It's become clear to me based on the feedback from my previous posts on healthcare that many people in America don't realize there are any problems with our existing system.
There is plenty of information available about these problems. I always like to steer people towards personal research, but these links should get you started:
- Death Panels Already Exist
- We've already got long waits for care
- Most of us already can't choose our doctors
- Costs are already skyrocketing
- The threat of increased taxes don't matter much when we already subsidize healthcare through lower salaries and other hidden costs
- We already have stifling paperwork and bureaucracy and high administrative overhead (wait, what, did that last link say 25%???)
- Many who want insurance and who can afford it are refused, even for "conditions" such as hay fever
- Many who have insurance and get seriously ill have coverage dropped
- Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Most of those going bankrupt were insured. (Can I point out this passes the cost to everyone through our credit system?)
- Many who should be able to afford insurance cannot
- The price of insurance keeps people from starting small businesses
- The need to retain employer insurance increase risks when making career choices
And I'm not even talking about universal coverage to pay for those who can't afford it. I don't have to even go there. Because like it or not, we already pay for the poor's healthcare through:
- Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, and other existing government programs
- Increased costs in provider charges and insurance premiums (plus increased wait times at emergency rooms)
The US spends more for healthcare per capita than any other industrialized nation. Yet in spite of this, it's a myth that we have the highest quality care in the world. According to the study linked there, "the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives."
In my researching, I've run across story after story of hardworking middle class Americans being screwed over by our system. Recently, while emailing a friend of mine, I learned of not one, but two tragic stories:
My own problems are from a condition I now have also directly related to a doctor's incompetence and refusal to look into a problem that I presented several times (each time worse) due to not wanting to run tests, as she was "out of budget" on tests that month and it would have cut into her income.
She complained of nausea over several visits,
I got to the place where nothing would stay down, even water. Got a bladder infection, showed up several times with an escalating temp, was told to go home and go to bed, it was "flu". Ended up fainting a couple of times, very, very sick. Told to go home, go to bed, do not call her for three days, she was tired of seeing me and my imaginary problems. I felt like an idiot and hypochondriac, but the fever was there, the techs said it was going up every time I'd come in, and I felt horrible. I finally ended up in the ER, they said, hey, when is the last time you saw a doctor, you have really become ill. Well, I told them, they couldn't believe what she did.
It turned out she had started with a simple-to-treat ovarian cyst, but due to lack of detection it had turned into a system-wide infection with high treatment costs and a long-term health impact.
I developed Ulcerative Colitis over it, which I still have to deal with now nine years later, and the host of health problems that it brings.... if they had just fixed the original problem I'd have probably still been healthy, now because they wanted to save a little $$ in the short run, I am one of the "chronically ill" who have a host of issues.
And one tidbit about pharmaceuticals:
My insurance paid for the $1,200 monthly for one of my drugs (which we found did not do any good at all, [because] after I became highly allergic to it I had to quit) but [they] will not pay $75 monthly for the other things I now do that do what the drug was supposed to do.
The second story happened to her husband:
He is having to have his back re-done because the surgeon who was supposed to be doing a fusion seven years ago screwed up royally. He put some hardware in [my husband's] back, but nothing that would actually do any good. Three docs have looked at the x-rays and gone "huh?". It has continued to deteriorate for seven years and he is now facing major surgery to not only remove the original mess up, but to correct the problems that were supposed to have been taken care of seven years ago. And we wondered why he never got any relief after going through all the hell of the first surgery.
Here we have two completely opposite problems: One doctor trying to avoid testing costs, and another appears to be performing an unnecessary and incorrectly done surgery potentially to line his pockets with more insurance money. Both resulted in long-term costs to insurance companies, and hence to all of our premiums. Both resulted in long-term costs and suffering for these two people.
In effect, the industry itself made both of these people physically dependent on it, possibly for the rest of their lives.
Aren't these the kinds of abuses supposedly caused by socialized medicine?
This is not an isolated incident. These stories are all over YouTube, the news, the internet. These are the people behind the statistics, the anecdotes to help us remember the numbers represent human beings.
HR3200 doesn't represent socialized medicine as much as it represents reform. It may not be the best, but my reading of it tells me it at least tries to address most of these problems. Obama is not pushing for nationalized health care like in the UK or Canada. He pushing to regulate and balance our out of control insurance industry, and the insurance lobby doesn't like it. I should hope the reasons why are obvious.
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