctors. The only appointment he has made is with doctors and clinics. The only new things he has learned are how to deal with the ins and outs of dealing with the insurance company and the never-ending fight to make sure that the insurance company will pay for his medicines and for his increasing doctor appointments and to cover the new test he has to face. The only thing I could add to that is that as I have started to age and a lot of my older friends are starting to pass on.

When I was a child of five I had my first experience with doctors and medicine. I was admitted to the old Children Hospital in Washington, D.C. The hospital sat ofn 13th Street in the northwest part of town. It was the first time that I only saw my mother during what seemed like very short visiting hours. I was there to get my tonsils taken out. I remember that they had become infected and it took a few days for the infection to go away before they could operate.

Those endless days were lonely and frightening. A nurse would stop now and then but the hospitalization seemed to go on forever. Finely I can remember being rolled into the operating room. I can remember the nurse telling me to breathe deeply. I remember I had this crazy dream of being in the dessert. When I woke up my throat was very sore. They gave me a lot of ice cream and ice to chew. After a few more days my mother picked me up. I told her I never wanted to see another hospital in my life.

The field of medicine has changed. In my youth my parents had insurance that covered me. You were able to pick and choose which doctor you saw this changed in the early 70s. In 1973 the Health Maintenance Organization Act was passed by Congress and became the law of the land. According to newspaper articles from the 70s the Health Maintenance Organization Act was known by what it is called today the Federal HMO Act.

Originally the law provided for a trial federal program to promote and encourage the development of HMOs. Through the HMOs you had to pick a doctor that was in the program or policy that covered you. The whole structure of the medical field changed. You could not pick your doctor or in some cases which hospital you could use. Soon and for lot of years the HMOs came under attack. Many wanted the laws changed.

HMOs over the years have often generated negative public opinion. This has come about because of several decisions made by the HMOs. Several lawsuits have been filed by individuals who coverage's were denied because of pre existing conditions or that the company claimed the treatment was unwarranted.

It was not until the Affordable Care Act was passed and President Obama signed that the system has finally started to change. Though many say they are against ObamaCare the same group of people do like the Affordable Care Act.

I have come to the conclusion that we senior citizens need to find more ways of meeting other people, rather than doctors. Stay happy my friends.

 
 
 

 

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