Ok, let’s talk Health care
Before I start, I want to make clear that I am no expert on health care. I haven’t read the bill (which means I am basically a Congressperson), and haven’t done a cost-benefit analysis. That being said, I still have some opinions on what is going on that I am going to share with all of you. I have four points I want to make.
1. There is a problem. As much as certain constituencies do not want to admit it, the health care system in our country is broken. With so many uninsured or (and just as bad) under-insured people, something needs to be done. We have reached a point where access to quality care has become a privilege and not a right. Doctors are forced to spend 5 minutes with patients, the appropriateness of tests is being determined by MBAs (as much as I love MBAs) and not MDs, people are not going to the emergency room because they are worried about paying and people are being forced to decide between medicine and food. Things must change. But, agreeing that there is even problem has been a challenge. Admitting there is a problem means doing something about it AND doing something about it means accepting change and looking at doing things a new way. Things people don’t like to do – especially when that new way might cost them or their business money.
2. The idea that people profit off of health is something that has always bothered me. I understand that that won’t change, but having a “public option” less in the business of padding pockets and more in the business of caring for people seems to make a lot of sense to me. If people could be a bit more focused on providing quality care in a cost-effective manner rather than maximizing profits, I think we would be much better off. A public option has the chance to force that shift in thinking on the industry and, to me, that is a very good thing. And, as intelligent people know, NO ONE will be forced to change providers. The public option simply adds competition and provides a place for people who can’t afford other insurance can get covered. And isn’t that the job of Government…to provide help and assistance to people who need it?
3. As someone with a pre-existing condition, I am thrilled that this new bill eliminates rationing and the ability of insurers to deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition. It is unconscionable that people in this country can’t get the coverage they need because THEY MIGHT USE IT! In a similar vein, I love that this new bill has a strong focus on preventative care. We spend millions of dollars each year on unnecessary health expenses. Rather than ration care, let’s save money by reducing waste and fraud (which this bill does) while incentivizing innovative preventative care. In addition, the bill will empower doctors to really follow their patients, not just treat them for 10 minutes when they have the flu. Instead they can make sure they are taking their medicine (that they will now be able to afford) and work with them to design a plan for healthy living so that visits to the doctor can be reduced. That, my friends, will save money and drive costs down.
4. Finally, let’s all try to remember the debate over Medicare and Medicaid many years ago. Before this landmark bill was passed in 1965 there was fierce opposition driven by fears of what a publicly-funded health plan would mean. Well now, it is one of the most beloved programs we have. Ronald Reagan said, in fact that ““[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” Sounds remarkably similar to some of the things we are hearing now. Well they were wrong then and they are wrong now.
If you are interested in reading the entire bill…it can be found here And please remember, no matter where you come down on this issue, let’s try to have a respectful debate about it and listen to what each other think rather than mindlessly shout or compare Obama to Hitler. Please! Oh, and I’m sorry to have to be one to tell you this Governor Palin…there won’t be any death panels.