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Medical thriller addresses healthcare rationing of newborns and seniors

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The implementation of Obamacare has sparked intense debate regarding the future of healthcare in the United States. Among the issues is healthcare rationing, which many opponents of the Affordable Care Act claim may escalate as implementation continues. Healthcare rationing currently exists. In hospitals across the nation, decisions are being made on a daily basis on which patients should be continued on expensive treatment. Spiraling costs have forced many of us to explore alternatives to the traditional fee for service medical care. Managed care has been lauded by many as the best solution to this crisis. Other members of our society have condemned this concept as a major step backward in the quality of medical care. The doctor-patient decision loop has been expanded to include the grim reality of economics. This problem does not exist in third world countries with limited resources. The premature and elderly either survive with basic supportive care or they expire. In these nations the constraints are due to lack of availability of medical services as well as economic limitations. In the United States, technologic resources continue to advance, however economic resources are becoming depleted. Advances in medical technology have vastly improved in the past four decades. For example, the premature Kennedy baby that expired in the early sixties would have an excellent chance for survival in the neonatal intensive care unit of today. During that same decade, we landed men on the moon. Subsequently, we abandoned moon landings due to economic considerations.

Regardless of one's viewpoint toward how healthcare reform should be implemented, traditional fee for service medical care is a dinosaur well on its way to extinction. A novel by yours truly was published before the Affordable Care Act was written into law; however, it addresses the issue of healthcare rationing to the extreme. Although it is a work of fiction, it explores a situation that could occur. Major utilizers of healthcare are seniors and newborns with complications such as prematurity and congenital abnormalities. Extreme healthcare rationing among these two groups would trim billions from healthcare costs, but would result in significant loss of life.

Hospitals are places where lives are saved—but can provide a near-perfect opportunity to destroy life. The arrogant new CEO, managing an insurance plan affiliated with the well-respected Cliffside Medical Center, has transformed a money-losing operation into a medical gold mine in a matter of months. In an attempt to clear herself of charges of incompetence and negligence, Dr. Melissa Morrison uncovers the grisly reason for the health plan’s success. Melissa has battled family and old-school discrimination to become a physician. But after only four years in private practice, she is caught up in a struggle for personal and professional survival as the life she built begins to crumble. Her former husband launches a vicious custody battle for their 18-month-old son just as she faces an ugly malpractice lawsuit after a tragic medical incident.

While dealing with the hospital’s charges against her, Melissa feels abandoned by her overbearing mother and undermined by her patronizing attorneys. Melissa fights back with grim determination, aided by a handful of supporters: a handsome computer programmer, Ryan MacKenzie; a young attorney, Rebecca Thatcher; and Melissa’s mentor, Dr. Roger Hauser. This unusual group blends talents and loyalty as they support Melissa’s bid to uncover . . . murder.

An Improbable Cause available as an e-book on, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Smashwords for $5.99.



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