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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another List Of Stuff That's Blatantly Obvious To Me But That No One Else Seems To Get

(National Health Care Edition, c. 2009, all rights reserved)

  • We already have health care rationing. It's called "what your health insurance company decides it will and won't pay for." If you don't have health insurance at all, you're "rationed" right out of the market.
  • There are no death panels. Nobody's going to kill your grandmother. If you believed that nonsense for half a second, you need to work on your gullibility factor. Hey, they're going to take away drivers licenses from everybody over 70! Oh God, don't tell me you believed that too. What is wrong with you?
  • Nobody's going to take away Medicare from senior citizens. Are you kidding? People over 65 are rapidly becoming the major demographic. Not even senators and congresspersons are stupid enough to piss off the AARP.
  • It doesn't matter if there are 18 million, 26 million, or 47 million uninsured Americans. If even one person is sick or dying because he or she can't see a doctor, it's too many.
  • WE NEED TO FIX THIS. NOW. We had a chance in 1994 and we blew it. Now the problem is much worse. Want to wait until 2014 when the out of pocket expense for health care is $36,000 per family? Me, neither.
  • National health care does not mean free health care. Nothing's ever free. In the UK they have much higher tax rates than here and national health is one of the things the taxes pay for. They made that choice. If we're going to make a different one, we will still need to find a way to pay for it.
  • Shutting large numbers of people out of any access to a doctor is not "finding a way to pay for it."
  • Even if it can't be free, is there really anything wrong with making basic care available to all Americans at an affordable price?
  • "Affordable" varies with the individual, which is why we need CHOICES, including a public option.
  • Here's a concept: Diseases, plagues and viruses spread much faster in communities that don't have ready access to medical care.
  • A hospital on every corner is not "ready access" if you can't afford care there.
  • Four people who come into the same emergency room with the same broken arm will be charged four different rates depending on whether they have A. Medicare, B. worker's compensation, C. private insurance or D. no insurance at all. Guess who's charged the most? D. Guess who's the least likely to pay at all? Yep, you're right again. Guess who picks up the slack? A, B and most of all, C. Yep, you're ALREADY paying for care for the uninsured, and the bill hasn't even been passed yet.
  • No mom should ever be put in the position of not being able to pay for prenatal care and therefore giving birth to a kid with serious problems--which will end up costing more to treat, if the kid even lives.
  • No kid should ever be put in the position of getting rheumatic fever, and the resultant heart damage, because Mom couldn't afford the antibiotics for his strep throat--which will end up costing more to treat, if the kid even lives.
Okay, that's enough from me. Here's some words from a Brit, who lives here now, and was recently back home on a visit:

When I was there it hadn't really ramped up to the rhetoric we are seeing now, so I really only began to take notice when I got back. From what my Mum was telling me people are really upset about it in that they don't think the US has the right to be critical like this as its all completely based on zero facts. The UK system is by no means perfect and most people will say that, however it is nowhere near as bad as it is being made out to be. Rather the people back home want the problems fixed, not the system disbanded.

Given that health care here fails a lot more people than in the UK I really don't think the argument stands up at all. All those doing the complaining either have great insurance or are loaded so it's in their favour to be like this. Also you will notice that there really is no alternative being offered by them, just the status quo. Seeing as the last 5-6 administrations have done nothing but put their heads in buckets of sand, the US now has a major problem. I don't necessarily think that that PBO plan is the best plan. However I do believe that the debate (notice the word debate, not "slagging match") needs to be had and I do think serious reform is in order.

[Family Member] went to the Dr the other day and was there 15 mins tops for some blood work. As she had not meet her deductible it cost her 112 dollars or roughly 10 bucks a minute. I don't think even Bill Gates earns 10 bucks a minute so how is this better? Yes it will probably mean paying taxes to help fund it, but is there a difference if you pay 40 bucks a month in taxes or 40 bucks a month in insurance and then anything from 20 percent upwards? To get to 100% you have to spend something crazy like $12,000. (Jen interjects: One emergency room visit.) Private is not better. It may be a little faster in the current climate but I am sure with work these issues could be resolved.

I hate health care here. I hate the fact that I pay all this money in insurance and then they find a way not to pay for it but pass the bill on to you. I hate the way they argue about stuff forever then send you a bill 11 months after the fact. I think the law needs to be reformed so that if you have not been billed in 2 months they have to bear the cost. The so called free market is not free, there is very little choice because you are not going to opt to watch a loved one suffer or die. Where is the choice in that? Huge premiums you can't afford or out of pocket expenses. How many people have had homes foreclosed or are in serious debt as a result of health care cost incurred for whatever reason? (Jen interjects: Don't know about foreclosures, but 51% of all personal bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.) Truth is, change is needed and I also include a lot better preventative care and better lifestyles and healthy eating exercise etc. Also I think of drug companies like oil companies. You never hear of a poor one do you?

The newspapers in the UK have been fighting back with various articles and even the Prime Minister weighed in, in defence of the NHS. (That guy is a serious loser or will be come next May). However, it was one article headline that really summed it all up for me and distilled it down to four words as far as health care in the US is concerned. "Land of the Fee."

To close out, Jen sez: Joan was in the hospital in Ireland in 2000 when she became seriously ill while traveling. This was a tiny town in the middle of nowhere with a small hospital, and it was like totally 1950s. Big open wards. Very little privacy. No computers, no beepy monitors. BEST. CARE. EVER. The nurses helped you get dressed and fluffed your pillows for you if you looked uncomfortable. They could do that because they weren't on the phone arguing with insurance companies all day. I guess if they had to yell at NHS they did it while the nun came around and gave Communion. Total cost? About $1,200 U.S. for an entire week, including all meds and treatments. And Communion. Yeah. That's what I said.

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