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Government As Parent

After much thought, I've decided that the best thing is just to totally put my life into the hands of our benevolent government.  Cradle-to-grave, they are the best determiner of everything.  How should I be educated?  What is important to study?  Should I vaccinate?  Am I worth having my knee replaced?  Do I deserve cardiac or cancer drugs?

It's really silly and presumptuous of me to assume I can make sense of this on my own.  Certainly the same lights that have created the DMV, zoning boards, the post office, and other fantastic and highly successful enterprises should be making these decisions; I can't be trusted.

In addition, I think I should pay more for my rationed health care.  I mean, I only pay $1001 out of pocket every month for my family's health care.  Out of pocket; as a self-employed person, my employer does not contribute.  I've also been paying 100% of both of my employee's medical and dental coverage for 4.5 and 2 years, respectively; rather than being selfish, I should certainly step up and pay for other folk's care, too.  People I don't know.  People that have no positive impact on me or my community.

There are many people who require important things like cable, cell phone service, Internet, nice cars, eating out, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and what-not; these folks obviously can't afford to tack health care on top of these crucial quality-of-life items.  I mean, some of them don't even work!  How can they be expected to pay for their own care?  I should pay more.  Heck!  My car only has 200k miles!  I should contribute to these poor folk's new cars, too. 

Oh, I am.

My head is going to explode. 



Aug. 20th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)

So let's assume that your worst nightmare comes true, and America's healthcare system becomes a quasi-British/Canadian totolitarian neosocialist scheme. (Worrying about this, by the way, is still speculative because the general details of the plan have still yet to gel) Well, I have one thing to say to you - Tough Tootsie Rolls. Suck it up.

For the last 15 years or more, the traditional roles in Washington have been that the Democrats have worked to reform healthcare, while the Republicans worked to thwart the Democrats. If the Republicans had put as much effort into trying to build their own healthcare reform as they have spent on stopping the imminent threat of hospital Marxism, there would be a much greater chance that any eventual healthcare reform would be less liberal-ly.

However, I do respect your desire to not have to pay for other people's healthcare. I believe that both the Dems and the media have done a lousy job in explaining why we need healthcare reform. They ALWAYS focus on the poor uninsured, but never talk about the crap that the insured folks endure. Quickly:

1. American healthcare is sometimes touted as the best in the world. In some areas, that's absolutely true. We have the best specialists in the world, hence, we have the best specialized care. Insurance payout structure here makes being a General Practicioner an unpleasant and less profitable wing of medicine, so most of our best and brightest go to specialties. It's much tougher to find a good GP here, and since the GP is our first and best defense in preventative and affordable healthcare, our system suffers because of the shortage.

2. Insurance companies have crossed the line to the point where they are overruling the doctors on recommended treatment. That service that we pay for is now pushing our health system towards us getting less care.

3. Insurance payouts leave big money gaps in treatment. many severely ill people find themselves bankrupted by health costs, despite having good insurance for years. For example, it's not unusual for a cancer patient to have a $50 co-pay per appointment. Cancer treatments are 3 times per week. Many patients simply can't afford another $600/mo on top of their insurance costs. The co-pay and deductable costs are much closer to being death panels than any Obama plan will be.

4. Our medical culture has become one of over-prescription, rather than prevention and/or cure.

5. Finally, we do pay for all of those uninsured folks already. When I lived in Philly, ERs were scarce, and waits in them were terrible because few hospitals could afford them. The uninsured in that town flocked to them, which crowded the rest of us out. And any treatment that we got there bore part of the cost of their treatment.

You may argue that the new Obama plan won't help some or any of these problems. I don't know that either. Like I said, the plan is still murky. However, I feel somewhat bad for the conservatives. The yahoos screaming at the town hall meetings are giving a public perception that the opposition base are all crazy freaks. Not good news for your side.
Aug. 20th, 2009 06:09 pm (UTC)
1. I have no opinion on this.

2. Yes. But if the gov't runs things, we will see more of this.

3. And a government rationing program will improve this how? I believe most 'socialized' medical systems have an end-of-life-cost-versus-benefit idea where the 'old' folks won't get the expensive treatment. This, of course, is the root of the 'death panel' hysteria. I can't believe that we can provide fairy-dust health care for everyone.

4. Totally.

5. Santa Cruz, CA, no longer has a trauma center as the illegals/uninsured overwhelmed the ED for care that should have been provided at the GP level... But, of course, they don't *have* to pay the ED. Unlike, say, in the UK where you or I would have to provide payment before they would look at us. So, in an effort to be magnanimous to those that would cheat the system or shirk basic responsibilities, our society screws itself.

Last night, I took a 'panic attack' victim to the hospital at 1:30 am. This person does not take their depression meds because 'they do nothing'. They ran out of their atavan and the immediate issues crop up. They called 911 at 0130 rather than have their spouse drive them to the hospital; came out and climbed in as soon as we pulled up. Why? Convenience, for one. Also, it's totally free; they have no insurance coverage and no intention of paying the bill. So, let's go the next step and remove the guilt... No, there's no sense of guilt for abusing the system. Let's remove the hassle of dealing with the hospital collections department calling in vain for several months.

Will we see more or less abuse of the system?

Edited at 2009-08-20 06:11 pm (UTC)
Aug. 20th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
in short
There has to be some balance but rushing for reform needs to stop. At the same time, we don't need to totally reinvent the wheel but there are some huge problems that need to be resolved.
Aug. 20th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
Re: in short
I just want to say that having geckospot say "in short" makes me *snerk*. That is all.
Aug. 20th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
Seems like most folks don't want to "abuse the system" - most people would rather pay their bills and live their lives honestly. When they get sick and their coverage gets dropped, they're the ones who end up screwed.

70% of bankruptcies in the US are related to healthcare costs. I'm betting most of that 70% would rather have had their insurance take care of their expenses rather than go bankrupt and lose their homes.
Aug. 20th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Seems like most folks don't want to "abuse the system"

Not sure that I'd agree with this. Okay, maybe. But the majority of people that I transport have no insurance and have minor or trivial issues that certainly do not require an ambulance.

70% of bankruptcies in the US are related to healthcare costs.

Really? That's surprising. Do you have a link? And I wonder how many of these people (whatever the figure) chose not to have coverage in favor of other, 'more important' items. Sure, I'd like to have the $1000/month that I spend on healthcare to spend on other things, especially as many months our actual health care costs are zero. But having been saved from financial disaster by having insurance when I broke my leg (the first four days in hospital were > $40,000) I'm totally a believer in insurance as insurance. Sure, the health care insurance industry totally sucks; RK spends a not-trivial amount of time making sure we get our due from them.

How come insurance companies can't compete like real companies? Why are the plans I have access to different than the ones you have? Existing gov't regulation, I believe. So maybe the answer isn't more government to fix failed government?

Edited at 2009-08-20 07:17 pm (UTC)
Aug. 20th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
Despite overwhelming "evidence" to the contrary, I still believe that MOST PEOPLE are fairly decent. You just don't HEAR about them as much as the nutjobs and wahoos. I could be wrong.



*snip* A recent study found that 62 percent of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were linked to medical expenses. Of those who filed for bankruptcy, nearly 80 percent had health insurance.

Sorry, I was off by 8%. Note the 80 percent who did have health coverage...I guess it wasn't sufficient to cover the bills.

Here's an older one:

February 3, 2005: Illness and medical bills caused half of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001, according to a study published by the journal Health Affairs. Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by illness had health insurance. More than three-quarters were insured at the start of the bankrupting illness. However, 38 percent had lost coverage at least temporarily by the time they filed for bankruptcy.

Most of the medical bankruptcy filers were middle class; 56 percent owned a home and the same number had attended college. In many cases, illness forced breadwinners to take time off from work -- losing income and job-based health insurance precisely when families needed it most.

Families in bankruptcy suffered many privations -- 30 percent had a utility cut off and 61 percent went without needed medical care.

Hmmm...the percentage seems to have gone up between 2005 and 2007. Can't imagine that's changed.

There's lots more out there to cite, but I really should stop taking a break and do some work for Shakespeare now. Maybe more later!

Mike has been buying insurance privately to the tune of about $130 a month since being under & unemployed. He had a recent scare which required a CT scan. We just got the bill for the scan. We owe over $3K just for the scan. Other related expenses are still trickling in. Fortunately, the scan and other testing came up with no health issues...we still wonder why he was peeing blood for a couple days, but as long as they say there's no cancer or anything, I guess we have to just shrug and move on. Oh, and fork over some bucks. $3K is more than we want to spend right now, but we'll make good on it...wondering, tho, why the insurance didn't pick up more than they did. And hoping that at renewal time they don't drop him.

Ok, really going to work now! :-) Here i go! Watch me work!
Aug. 21st, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
You ask if we'll see more or less abuse of the system and whether or not the government and insurers will increase their interferance on medical decisions. I'm not going to comment. I won't defend the new health care plan because not enough is known about it to speak intelligently about it.

I will tell you my chief concern with it, though. I'm worried that any provisions it may or may not have had to handle the big problems will be stunted or compromised away because nobody's focusing on the big picture of why our healthcare needs reform. Everyone is either crusading for the uninsured or against the demons of socialism. I can't see a good system being born out of hysteria and mob rule. I blame both sides of the political spectrum for this, as well as the media and the general public.

I hate everyone.
Aug. 20th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
1 & 5
Heard an interview on NPR last week from a doctor. "Every Patient Tells a Story, by Lisa Sanders. Getting the book and will pass it on when I see you.

5. I went to an ER for stitches on a fabulous June Saturday. Saw the wait and decided to watch for infection and use a bandage. It worked that time.


Bjamexza Q. Pyndejo / James O. Payne, Jr.
Bxiie Q. Pyndejo

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