Monday, November 3, 2008

Health Care - Right vs. Responsibility

Health care ranks third among worries on the minds of registered voters, after the economy and Iraq, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report last month. By party affiliation, it remains third among Democrats (Right), but Republican (Responsibility) voters put it at worry No. 6, after the economy, gas prices, Iraq, terrorism and taxes.

I’m trying to figure out why.

People in America pay more for healthcare per capita than people in any other country in the world, yet the quality of care is seriously lacking. Some 46 million Americans are without health insurance, and another 25 million are underinsured. Meanwhile the costs keep rising. We’re spending $800 billion more for health care than we did eight years ago! Forty percent of working adults are either paying off medical debt or having trouble paying medical bills.

Differing plans –
Obama’s plan would require employers to offer health insurance or contribute to the payroll tax. Children would be required to have coverage under his plan. No one would be denied because of a pre-existing condition. It will cost 1.17 trillion and reduce the uninsured by 26.6 million.
McCain’s plan would end the income tax break that workers currently get who have insurance through their work. Instead, he would offer up to $5000 in tax credits to buy coverage on your own. People denied coverage could buy insurance through a federally supported Guaranteed Access Plans, with income-based financial assistance available. It will cost 2.05 trillion and reduce number of uninsured by 21.1 million.

McCain’s plan costs more and ensures coverage for the least amount of people.

Rights vs. responsibility reeks of class warfare to me, another fight between the have’s and the have not’s. Why should only those with money – a lot of it in some cases, be able to have quality medical care? If you don’t have insurance and your child is very ill on the weekend, are you going to take him to the emergency room or try to save money by waiting until Monday to go to your private physician? Just because someone doesn’t have insurance does not mean they are irresponsible as that common comparison insinuates; that those who don’t have it are somehow lazy or incompetent.

A member of my family has a pre-existing condition – diabetes. His job does not offer health insurance (something that would be required under Obama’s plan) so I and my kids are on a personal family plan that doesn’t include him, because he is uninsurable. His previous job did offer insurance, but wouldn’t cover anything that had to do with his diabetes for two years – and those devil insurance companies can turn even the breaking of an arm into being diabetes related. But at least he would have had something, eventually.

Getting insurance through your work offers cheaper premiums and lower deductibles (I’m paying through the nose right now with a really high deductible on my personal plan, currently paying out way more than $5000 a year.) McCain’s plan would push more people into the private sector, and what’s going to keep those with pre-existing conditions (those that need it the most!) from paying a fortune for coverage again? Keeping costs down and helping smaller businesses provide coverage for their employees seems like a better answer to me.

Everyone should be able to have equal access to something as life and death as quality health care. Because for a lot of people, it really is life – or – death.


okbushmans said...

I know I won't convince you otherwise, and vice versa! I am definitely on the 'responsibility' side, and this is an 'uninsured' person speaking. (Dec. 1st baby! Woo-hoo!) I have seen all aspects of insurance: govt. programs, individual coverage, and employer provided. There are major problems with the industry, but govt is not the answer. Currently, Medicare and Medicaid are the largest health insurance programs, giving coverage to over 53 million people. And I have said it over and over, being under Medicaid was worse than the past 8 months of being uninsured. I decided I would rather pay out of the pocket for sick visits, and go to free immunization clinics, rather than go through Medicaid again. If the government can't take care of 15% of the population's insurance, why trust them with more? It doesn't make sense to me. And currently, there is not an expiration of benefits, just an income cap. What is the motivation to do better for yourself? Why not only make so much, and have the govt take care of the rest (food, health coverage)? One of our largest motivating factors for getting an education and selecting the jobs we have is their benefits. I could go on and on...
My Point: The insurance industry is broken. The Medicaid and Medicare programs are broken. And instead of it being between the have's and have not's I would argue the majority of it is the DO-ERS and the DO-NOT'S. The majority of the "have's" worked extremely hard to get what they 'have'. In my opinion, both Obama's and McCain's plans are flawed and unlikely they will get everything they want.

Ben and Christina said...

It is an absolute crime that in the wealthiest country in the world people die on a daily basis due to problems that are fixable, and this happens to people that HAVE inscurance. It should be illegal for comapanies to make a profit off people getting sick- the fact that people are making BILLIONS in the inscurance company because they are denying coverage to whoever they want is disgusting-and anybody who disagrees with that does not have a heart. In Germany, they have socialized health care, and it is absolutely wonderful. Other countries also have socialized health care and it doesn't work quite as well- I understand that.
I do agree that it is the insurance companies that are broken. BUT- there has to be a system in place where everybody can get insurance, regardless of their health. Obama's plan will take us in that direction. We are the richest and most blessed country in the world- but the way we treat health care is beyond comprehension.
My husband works harder then anybody I know. He got straight A's in college and now works at a prestigious firm that even in this recession is making record profits. And next year, they are completely slashing our benefits- switching us to a plan that covers much less and costs us much more. He isn't lazy- and if he or I get cancer, I would hardly say that it is our fault.
Everybody should watch Sicko- EVERYBODY. It is over the top, but it brings up some disgusting points (and he bashes the Dems as much as the Reps). Health care is an issue that concerns everybody, because everybody can get sick. It isn't right that in the richest country in the world, we allow children to suffer because daddy's job couldn't afford to give him insurance, and nobody should have to choose between prescriptions or groceries.
You want to know the number reason for backruptcy??? HEALTH CARE! And, about 80% of those people HAVE HEALTH CARE BUT CAN'T AFFORD THE PREIUMS AND CO-PAYS AND PRESCRIPTIONS IF THEY GET SICK! Who is responsible for that????

Jen said...

Ditto to okbushmans.

The only properly run government medical program is the military program. If we could model that, then it would still cost 3x's more than if it were run privately. As a former Marketing Manager for Humana (the last job I had prior to having my first child 3 years ago), I was inside the insurance business. We focused on senior products--plans that supplement medicare. These poor people, even with govt assistance still had to make up 20% of their own medical coverage. For elderly people who are in and out of the hospital, loaded up on unnecessary medication, can't keep up with their medical expenses. Even when they were covered at 80%. We had one lady who was on 20 different meds. We worked with her and her daughter to get all her doctors to talk to each other. Turns out that she only needed 4 of the medications because the other 16 were just treating the side effects of the other meds. This is what private companies are able to do, govt doesn't have the man power or encentive to look this closely at individuals. I digress.

At Humana, we had a product that actually helped Medicare significantly reduce their costs (Medicare Advantage Programs). Without going into too many details, we basically set it up with Medicare that the money they allocated to each person on medicare would be distributed to Humana, and then Humana would take full liability for the coverage and administer the benefits on behalf of medicare. I can not express to you how much more we could do with the same amount of money that medicare was spending on their own. By simply outsourcing the coverage (which had to be agreed upon by the individual and there were many other companies who were also contracted with medicare to offer similar coverage) we were able to give people a maximum cap of $2500 that they would spend out of pocket each year ($5 doctor visits, $20 specialist visits which went towards the maximum cap). This is SIGNIFICANTLY less than the 20% that medicare would have them pay out of their own pocket--think of just 1 trip to the hospital. The point being, eventhough the system isn't working as well as it should be in the private sector, it is running far more efficient, even profitable for insurance companies over the current medicare program. In addition, you wouldn't believe all the perks they offer. My parents are on a Medicare Advantage program and LOVE IT. They get a free gym membership!

So, I go back to my overall point regarding the difference between a democrat and a republican--in "Theory" the idea is nice, but in reality, it just doesn't work. The govt will never be as efficient as the private sector. The only govt program that is really efficient is the postal service--that's because they have to compete with fedex and ups.

On a side note--my brother-in-law happens to own a diabetic supply business. He is an amazing buyer, so if you are paying out of pocket for meters, test strips, lancets, etc. then he can significantly save you in your out of pocket costs (He gives free meters whenever someone needs one, and his strips are more than 1/2 than the amount you would pay at a pharmacy). He offers free nation-wide shipping. If you're interested please let me know and I'll get you his info.

Jen said...

Christina, I agree. However, Government run health care is not the solution.

The Bradfords said...

I don't claim to know much about this issue, but I have a hard time understanding how small businesses are going to be able to afford to offer health care to their employees. Some people I know that own their own business will end up in bankruptcy in such a scenario. I agree that the system is broken, but I can't see that forcing companies to offer health care is going to fix it. Isn't it the health care industry that needs to change somehow?? We have health insurance but the deductibles are so ridculously high and the fine print so ridiculously small that we are forever fighting those "devils" over the dumbest little things that they say we owe and we don't!

This is one of the things that scares me about Obama--I feel like his plan takes away choice, and that heads toward everyone being exactly alike. It's a step in the wrong direction, even if it appears helpful in the beginning.

Ben and Christina said...

I had to add one more thing before my head explodes- sorry....

My very good friends (not some mythcal peolple I heard about) both have incredibly good jobs- one is a teacher and the other works at a computer company. Both have their Master's degrees. Last week, their 11 month old daughter had a horrible accident and is now in ICU. They don't know if she will make it, and even if she does it looks like she will have severe brain damage. It is a horrible story. They do have inscurance, but they will both have to take UNPAID leave to be with her- which could be weeks or even months. Now, you may ask- why not have one parent go back to work? Well, what kind of a choice is that- be with your dying daughter or lose your house? That is a horrible decision that nobody should have to make!

It sounds like everybody is in agreement that our health care situation in America sucks- which it does. The solution? Why can't there be a mix of socialized health care for the poor, uninsured, or uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions, AND private for the wealthier? It seems like that is what Obama is leaning towards. It can't be all private because private companies deny coverage on a continual basis! And, I strongly strongly strongly believe that it should be ILLEGAL for companies to make a profit off of people getting sick!!!!! There is something wrong with such a system!!! But, at least we all agree that something has to be done- and the talking needs to stop, and the doing something about it needs to start!

Lula O said...

I watched a program the other day on France's health care system. It's working for them, very well in fact. The doctors have a normal pay scale, make house calls, work in ambulances and thereby do all they can to keep costs down. They aren't in the business to make money. They are in the business of keeping people well. That's why doctors used to become doctors, not so they can have the biggest houses on the hill.

What about the clinic's opening up at places like Shopko, staffed by nurses. Doctors are throwing a fit, saying care not good enough, etc. When in reality the cases they see are almost always minor ones, sore throat's, ear infections, in truth the bread and butter of my kid's pediatricians office. So is that all about money too? Who keeps these ginormous drug companies, insurance companies in check? Currently no one but the special interest groups in Washington that line's congress's pockets. Costs need to be controlled. They've had their chance and it did nothing but skyrocket.

Did you know OKbushman, that because you don't have insurance - and I know this because there was a time I didn't have it either- that you pay more for office visits than someone with insurance? You're very lucky, I assume, that you've not had a major crisis in your family that would constitute a major medical expense. This happens to people all the time - and guess what - they lose EVERYTHING. Give up everything they have to save a loved one or themselves for that matter.
And whether you meant it or not, I resent the implication that everybody should be able to work for big companies that can afford the big benefits-as Christina said, they are cutting them too - and those that don't aren't "do-er's". So if you can't work for Micron or Microsoft, you're now a lazy, sit on the couch all day potato. Great.
McCain wants people to buy their own private insurance, giving them a subsidy that won't even cover half of the average premiums. Even worse, he proposes to tax the health insurance benefits provided by employers, that are currently tax free. This would be a hefty tax increase on millions of working American's who get insurance from an employer. 160 million of us in fact. You know what some companies would have to do then? They'd have to cancel their policies.
No one finds that scary?

okbushmans said...

I wasn't saying EVERYONE who uses govt. aid is a lazy couch potato. I was making the point that it was a huge motivating factor with which job we would pursue. And no, not everyone can work for a Fortune 500 company with amazing benefits. But why should the government provide life-long health care for the percentage of those who stick with the status quo?

I feel that my major point has not been addressed. #1: Medicaid/Medicare is frustratingly inefficient. I lost coverage 3 times, because my case worker was changed and I was lost in the paperwork and not notified. And those medical bills that were incurred during that time, we had to foot the bill. And I know I'm not the only one who has experienced this. So I know what it's like to have medical debt, and then to be debt free. Why trust the govt with your health, when you don't trust them with most anything else?

Secondly, Christina: what a horrible story. It makes your heart break, especially when it is a child. And we have been EXTREMELY blessed and protected from major catastrophe's while being uninsured. We can all agree the insurance industry is not what it should be. I would suggest looking at non-profit organizations in the mean time. I have a niece with severe scolliosis, and Shriner's has been a gift from God. And how many have donated to Nie Nie, and other people who have been hit by tragedy. This is not a solution for everyone, but another option.

Lastly, my lovely Lula: I have to speak up for doctors, my dad is one. And no, I definitely did not have a large house on the hill. And my dad was actually one of those doctors who did work part time in a Shopko. And they did not get enough business to keep it open, so it closed. To me, that speaks volumes. The demand was not there (at least in his location). And he is an amazing doctor, and does it to help people. Why is it that doctors are painted as money grubbing, pocket stuffing, price-controlling profitiers? The majority of doctors I know are some of the most generous, out reaching people. So I guess we have both been slapped, and call it even!

Judy said...

Wow Lula.......Sounds like youv'e nailed a issue for major coment. I too worked in insurance sitituations. As you know it was in the dental field but I'm sure the sisituation is the same in medical. As a personal note, at one time the grandchildren that I live with were covered by 4 plans. Their mother-father-stepmother and step father all were insured for dental including ortho for $3000 each. Seems like $3000 X 4 = $12,000. But NOOOOOOOOOO. Who has the first birthday in the year? They become the Primary Insurer. That means if their insurance pays $2750 on the claim and the other plans would pay $2800, th next birthday persons plan would pick up $50.00, leaving the last two insured partys to pay nothing. So, if the bill is $6000 [doing the math here] that leaves a balance of $3000. Here's where I get beyond crazy. All 4 of the responsible partys pay their full premium. WHAT? That's right. Who pockets the amount that was not paid? UMMMMM let me see..Do you think it is the government? Do you think it is the Doc? Do you think it goes to charity? If you guessed that the Insurance Company pockets it, you get the GOLD STAR. Does this make any sesne at all? I fought with companys time and time again only to loose. If there was one big thing I could do before I die, it would be a way to shake this up and make it right. At the very least the entire bill should be paid and the additional amount go into a fund for the uninsured. Years ago I read that the National Debt was held by insurance companys. I know, I know, Just means Paper takes ink. But would you be at all surprised if it were true? Whatever happens my vote is to nail the insurance companys butts and make them pay up. Go MaCain---Go Oboma. Seems like this could not only look at health care but also the economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Any chance you really think either one really can do anything about it. My vote is NO! By the way I have cast my early vote. Bet you don't know who I voted for. GO SAZON!!!!!

Lula O said...

Judith, glad to have you back! You're right, dealing with insurance companies is also ranked high on my list on what get's my blood boiling. They make a pile of money on something beyond anyone's control. It's sick. And I wish now I'd have voted for Saxon too. Did you see my earlier post with his homemade sign in the window? You'd have been proud. Can he come live with you?

Lula O said...

Okbushman, I haven't discussed the government med programs because that's not the point I was making. Those are for people in financial straits and I think limits are a good idea on those too; universal, equal health care for all American citizens, regardless of their health or wealth is my point. In my eyes, my husband deserves coverage just as much as anybody else. I pay for it for crying out loud, in the form of the family premium I pay every month! But it wouldn't matter if he made a million dollars or ten dollars a year, he'd still be denied. All because his pancreas doesn't work.
I'm curious why almost every other well-developed country in the world takes care of their citizens health. We're getting our butts kicked by Canada and France! And it's true, if we ever do finally get some sort of univerisal coverage as a nation, we might lose some choice. But at the same time, if everyone gets a chance to have some sort of coverage, regardless of whether or not you'd had cancer or a heart transplant, then I'd be willing to take a cut. Democrat ladies, take it or leave it.

And on a side note, no offense to your father the doctor. My father's a lawyer and often gets lumped with the you know, lightbulb jokes. The article I got my information from on the clinics is in US News, Nov 3-10, page 65. It specifically mentioned how only 2 percent of 4th year medical students want to go into internal medicine, down from 9 percent in 1990. They want to specialize more now, and the only reason I can think of is they make more money. Internal medicine equates family medicine. Where are all the family doctors? My husband's endocrinologist, charges $400 a visit, just to talk to her. It's no wonder he never goes.

Bryce and Mandy said...

The thought of going w/o insurance terrifies me! Not for only the small things like a broken wrist (my friend’s would have cost her $25,000 if she didn’t have insurance) but for the scary things, like cancer, where if you weren’t previously covered you wouldn’t be able to get coverage. There is a 13-year old girl in my ward who has cancer and her mother said that just one of her medicines costs $2500. Luckily they have insurance and only have to pay $10. They have garage sales, fund raisers and I know they have sold cars all to help pay for her medical care and this is with insurance. Imagine it without.

This is what scares me about McCain’s plan. That my husband’s employer will stop carrying insurance and we will either be left w/o or have to pay out the wazuu for private insurance. I am worried that small businesses will not be able to afford coverage for employees and cancel them altogether. Like $5,000 will cover everything! The average cost for a typical family for private insurance is $12,000. McCain’s plan would raise taxes on workers who receive health benefits, with the idea of encouraging their employers to drop coverage. This makes no sense to me. A study conducted by the University of Michigan suggests that the McCain tax hike will lead employers to drop coverage for over 20 million Americans. Call me paranoid but I don’t want to be one of those people. And those already sick are completely out of luck, as individual insurers are free to deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Not to mention McCain does nothing to try to stop the rising health-care costs. He does not fund investments in learning, rewarding and preventing. This is crazy to me that anyone would want his plan.

Obama’s plan would give individuals and small firms the option of joining large insurance pools to lower costs. He plans on lowering premiums by $2500 for a typical family allowing millions previously priced out of the market to afford insurance (which could ideally help out with the Medicaid problem). In addition, tax credits for those still unable to afford private coverage, and the option to buy in to the federal government's benefits system, will ensure that all individuals have access to an affordable plan at a price they can afford. According to the Wall Street Journal’s research, annual business-sector costs will fall by about $140 billion under Obama’s plan, and suggest that decreasing employer costs by this amount will result in the expansion of employer-provided health insurance to 10 million previously uninsured people. Like I said earlier, maybe if people can actually afford insurance they won’t have to go to Medicaid/Medicare. I think everybody deserves affordable health insurance. Why do I deserve it anymore than anyone else just because I am lucky enough that my husband’s employer has a great plan?

We have been so lucky with my husband’s coverage at work (my baby would have cost over $13,000 due to complications) but like everyone else each year it costs more and there is less coverage. I can’t believe people think private insurance is the answer. It costs so much more (from personal experience) for so much less coverage.

And as for Medicaid and Medicare being corrupt, isn’t it the people who abuse it that are corrupt? I believe the program was set up with good intentions and it does work for some people, including some who have said so on this blog. They used it how it is supposed to be used and then got off of it and moved on. I do agree though that severe reform does need to happen to try and stop people from abusing the program. And yes, I am sure there is all sorts of red tape to go through but have you tried to deal with a private insurance company? I don’t know how many times I have received letters saying I don’t have coverage or they are denying coverage. It is a huge headache of phone calls that go no where.

Jen said...

I guess I'll chime in again....

1. Why would you want the govt to run a program that would cost 3x's more than a private insurance company? That just means they take more of our taxes to run it less efficiently. More money than necesasry out the window. I'd rather pay less out of my own pocket than increase my taxes to pay 3x's the amount.

2. I am up against a scary scenerio. I am pregnant and due in April. My husband works for my brother-in-law who currently provides fairly decent benefits. We still pay $6000 out of pocket each year, but that's a worse case scenerio. Well, because I have inside info, we are potentially going to lose our insurance because the current economy is killing the business (land development). This means that even if I went on Cobra for 6 months we would be paying an additional $1000 per month in coverage to the already $6000 annually, all on top of the potential of my husband losing his job. My first child was an emergency c-section and he almost didn't make it. If I encounter another c-section, that is going to wipe out our savings and potentially bankrupt us. So, I understand being faced with the potential of not having coverage. I also WILL NOT be able to get coverage on my own because pregnancy is considered a pre-exhisting condition. So, does that mean the govt should be responsible for taking care of me? Even under the circumstances, I say NO!

3. I am tired of making laws based on the exception and not the rule. I would much rather deal with the exception--catastrophic incidences--rather than the rule. The exception is what creates laws like abortion which is used more as a form of birth control rather than in the case of the life of the mother being in danger etc. These exceptions which then turn into helping EVERYONE who doesn't need it is what causes the majority of the problems.

3. It is the BIGGEST lie that doctors are fat cats sitting on a load of money. I watched a show that focused on the financial problems that doctors have because of all the regulations, law suits, etc. They have to purchase tons of insurance and malpractics coverage which costs an arm and a leg. Yes, there are a lot of fat cats out there, but there are sooooo many who can't afford to keep open practices and drive around beaters because of all the expenses they incur and because of their student loan payments. Besides, doctors are saving lives more than ever, technology is more advanced than ever. Shouldn't they be compensated for that? Give credit where credit is due! Christina, you want Ben to be compensated for all his hard work and his straight A's. How is he more entitled to that compensation than a doctor that is literally saving lives daily. They should receive the highest salary.

4. Insurance companies are the problem. They drive up the cost of coverage. Do you realize how many more people you are paying when you visit a doctor. You pay the doctor, their staff, all the administrative people that process the bills, then spend gobs of time trying to fight with the insurance companies to get their payment. We pay the people we fight with on the phone and all the sales and marketing people (do you really think that I deserved $80,000 per year as a marketing manager because I was good at explaining our coverage to old people--it was a nice life, but unnecessary) and the list goes on. Can you imagine how reasonable our bills would be if we didn't have to pay all the extra people....and to top it off, get more govt involved would be the worst! There are medical offices out there that are going straigt pay and do not accept insurance because they can actually charge significantly less because they need less administration simply because they don't need to fight with the insurance companies. Also, Lula, people without insurance will often times pay less at a doctors office if they ask for it, not more. These "negotiations" that the insurance companies make are just a big crock. They are only there so they can compete with other insurance companies. You just have to let the medical facility know that you are paying out of pocket and ask for a discount.

5. Hospitals are set up to help people with hardships. They have a huge number that they write off each year because of people in rough situations. It obviously doesn't help everyone, but there are so many resourses out there.

6. While there may be a handful of countries out there that properly administer socialized health care, our country has proven it is unable to figure it out. If we had proven that the current socialized medical programs that we have worked, medicare and the medicaid, the maybe I would have a little more faith that they could administer it to the rest of the country. Also, did you know that Hawaii implemented a socialized medical system and after just 6 months they shut down the program because it was bankrupting the state?

7. If I said it once, I said it a 1000 times. Govt programs are not the answer. In this situation, I think that getting rid of insurance companies all together would seriously drive down the cost of medical coverage.

Nuf topic :)

Lula O said...

Gun Control! You betcha! I've got a headache now and need to go take one of my - cost as much as Sarah Palin's wardrobe - expensive pain pills.

Bray said...

Lula, you say that we are getting our butts kicked by Canada and France. I have to chime in here. (see comment on our blog) I am from Canada and know the system well and you are being duped if you think that it is superior. My Father died cutting through red tape to finally get a doctor to diagnose him and get a desperately needed MRI and CAT scan that would finally diagnose his brain tumor. My mother had to wait over 3 months just to get a mamogram. The waiting lists are endless. When I was there for a family reunion a few years ago my daughter broke her wrist. When we went to the hospital the doctor pulled me aside and said. "I want you to know that I am US trained. There is a difference and I know that it would be important to me if I came to visit this country to have a doctor that was trained in the US." Who is telling you that Canada has it all figured out??? We need a fix badly here but I would never go back to that system.

Government does not have the answers.

Bray said...

Also, it is not the norm there to have a family doctor. You go to the clinic and get who you get, so often there is no continuity as far as diagnosis and follow through. So much is lost and there are so many problems. My father saw 10 doctors all with different ideas and no one had the connection to him as "their" patient to follow him to diagnosis and treatment. They weren't getting paid by us and we weren't making the choice so they had no reason to care.
NO to universal government run heath care!!

Lula O said...

What are your answers then Bray? How do we keep people from dying because they refuse or delay treatment because it's either that or feed the kids? Is it fair with our current system that those with money have an edge? Is it just the lot we draw in the game of life, when we unfortunately develop a pre-existing condition that we must pay the price, that some gigantic company can decide our fate, in some cases whether we live or die? Who gave them that power. Costs must be controlled. They aren't doing it themselves. I'm all ears for whatever suggestions you have that do not involve some sort of government regulation.

Lula O said...

Never mind. I'm too tired.

okbushmans said...

Lula, I'm glad you mentioned Internal Medicine, because oddly enough that is my dad's field. And talking with several friends who are currently in medical school, they contended their reason for not specializing in Internal Medicine is because it is too difficult. A field for geniuses, a dying breed. You have to know everything about everything inside your body. And I have to brag a bit, my dad is the BEST diagnostic and does extremely well at what he does. He had his own practice years ago, but was losing money because he could not collect bills. He was a softie. From what I know, he was losing money and eventually had to find work else where (BYU). I hate to say it, health care costs money. Doctors are paid for the years upon YEARS they studied to know how to save your life, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars their education cost. And we are in a point where humanity hasn't been before, we have extended the life expectancy decades beyond what it was when doctors were making house calls. Medicine has evolved and I am not entirely closed off to health insurance evolving. However, I am not convinced it is the govt's role. Especially seeing how other countries have tried. And ironically enough, private-self-pay practices have sprung up throughout Canada, because people would rather pay than wait for the govt health care to take an eternity to fix it. Thank you Bray for giving us an insight into our possible future.

Bray said...

Lula, happy election day.

Ok I wrote a big long post about the system and a fix and when I pushed post it came up as an error and was lost. I don't have the energy to write it all again. Maybe another day. I think we are all a little done with this subject anyway. I'm sure it was a good thing it all got erased. ha ha

The Bradfords said...

I know, I'm way down on the comment list, and I'll only say these things to get them off my chest. #1--Doctors deserve to be paid a lot. That's a hard and demanding job. It requires a lot of time away from family and they have to do some pretty hard things physically and emotionally. I think nurses and doctors deserve every penny they make, I only wish our society valued teachers as much, and professional athletes less. As to other healthcare costs, I've never been able to understand why I was charged $5.00 for one ibuprofen when I was in the hospital. That's the kind of stuff that makes you start to wonder. #2--To think that our country can implement a healthcare plan like France or Canada is naive. Our population is too big to make a fair comparison. It would be a disaster of epoch proportions, not to mention the fact that our government would take forever to implement it. If there is red tape in Canada, I shudder to think about what it would be like here.

Lula O said...

And in the meantime more people die unecessarily. I'm having a hard time stomaching that more 4th year medical students are not choosing family practice because it's "harder". So choosing longer schooling and training, a longer residency is easier. Huh. Read the stuff that's been printed. A big piece of the puzzle is money. And about the beater cars that doctors drive. You haven't been to the clinic's at my hospital then. The staff parking lot is lined with bmw's and hummers. Yah, they got it pretty rough.

okbushmans said...

Family Doctors or General Practice are considered 'gateway' doctors. With a lot of insurance companies, they are a mere stepping stone you must go through to get to the specialists. Which, in most cases, is where you need to be. Who wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education to be a gateway doctor, a momentary stopping ground to a final destination? I wouldn't. I would also argue that family practitioners and gen. practice doctors are not in as high demand as before.
Also, I would be interested to know how many of those doctors who drive hummers/bmw's in your clinic also donate their services, time or money? I would venture a guess that they probably donate more money, since that is what it is all about, than the Dem. Pres. candidate. Sure, there are greedy doctors. Just like there are greedy lawyers, and politicians, and CEO's, and heaven help us, pastors! But to characterize a profession who's purpose is to enhance the quality of life as money-changers is obsene.

Lula O said...

Okay, okay, uncle uncle uncle. You need to quit taking it so personal. Start by quiting the patriot books and reading some with more sex in them. Unless of course, they're sexy patriots. :) You have to understand where I'm coming from, having a uninsurable husband with an extreme illness, and having for over two decades deal with some doctors that are jerks and some that work with us. I just wish that something could be done to help these people. But if wishes were fishes....

okbushmans said...

It appears that this is an obviously personal issue (24 comments! record high!) And not just to me. And I agree something definitely needs to be done for people like your husband. And of course you have a valid and frustrating point. We have been extremely blessed thus far with good health. I have seen the ravages of medical debt on my grandparents, who worked extremely hard and created great abundance. Now because of little health coverage and cancer, they are selling off their belongings to make ends meet. It is horrible. We can agree that there is a major problem, just disagree on soloutions. Hopefully a middle ground will be found in the future. And I'm not personally upset, just can't stomach scathing generalities thrown around.