Why I Care About Health Policy

Until recently, I did not care about legal issues surrounding healthcare in the United States.  I have no desire to become involved in politics and do not even want to hold office in a nursing organization.  So how did I become interested in health policy?

Well, to be honest, it was for love :)  My husband owns a company that helps individuals and employers identify and enroll in the best healthcare plan for their needs.  They use mostly HSA based plans which are designed to save individuals and the healthcare system as a whole money.  My husband's business is directly affected by healthcare policy and therefore I have begun to learn more about health policy issues.  The fact that I work as a nurse practitioner and he works in the health insurance industry sparks interesting conversation.  It can be awkward since I am paid based on productivity and he believes this contributes directly to healthcare overspending.  I remind him (with a smile) he is "biting the hand that feeds him".

If you are not married to someone who sells health insurance, you still should know something about healthcare policy and keep up with current legal issues surrounding healthcare.  Why?  I have found that as I learn more about health policy, I am able to provide better care to my patients.  Now that I am more aware of the actual cost of a CT scan and the issues facing our country as a whole, I can incorporate this information into my daily practice.  I offer patients options surrounding their care.  For example, when a parent brings their child in with a sore throat and fever and my exam findings indicate strep, I explain to the parents their child appears to have strep throat.  I am happy to do a strep test to confirm, however this will likely be an added expense and is probably not necessary.  Most people forgo the strep test saving themselves (and our healthcare system as a whole) money.  I am more aware of the financial burdens paying for healthcare places on individuals and am able to address this with patients and work with them to prevent further financial burden.  My patients are more satisfied as I have saved them money and given them options surrounding their healthcare.  

In my blog, I attempt to cover major issues surrounding health policy and current legal issues to keep my readers up to date.  Let me know if there are any health policy issues you think deserve some discussion.