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From what I can tell, there’s a lot of name calling, shouting, and general finger pointing taking place over US healthcare reform, and very little grown-up discussion going on. 

 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d like to talk about this without having to listen to people ranting, so for the next few Thursdays, I’ve decided to open up my blog for those who want to have an actual back and forth about US healthcare in general, as well as the pros and cons of the proposed bill and what changes you would like to see our glorious leaders make to the current system.

 

If you’d like to join in, please follow these simple rules:

 

No swearing. Sorry, but if you can’t make a point without cussing, this is not the place for you.

 

No name calling, finger pointing, or general venting about things as they are now, as they were before the Democrats/Republicans (delete as appropriate) did so and so, or as they would be if only the Democrats/Republicans (delete as appropriate) would do so and so. Again, if that’s all you have to contribute, please do it elsewhere.


Only cite something that's in the current healthcare bill if you can provide a link to the relevant page number/wording in the actual 1,000+ page proposal. 
 

Before we start, in the interest of disclosure, my politics are a little to the right of center. To some people that would put me on a par with Genghis Khan, but that’s only because A: you never knew my old gran, and B: you don’t know much about Genghis Khan. 

 

I believe the State should care for those who can’t care for themselves.  I also believe it should look out for those who need help getting back on their feet, but not those who see living off the state as a career. 

 

After five years in the US, I can see the healthcare system here is far from perfect, but I lived over forty years in the UK, and though you may not want to hear it, I can tell you the system is far from perfect there.

 

Let’s talk healthcare.

 

If it helps get the ball rolling, here are my thoughts:

 

1.  I would allow insurance companies to compete in other states, just as the motor insurance industry does.  The increased competition would (one would hope) drive insurance costs downwards.

 

2.  I would impose harsh penalties on hospitals, doctors and patients who attempt to defraud the Medicare system (as I understand it, Medicare currently loses hundreds of millions of dollars per year to this).   

 

3.  I would set up a government funded organization to oversee insurance companies and make sure they don’t unfairly back out of contracts. This same organization would pay for/eventually take over medical bills resulting from unexpected injury eg; car crash victims where there is no clear liability.

 

4.  I would impose harsh fines on the ambulancechasers.com companies, when they bring frivolous lawsuits.

No doubt, I’ve missed a lot.
 

Bearing in mind the rules listed above. 

 

If you had the power to do so, what would you change about the current healthcare system in the USA and why?





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Comments

wordsrmylife
Aug. 13th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you,thank you, thank you for starting this discussion. I've been thinking about the topic myself, in part because HH is a registered nurse and works in a large medical research hospital. I think you've got a good start on a list. To that I would add something I say about every government program:

1. If the government says it will pay for X percentage of health care costs, that is, in fact, what it should pay for. As it currently stands, what Medicare covers does not necessarily match the cost, leaving a balance that has to be picked up by someone else, usually those with private insurance.

2. We need to take a long hard look at "machines that go bing" (yes, I'm thinking of Monty Python's "Meaning of Life"). If they are not more effective than the current technology, hospitals and doctors offices should not purchase them. When a doctor recommends a certain test, patients can ask about the cost and they can ask if there is another technology that would cost less and achieve comparable results. I know this can be done because I have done it with my cardiologist.

3. Pharmeceutical companies that accept federal funds for research should have to reduce their prices to reflect the support we have already given them through our taxes, even if it means lower shareholder dividends.

By the way, living in Vermont, my husband has seen his share of patients who come from Canada in order to get treatment sooner than they would. Clearly, there is no perfect health care system.

Oh, and

4. An emphasis on preventive health for all ages.

5. Universal Catastrophic coverage. Even if you've lived a healthy life, a tumor can happen, or a car accident, and that sort of major calamity is beyond anyone's control. People shouldn't have to worry about how they're going to pay for treatments while they're worrying about getting well.

Edited at 2009-08-13 08:03 pm (UTC)
jongibbs
Aug. 13th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
By number 1, do you mean that the amount is the public thimks is covered is 'spun' to make it seem larger than it actually is?

I'm with you 100% on 2 and 4, 300% on 3 and 5.

I wonder if a single-payer, government run insurance which just covered number 5 might be in an eventual compromise. It would certainly get my (metaphorical) vote.

Thanks for your input :)

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