Medical Economics

Whether one backs the Affordable Care Act or not, one must admit that the current situation is a mess.

I think that those behind “Obamacare” had lofty ideals and a few good ideas, but I oppose the program because it was not well written and certainly has not been well implemented. It has its problems, current and future. That whirring noise you hear is my grandfather turning over in his grave. He was a doctor during the Great Depression. His first priority was the patient’s well-being. Fees and payments were secondary.  There was no health insurance in his day, but I am sure he would have welcomed it. Nevertheless, he would be aghast at any attempt to make one size of health insurance fit all. He would also oppose any effort by government to control or regulate the practice of medicine.

I am inspired by the current healthcare mess to write a novel about healthcare. I am in the process of writing a thriller about a family of medical professionals who, in the course of the book lose two family members under questionable circumstances. The family thinks the two dead women were murdered, or at least allowed to die, under medical supervision. Of course, any time people ask too many questions, someone wants to silence them before they learn too much. Eventually the two patriarchs, brothers, must hide in the mountains for their safety even though one is hobbling on an injured foot and the other is a brittle diabetic. Will the villains be caught before the hit men wipe out the Conway family?

I do not criticize Obamacare directly, but rather deal with the systemic problems that are both in Obamacare and could become part of any healthcare system. Should there be rationing of healthcare, and if so, who will set the criteria and how?  Should the “quality of life issue” be used to deny an otherwise healthy 68 year old man surgery on his injured foot? If the Medicare budget (or any insurance plan budget) is out of control, what can be done to reduce costs?

This being a thriller, people are at risk. Some one in the Medicare bureaucracy and/or one of the secondary  insurers seems to have found the solution. Shortening the lives of high cost patients appears to be very cost efficient even though euthanasia is neither ethical or legal. If you or a loved one were found to be the target of a “cost cut”, what do you do?

Of course, I do not expect to reform the healthcare industry. I probably will not even cause any changes, but the political mess does provide the basis of a plot.   All of the “what if’s” inspire some interesting plot elements.

Well, I had better put my Kelvar vest back on and continue revising and editing the story, but if you have any ideas, I welcome your comments. Just keep your head low. Bullets are flying. Also watch your back in hospitals, they may be unhealthy.


About Reynold Conger

Reynold Conger is a retired scientist, engineer and teacher. Now writing fiction. His books are CHASED ACROSS AUSTRALIA, MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR and REDUCING MEDICAL COSTS (AT THE COST OF HEALTH). He has also started a series of novelas called THE RICHARD TRACY SERIES. Residence: New Mexico, USA Hobbies: gardening, animals and running. website
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