Sunday, November 9, 2008

Health Care Reform - First Post

By now I am sure most of you have received a packet from your HMO or insurance provider outlining the changes to take effect in 2009. If you have looked them over you probably saw that benefits were cut as much as 50% and co-pays and/or premiums were increased. Many of you will have to spend hours comparing the benefits from other providers before making a decision on which company to go with next year. It gets confusing, doesn’t it? Did you ever wonder why this annual chore is necessary? How simple it would be if there was just one provider and you all paid the same premium regardless of the severity of your medical situation.
Even those with good insurance must not be too happy with this broken system now.

Before anyone starts screaming “Socialized Medicine” consider this: The president of the United States, his cabinet, the Congress and Senate all enjoy the single payer medical plan. The military (active duty and
retired) also have a single payer plan. The single payer is you, the taxpayer.

When I have a tough decision to make I write two lists. On one list I itemize all of the reasons for taking action and the other list contains all the reasons against doing so.

I then write what will be the consequence if I decide to do the thing and what will be the consequence be if I don’t. Using that logic I will try to itemize all the reasons that are for a single payer health care system (pro) and all the reasons against (con). I will not be able to think of everything and I am asking those of you who read this to add your own thoughts on the subject.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH OUR SYSTEM: (This is the Pro side.)
  • Hospitals are going broke absorbing the cost of the uninsured who show up in the emergency rooms.
  • Businesses like the auto industry have been bankrupted providing health coverage for their employees.
  • The total U. S. spending on Health Care in 2007 was $2.3 trillion or $7,600 per person. (From the National Coalition on Health Care site) Please don't tell me we can't do better.



If we don't simplify our medical system the price will keep increasing until no one will be able to afford coverage. It will not get better and everyone will suffer.

For those people who believe all the myths that you can’t choose your own doctor, you have to wait months for surgery, et. al. in government run programs let me reassure you that none of it is true. The facts do not back those anecdotal stories up.

PBS FRONTLINE aired a program by an investigative journalist who visited other countries that have a Single Payer system. He visited Japan, Switzerland, England and France. (Again, I am relying on memory for the countries. I was unable to find this program in the archives.) Even the doctors in France liked the system because it is so simple for them. They get paid a salary and don’t have the hassles and paper work that our doctors have to endure. He could not find a single person that didn’t like their medical plan. There were different forms of implementing the system and some of them had problems (Most were rising costs. Well, that’s not new to us, is it?) In some cases the patient didn’t even need an appointment; they simply walked in to the doctor’s office.

When one of the countries decided to change to a government run system (I think it was Switzerland) they sent a committee to each country that had the single payer system to study the their plans. They took the best from each system and adapted it to their own needs. Why can’t the richest country in the world do that? Why must hard working people become impoverished by one illness through no fault of their own? Why must children and adults die for lack of health care? Are we a humane country or are we a nation of the selfish elite who say, “I’ve got mine; now try to get yours.”?


Linda said...

My husband is retired military and I hated the old system but now that we're on what Congress has I love it.

We have wonderful coverage but I worry about so many others. I don't think we will see as much reform as most of us would like but it may be all Obama can get through with all the other problems. I don't think Hillary would have gotten her plan passed. It was a bigger jump than people were willing to take in one leap.

We've only been talking about health care reform since the 40s, we don't want to rush into anything.

I hope Obama can get enough changes that we'll notice improvement, even if it's not as much as we'd like.

Rain said...

I think there is a lot of selfishness and if we do something about health care, it will require something to control costs or it'll bankrupt the system. It's a problem to say the least but I hope there is a good solution because what is happening now isn't good

Darlene said...

Linda, very funny line "we don't want to rush into anything." Thanks for the yuk.

Rain, You are right and we have to do something. It would be better if we made a complete change to be phased in over a year. Costs could be controlled by buying meds in bulk and eliminating the waste, fraud, and mistakes that are rife in our system now.

Sylvia K said...

We do need to see something happen without having to wait still another 40 years! Eliminating drug advertising would help -- we're one of the few countries that do allow it and I think it is bad for a lot of reasons. I've been blessed with relatively good health, but at this age it could go downhill at any time and I'd be in a really bad position. My coverage is quite adequate for now. Better hope I stay healthy though.

LadyLuz said...

Oh Darlene, I do hope you will see some beneficial changes in your lifetime. I've never understood why a great country like yours is so averse to universal health care based on contributions from the employed and employees into a Govt. pot to pay for it. In next door Canada it works well, doesn't it.

The change was made in the 1940s in UK. Successive Govts. make political capital about prescription charges. Currently, all medications are free to pensioners, children, pregnant mums and the chronically sick.

The Health Service in UK has been full of controversy since the 80s when Maggie Thatcher wanted to introduce privatised provision alongside new NHS health trusts with budgets and targets...a real mess.

It's a minefield but any country that doesn't put health care for all regardless of ability to pay shows no care for its citizens.

Darlene said...

Sylvia, do you think you and I will ever see it? Not if we have to wait another 40 years. ;)

ladyluz - please e-mail me with the name of your blog and your URL. If I knew it I have forgotten. i know you are in Spain. I would e-mail you but your e-mail address isn't on your profile.

Wisewebwoman said...

Hi Darlene:
I write from Canada where we have universal health care and I thank the powers that be every day for it and for my friends whose lives have been saved.
Universal health care is cheaper (studies have shown) and everyone is covered for everything. Every thing bad you hear has been bought and paid for the the drug and insurance cartels and lobbies. I hate to hear of people dying in the US for want of health care.
And socialist is hogwash. why not privatize the police, education, fire marshalls, etc. if that is the case?
Nothing but brainwashing invented by Richard Nixon who was himself bought and paid for by Big Pharm.
Love your blog Darlene.

LadyLuz said...

Hi Darlene. I would email if I knew how. Mine is pamelajgallagherathotmaildotcom.
Also if you click on my LadyLuz name in your comments, it should take you to my two blogs. My Everything and Nothing is relatively new and it is a bit of a hotch potch and nowhere near as informative and entertaining as yours.

Keep well.

Darlene said...

Wisewebwoman, thank you for validating my premise on the myths that abound about the Canadian plan. And thank you for your lovely compliment.

Lady Luz, I did click on your name but it doesn't take me to the main blog and there is no info on the page I got with your e-mail address or blog name.
You can write me at: Please put my blog name in the subject line so it won't get deleted.

Anonymous said...

In the UK we have The National Health Service where everyone gets what ever treatment is required without being confronted with a bill. We pay through our taxes. There are some charges for drugs and dental work, but the elderly and some other groups mostly do not pay these charges.
There are problems such as waiting lists, but it's nice to know that if you need a $50,000 operation you will get it.