Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Great Health Debate, As I See It..

As I sit here listening to the uproar over health care, I am completely amazed. I hear the side that desperately wants the new proposed health care plan, which is also the side that overwhelmingly voted Obama for mainly this one particular issue that we’ve struggled with for decades. Polls show that 60-75% of Americans would like a universal health care system. From the other side, I hear a bunch of yelling. All I hear is “no!” No explanation, no logical reasoning…just, no! I struggle to understand, therefore I began to really research. What are the points that the party of NO has for not wanting health care? (Although, I really wonder if they even want some sort of health care refrom at all. Seems to me they say that we need it, but then lie to their constituents and trash any kind of propsed health care reform, all they while offering no solutions of their own.)

Is it cost?
A very legitimate concern, but the fact is, the new system would actually cost less than the current system due to lower administrative costs. Right now the US spends about 40% more per capita on health care than any other industrialized/developed countries with universal health care. According to studies the new health care plan would actually save 100 to 200 billion dollars per year.
We already have the single payer health plan with Medicare and with the veteran health care system. The plan is widely popular with those that already use this system. We are talking about expanding the same health care our vets, elderly, and disabled already get, and that doctors are already familiar with, to the rest of America. That means we would only have to pay 33% more than what we already pay, but we’re also saving money if we are lowering the administrative costs. This also means: NO MORE out of pocket payments, NO MORE co payments, NO MORE deductibles, NO MORE employee contributions to premiums, which would also get many companies off the hook and could free up more money to possibly go to higher salaries. Look, the cost for this single payer health care system cost even less than what we spent/ing on the war in Iraq. If we can afford a pointless war and national security for another nation, then we can take care of our own American citizen’s health needs here at home!!!

Is this socialism?
First of all, those that scream “socialism”, are the same ones that enjoy free public education, free emergency services, and free highways. Yet, even with these services, capitalism has not gone away. Second of all, to be a truly socialist plan, that would mean the government provides your health care for free, and everyone is on the same exact plan. That would also mean that the health care providers would be employees of the government, which would not be the case under this plan. Under this plan, you would have the freedom of choice and everyone would contribute to it. Unlike our current system in which people are forced to see providers on the insurer’s panel to obtain benefits. With the new system you could stay with your own health care provider, or you could go with another private provider. The government would simply limit what they could dump on you and make sure there was no such thing as preconditions to receiving health care. There’s also the choice that you could buy public health care, similar to Medicaid. Which leads to even more choices. The party of NO trying to shut down this option are simply removing a choice from your plate and forcing you to go with private, even if you don’t want it. Truly socialist programs do not offer choices...

Will this increase wait times at the ER?
Truthfully, the new single payer health plan would do a lot to cut down on wait times in the ER. Those that are uninsured now, go to the ER as their form of primary health care. With this plan, they could go to the doctor to not only take preventive measures, but also take care of any health care needs before it becomes dire enough to have to go to the ER. If anything, providing health care, reduces wait time in the ER. If you've experienced anything with our current health system, then you would know that our current ERs are obsene! I remember waiting from 3:00pm until 9:00pm with my own son on a weekend. He had a 103 fever, he wouldn't eat or drink, and fever reducing medicines were not working. At 9:00 the nurses still couldn't tell us when he would be seen, so had to finally leave as he fell asleep in our arms! That is just rediculous, and that's with private insurance! Making sure people have insurance, would help unclog the ERs for true emergency cases.

Will my tax dollars pay for abortions?
Absolutely not! Not one federal dollar will pay for an abortion. And, I have to add, that most current insurance companies don’t even pay for abortions unless, for example, a mother’s health is at risk.

Is there really such a thing as “death panels” that will tell the elderly when to die?
Absolutely not! This is an out and out myth! The provision would create no such panel. It calls only for “consultation between individual and practitioner.” The intent for this measure is not for doctors telling patients what to do, but to give doctors more incentives to talk to patients about all of their options. It calls for primary doctors to be better compensated for the time they spend offering advice to seniors who have questions about the thorny issues surrounding their end of life care. This was actually added in by a republican. He wanted to make sure that DNR (do not resuscitate) power of attorney, and such was explained to those facing end of life care.

Health insurers have 41 million in campaign contributions to congress since 1989 and increasing everyday by the millions. The conflict of interest is deafening. 70% of bankruptcies in this country occur with those with health insurance. We need to put a human face to this issue, and really live to the statement “United We Stand.” We are in this together. The fear that is being bread by those with a conflict of interest will do anything and say anything to detour from real fact. Will this plan be perfect? Probably not, as nothing is perfect, and we might have to revisit some issues to make it the best possible plan. Are we taking a step in the right direction? Absolutely! Even though this hasn’t passed yet, we are at least talking about it. I only wish there was less yelling, a whole lot less lying, and a lot more of us working together. This is an investment in our future! Out of the 28 industrialized nations, the US is the only nation that does not guarantee access to health care as a right of citizenship. Folks, making sure I receive health care, especially when breast cancer runs so rampantly through my family, is my right….not a privilege! And, yours and my health should not be making companies multi-millions in profit! Think about it….

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