Health Care Issues Discussed

Ezekiel J. Emmanuel, M.D, PhD, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed how to deal with the bumps in the road that healthcare faces. He was interviewed at The Atlantic’s 6th Annual Health Care Forum held March 27th in Washington D.C.

Corby Kummer, Senior Editor of The Atlantic, questioned Dr. Emmanuel on his thoughts on ongoing problems with the Federal Health Exchange. Emmanuel agrees that the Federal Exchange has problems but he also thinks that the state exchanges are mostly successful.

He pointed out that the state of Connecticut has either the best or second best exchange and operates efficiently. This is the result of having experienced executives running the exchange and listening to employees with new ideas. Also, the management team has the right experience and if there is a problem consults with others on specific issues.

As for insurance in general, Dr. Emmanuel’s just published book “Reinventing American Healthcare” predicts that by 2025, fewer than 20 percent of workers in the private sector will receive traditional employer sponsored health insurance.

Dr. Emmanuel reports, “The insurance system is rapidly changing, and in the future some insurers will still provide services to employers but they will also be forced to compete against each other in the exchanges. He is not upset by that fact as he thinks that if the exchanges present good options and if competition keeps prices low, this marketplace may work very well.”

He went on to explain that it is important to deal with the role of medical education in the U.S. as young doctors are being educated in a new healthcare environment. The scene has changed for educating doctors since young doctors in training won’t need to speed as much time training and working in hospitals.

Today and in the future, patients will not always be treated in a hospital but in many cases be treated at home using telemedicine or be treated at some other distant location. The result will be that patients won’t require as many office and hospital visits.

According to Dr. Emmanuel, “This positive revolution in delivering care will mean that not only will care go directly to the patient, but doctors will be able to shorten visits with the worried well and as a result be able to spend more time with the chronically ill.”

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