Thursday, July 23, 2009

Health Care and CHANGE

I have been trying to think about a topic to blog about for a very long time. Most of my blogs have been more of updates than topical, which is fine but I do love the topic blogs so much. The blogs that really get everybody's attention and get conversations going.
So the other night I was having a conversation with my hubby about the recent health care topic that is on the forefront with our country right now. We have somewhat of opposing views being that he voted for a different person than the one that is now in office and who is also the man I voted for. Needless to say the conversation about this topic is one that always is interesting around here.

I don't know how many people know this but my vote this presidential election went to the person who had the greatest proposal FOR health care changes. I have my reasons for why which is not really what I want to get into here. What I want to talk about is this; recently we have a somewhat distant relative(ex-brother-in-law to Moses and our niece Kaylanne's dad) who was in a terrible motorcycle accident. He was out of state, out of work, and obviously therefore having no insurance. He was taken to a county hospital and is still being cared for there. He has had to have several operations and has been in the hospital for several weeks.
Is he being cared for with government money or are The good tax paying people of California footing this bill ( even though he lives in Mississippi) ? OR are both government and the people responsible here?

He has had nothing but quality care since the moment he arrived. There was no one at any point and time that even looked at him funny because he didn't have insurance or a job. So my question is this, what exactly will change?

Do people honestly believe that Doctors and Nurses will suddenly turn into these villains who only care for the people who have the biggest pocket books? Do you people not know that the Doctors and Nurses who would do that are already doing that and will continue to do that? BUT- there are those Doctors and Nurses out there who didn't take that vocation for the money and they will continue down that road of service whether there is money in it or not because that is their lives calling.

This is my big question- Do you think that the current health care situation is a good one in this country and should therefore be left alone? IF so why or why not??

I do hope people can converse about this openly and honestly and know that none of our conversations will do a damn thing and are strictly for some playful adult bantering only !! (unless of course you are a politician or related to one that has lots o money)


laura said...

As a healthcare worker, who works on a unit, where I would say 90% of our patients are self-pay (i.e.; don't pay) or Medicare, this is a very interesting topic and you raise a good question. It is against the law to turn someone away for emergency medical care, and continue their plan of care until they are able to take care of themselves. So, us, the taxpayers are kind of paying for this now because I am sure these people are write offs for the hospitals (and medicare of course is government funded via our tax dollars). If "CHANGE" comes, all it would mean is a huge increase in our taxes, and longer lines and waiting lists. Our system now is by no means perfect, and could use some tweaking, but the people who really need medical treatment are getting it. I by no means have an answer, but I really think things will get much uglier if we go for the big "CHANGE". I am curious to hear what others have to say. I don't think many people realize the laws we have here regarding not turning people away for medical care. Once things change, we will be telling these people to get in the back of the line, sorry!

Plucky said...

I miss the old blogging days when we could have rousing conversations around these kind of subjects, so I want to participate if for no other reason than to say "thank you" for putting something interesting out there that may actually incite conversation.

I agree with Laura and hopefully will add additional thoughts, not repeat hers.

Few people would argue that we have the most advanced medical care in the world. This is in part thanks to the free market system which encourages innovation and advancement via monetary reward.

Why would we want to change that?What we have done prior has gotten to this point . . . An awesome health care system by most nation's standards!

Medical costs do continue to rise and companies continue to pass more and more of these costs onto their employees. However, I would rather have the choice than pay exorbitant taxes for mandated and most likely inferior coverage.

Government mandated health care will also result in a major drag on the economy which then results in higher unemployement and lower tax revenue. This means those who are fortunate enough to continue their employment get to foot the bill for everyone else while still struggling to make their own ends meet.

The government should be promoting economic growth, not expensive socialistic programs. Economic growth creates jobs, increases tax revenue and allows the taxpayer to more readily fund care via governmental programs or charitable organizations for those truly unfortunate who do not have the means.

noel said...

laura- that's what i am thinking. not much will change because it would be against the law for it to be any different. in all hospitals it is still going to be the patient who is in need of acute medical attention who gets seen first, otherwise there would law suits left and right going on all over the place. (there is already, but that's a story for another day)

i think that what is on the table now is for the people who make millions a year to be given a higher tax not middle class. i could be wrong but that's what i am thinking the hold up is about because that would mean all those politicians would be taxing themselves. they don't want to tax themselves anymore than we want a higher tax.

tim- ME TOO!! i miss the playful banter that once was... so... let the games begin!!
i agree that we have amazing science in our favor over here in the USA. whether it's due to free market or not of that i am not sure. the reason i say that is because i don't believe it's all that free. like, i have heard that we have actually come up with cures for cancer as well as other cures but due to the fact that the pharmacutical field is multi-million dollar money making machine we the people are not given these kinds of medicines. instead we are charged thousands of dollars for one pill that has to be taken 4 times day so that the company who made the pill can keep making more money, not better medical advancements for the sake of the people.
i think free market is great and all so long as it is truly a free market. i am not so naieve anymore to think that it really is that way with anything anymore. it usually boils down to whoever has the most money gets to promote and protect thier investment.

i also agree that choice is a good thing. God knows we Americans like our choices, our freedoms. I don't think that will ever change. some things though that are currently not our choice right now is how high these insurance companies can raise the roof on us right now without anyone stoppinng them.
i don't want more choices being taken away from me or bigger government. i do however want some more monitoring going on with insurance companies and medical money making machines.

laura said...

I have an experiment... Only give medical care to citizens of the US (unless they have a plan covering them or pay cash up front) and see what that does to healthcare costs. Just a thought.

noel said...

or here's another thought which came from a veteran so i am safe to say this- stop paying for all medical for those veterans who haven't even fought in a war.

Hillary said...

As someone who also works in the medical field and sends claims to insurance companies daily I too want to get in on the conversation.

I think that Medicare does have several issues when it comes to paying on claims and that needs to be tweaked so that the doctors can be paid for their services.

As for hospitals, many of them do write-off much of what gets billed to people who don't have insurance coverage. But with that you need to know that insurance companies do the same. They do NOT pay what the total amount of the claim was. There is ALWAYS a portion being written off. Perhaps we should get rid of the write-offs on both sides - insured and uninsured. Only bill people and insurance companies for a true amount and that amount gets paid regardless. If you don't have insurance, set up a mandatory payment plan. No more write offs. If you needed the services, you must pay for it. I know that's not the answer to this huge problem, but it could be a start.

I believe that there should be some sort of limit or cap put on our health coverage costs from private insurance companies.

I don't think that it's fair to penalize those of us who have health care coverage by making us pay for a portion of our coverage and also by taxing us to make up for the people who don't have health coverage. I'm doing my part, everyone else should do theirs (yeah I a perfect world).

Not sure about the cures for cancer and pharmacutical industry issue. I haven't heard or read that anywhere. If that is the case, that is really sad. There are so many people dying everyday due to cancer and that would be a huge burden to bear if I was someone involved in hiding the cure. I find my peace in knowing that they have to answer to God about that.

I do think that the government funded programs like Medicare/Medicaid should only be offered to legal citizens.

As for the veteran comment, there are many who serve our country that haven't fought in a war that deserve medical coverage. If the military is your job, regardless of if you've gone to war or not, then you should get medical coverage. But believe me, the medical coverage that our veterans get isn't all that great. You and I, as people with private insurance, have better coverage than some of our military members. They pay out of pocket fees too.

Great topic Noel!! This has been very insightful.

Murdoc said...

Obama's still just another tool in the shed. How about all those ready made jobs. Yeah.

It's already been said, but what would change is...the amount of money you take home. This wouldn't just affect the rich. Take a look at some other countries with socialized medicine. Everyone pays out the yang. 50-70% of what they make goes to the government. I'm not ok with that.

They should do an opt in/opt out of their socialized medicine & see what happens.

noel said...

Hilary and Ben glad to see you joined in.

I don't have more to add except to say Ben there are many tools in the shed. Tools are not necessarily bad so long as they do what you want them to, right?

I have to say that also I am completely confident in we the people figuring this one out.
I hope that people aren't afraid to make changes when change is necessary.
Here's another quote that affirmed this for me;

New York Times

“If somebody told you that there is a plan out there that is guaranteed to double your health-care costs over the next 10 years,” he said, “that’s guaranteed to result in more Americans losing their health care, and that is by far the biggest contributor to our federal deficit, I think most people would be opposed to that,”
“That’s what we have right now,” he said. “So if we don’t change, we can’t expect a different result.”

Not changing and expecting a different result in the definition of INSANITY!!

Tmoney said...

Well, I have been listening to all of this on the news, alot. We have Obama getting pretty testy about his not going through, and blaming Republicans when there are plenty of votes from the dems, but they even don't want this. I like the system that we have. If you can pay for your medical coverage, you get the care you want and are willing to pay for. If the government covers your care, you wait longer, but still get excellent medical care, better than any other country. I have been without coverage and have had to pay for a huge medical bill, which sucked. But I would gladly do that over having free medical coverage. Medicare pays the least amount of any insurance provider and it takes the longest to get payment and there are a lot of issues in between. There are people from Canada and Great Britian doing documentaries about why America should NOT engage in this sort of system. right now, if they desparately need health coverage - they come here because they can actually get care. People in those countries die waiting for testing, much less treatment. I work in the system, housing, power assistance, phone assistance, groceries, TANF, Medicare - all of it. None of those programs are run well or efficiently. I don't want a system like that running my health care. Did you know that in socialized medicine, you can't get testing for certain things until you reach a certain age? there is a committee that decides who gets medical treatment first? Not your doctor. They are proposing that same sort of commitee here. There was a provision that you couldn't get private health care once the public health care was established, but once people figured it out, I think it went away. And, if you don't get medical coverage, they are going to fine you. It is also proposed to tax people that have good health care - up to 25%- to pay for the state run health care that will reduce your choice, make it harder to see a doctor and raise taxes and costs - a lot. There are programs that make you get prescriptions for supplements - from a doctor that takes either an 8 hour waiting time or months out for a visit - it's called Codex - in other countries. What I hate the most is that since this president has been in office, he has socialized a huge portion of our society. I heard an estimate that if this goes through, the government will control about 45% of the economy. Europe is at 47% and France is at %49. We know what socialism looks like, I don't want it here, but it's coming. I bought a bumper sticker that said "so this is how democracy is lost, with thunderous applause". It's looking very applicable here.

Jeni said...

The one thing that I notice a lot of people wanting to do is to blame insurance companies for the increasing cost of health care. I am perhaps a bit defensive about this because I work for an insurance company, but I feel that the insurance companies are not entirely to blame. And if people think that it is bad dealing with the insurance company, wait until those same people find themselves dealing with a government run system. I can speak from experience having to deal with claims that come in after they've been handled by Medicare (nightmare, anybody?)and can say that they will find any excuse possible not to pay for things. They will deny a mammogram because it was done one day too early (they have to be done only once a year, at least 365 days apart). Medicare will SAY that the hospital has to write it off, but many hospital will bill the patient instead. This is just one small example of what can be expected with a government run health care for all.
Insurance costs are high, partially because the payments doctors and hospitals accept for their services is growing. But that's not to say they are entirely to blame either-- many individual doctors won't accept less because the cost of malpractice insurance is so high-- and the reason for that, because we are a litigious society.

So I guess what it comes down to is, if we want to retain the right to sue our doctors if something goes wrong, we should be willing to pay for that right. I'm curious how that works in countries with socialized medicine. Since people are not paying for their care, do they still retain the right to complain about it, to sue if they are dissatisfied with the care they received? Just some thoughts...

Tmoney said...

One more thing. I understand that for most people, this comes from a point of compassion. I get it and it is sad sometimes, but with government help comes taxes and regulations. In California, Hawaii and Massachussettes, they have tried state run health care and in California and Massachussettes, it costs way over what was estimated, and Hawaii, they canned the program after 7 months. Then we know what it looks like on a national level with Canada and Europe.

noel said...

Oregon has state health care for people who make only a certain amount of money a year and it seems to be working just fine for them. They have had it for many years and it is yet again another reason why I want to live there someday.
Maybe that's a thought that should be considered let each state figure out what they want to do for themselves. Guarenteed, Nevada won't change!!

Tmoney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tmoney said...

Noel, I posted some of the things that are actually in the bill on my blog so that I didn't do a whole blog on your comment box. I am interested to know what you think if you read it, or anyone else.

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