To say the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare,” if you prefer) has had a troubled start and continues to deal with myriad problems and confusion would be an understatement.
However, the basic ideas of patient protection and affordable care are laudable ones. HIPAA regulations and misunderstandings have imposed their own insurmountable problems related to patient protection. No one really argues against patient privacy or protection, but it does complicate things when you begin to address continuity of care and the sharing of patient medical records. Thus, you now have duplication of expensive medical tests because you don’t have the latest records (even if the test was performed in the last two days).
The real issue that affects families is that of affordable care. The problem is that affordability is in the eye of the purchaser — much like the idea that “minor surgery” is what happens to someone else and that any surgery for me is major. For some, $50 per month for healthcare insurance may be affordable, but not for others. Sure, a Bronze level plan may come with a low price tag, but then you notice there is a $6,500 deductible. So, if all you can get is catastrophic care, then you have to wait for a catastrophe before you can actually use your healthcare coverage. In the meantime, you go to the emergency room, where you know you will be treated.
As a nonprofit, primary care medical clinic, Faith Family Clinic is beginning to see families who will have medical coverage but may not be able to afford and/or access the medical care they need in a timely manner to prevent their issues from becoming critical. Many lower-income working families do not meet the poverty guidelines and often slip through the cracks when it comes to health care. There are also newly insured patients who say, “Now that I am insured, I can go back to the hospital.” Sure, hospitals may have the best equipment, but chronic care management is not always their forte.
Faith Family Clinic has provided a unique local solution to the problem in our MemberCare program. We seek to fill the affordable care gap that is left when someone can only choose a very high deductible healthcare policy. Our approach includes a primary care membership at our clinics with unlimited access to care for a low monthly cost. For $50 per month for an individual or $100 per month for a family, we can provide comprehensive primary care with no co-pays or incidental expenses. We believe this is health care the way it should be — and perhaps the way the Affordable Care Act was intended to work before the government began to “fine tune” the idea of health care for all.
For more information about MemberCare or to learn how you can support our efforts, please call 210-653-1511, ext. 207, or contact Jim Young, Executive Director and Founder of Faith Family Clinic, at firstname.lastname@example.org.