Oct 11 2007

Best Fix To US Health Care Out There

Published by at 7:56 am under All General Discussions

As usual we have lost sight of an important national issue because some reactionaries thought they had some rich family pretending to be a struggling family in order to get health care for their seriously injured children (brain injuries ARE serious – make no mistake about it). So now the story is about the gaffe made by the right and how they are too stubborn to admit they screwed up. And the left and the liberal media are having a field day tearing down all the respectability and credibility the conservatives leadership of Reagan and both Bush Presidencies had built up over two decades of conservative progress. The reactionaries continue to be the story because they continue to let ego (i.e., they could not POSSIBLY have been wrong) trump progress. I like Harold Hutchison’s take on this mess this morning. Basically he notes we wouldn’t allow these thoughtless tactics in managing little league team, why would we allow them in a major political party? Well, enough about the major screw up on S-CHIP, the problem is health care and its spiraling costs, making it harder and harder for smaller or marginal businesses to afford it.

We have a problem in access to good health care. Stop pretending otherwise. And socialized medicine is not the answer, it would just be the final destruction of our health care system. Stop pretending otherwise. When Canada sends its premature mothers-to-be to the US because their water has broken and Canada can’t find a damn bed and a natal team to provide the needed care for the mother and soon-to-be-child, we can see that socialized medicine is a big fat lie.

“I’m a born-bred Canadian, as well as my daughter and son, and I’m ashamed,” Jill Irvine told FOX News. Irvine’s daughter, Carri Ash, is one of at least 40 mothers or their babies who’ve been airlifted from British Columbia to the U.S. this year because Canadian hospitals didn’t have room for the preemies in their neonatal units.

I saw this story on Fox News and was simply floored. Our twins were 2 months premature. Our problem was due to a problem with the growth of one of them. After 19 weeks she started to fall off the growth curves. We of course would not even have been aware of the problem if we were not getting good health care and regular sonograms. By week 25 she was really slowing down as her twin stayed right on the curve. They are identical so no one could figure out what was wrong. At this stage our top notch doctor put LJStrata on steroids to accelerate lung formation. By week 32 her growth had ceased and she was in cardiac distress.

The end of this is quite successful, though we dodged some major bullets. One twin was born at 3 pounds, 13 ounces. The one on distress came out at 1 pound 7 ounces. At the time she was the smallest baby delivered at a major regional hospital in the DC area. They “older” one (they take the healthy one out first) spent 3 weeks in NICU, the other one 9 weeks. They came home with apnea monitors tied to them for the first few weeks. The price of all this was over $120K.

Now if anyone thinks I am confident in a medical system which has to deport its most challenging births to another country when I know first hand the struggles of a challenging birth they are crazy. Getting by these challenges with the best of care is hard enough. The pressures and fears are smothering. So I never could support anything that would cripple what we have in this nation right now. The answer is not more S-CHIP, it is more Bush. Something the GOP Congress could have addressed in the 6 years it was in control under President Bush and did nothing about.

The general outlines of the Bush Health Care Plan Here is a good analysis of the proposal by the National Restaurant Association:

AHPs offer a number of advantages, including:

Marketing Efficiencies. Relieving every auto dealer or print shop from having to seek out its own coverage, AHPs would enable associations to comparison shop on behalf of hundreds or thousands of member companies.

Increased Choice for Employees. Representing perhaps thousands of companies with tens of thousands of workers, associations could offer an array of benefit plans and allow employees to choose the plan that best met their needs.

Reduced Administrative Costs. By self-funding their benefit programs, an association could gain many of the administrative savings large employers enjoy. In the small group and individual insurance market, one-fourth to one-third of every premium dollar is spent on administrative costs, including premium taxes, commissions, compliance costs, etc. Large, self-funded employers are exempt from many of these costs and can reduce them to as little as 10 or even 5 percent.

Consistent Regulations. Rather than having to comply with the disparate regulations of 50 states, the association would have to comply only with federal regulations identical for all of their member companies. The difficulty of keeping up with changing state requirements has forced many established associations to stop offering coverage in recent years.

Fewer Mandated Benefits. Mandated benefits for such services as social worker visits and in vitro fertilization represent a particularly burdensome form of state regulation. The states have passed more than 1,500 mandated benefit laws. While employers are not required to provide employee health insurance, if they provide any coverage they must also cover their state’s politically inspired mandates.

Somehow Congress has never been able to pass this one common-sense law that would reduce cost and increase access to millions of people. I know a lot of companies in my position which would be able to add health care as a permanent benefit if these AHP existed.

We don’t need to go after the Frost family and demand we all make the same decisions (welcome to government controlled health care) and we don’t need to pretend Canada’s and the UK’s busted health care systems are on a par with our own. We need to fix some problems and we will not be able to do so as long as each side is screaming inanities at each other. We need mature debate, not reckless accusations and attacks. Dig in the heels and scream at each other we will be left with another big goose egg like we did on immigration. All we get is more of the same problems with a lot more vitriol in the air. That is not progress.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Best Fix To US Health Care Out There”

  1. crosspatch says:

    Japan is also having serious trouble with their government health care too.

    The BEST thing we can do to bring down costs is to limit awards from lawsuits. That will result in less expensive malpractice insurance and fewer unneeded tests being performed. If a doctor is guilty of malpractice, they should never practice medicine again but people shouldn’t ever “hit the lottery” from medical malpractice. Sure, they should be compensated but some of the awards are just plain silly.

  2. stevevvs says:

    Also From Boortz:

    The future of our healthcare system in this country can currently be examined in Australia. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons is accusing the Australia’s national health service of using “maintenance” as an excuse to not schedule patients for surgery.

    They says that “maintenance” (in non-government speak) means cutting costs by reducing allotted operating time and reducing the number of intensive care beds needed for elective surgery.

    Surgeons are leaving the government system left and right (good for them!) because they are so fed up with government budget constraints.

    ARE YOU LISTENING PEOPLE? Here is another case where health care is being rationed because it has been nationalized! What in the wide, wide world of sports makes you think that this isn’t going to happen here?

    At the Westmead Hospital, surgeons were told by the administration not to book any patients … despite an extensive waiting list for elective surgery. And every week surgeons are told to cut the number of patients on their list and are finished by 10am. The surgeons say that they are still “working,” and still being paid but sitting around doing nothing.

    Almost every week surgery teams got phone calls from government administrators telling them to only book two patients on surgery day. They were told to do this because it “relieves pressure on bed availability” and “keeps cancellation figures down.” Huh. So the government is so concerned about its cancellation figures, that they are actually booking less people to have less chance of cancellation. That makes perfect sense.

    The college spokeswoman says that this budget-cutting “exercise” was happening because operating rooms are expensive to run. There is not a problem with “maintenance.”

    The spokeswoman recounts the following:

    “We’re hearing more and more cases of where hospitals don’t have the right surgery teams, they don’t have the expert staff to do the operating, sometimes they don’t have the correct equipment to do the operation …Some [patients] are even being wheeled down to the operating room and then told to go home. We hear stories like this all the time.”

    I still believe that socialized medicine, nationalized medicine, single-payer health care, … whatever label you want to apply … is inevitable in this country. We have managed to produce a population that overwhelmingly believes that they are not responsible for their own health care.

    This isn’t going to be fun, folks. Try to stay healthy.

  3. Terrye says:

    I have wondered why there is not a way to create pools for people to join in order to get a sort of group policy. Also for younger people there is the option of going with a high deductible policy, that creates lower premiums and the coverage will be there for something big.

    And the liability crosspatch mentions really does add to costs.

  4. crosspatch says:

    The method that Mitt Romney got through in Mass. would work well too. You simply REQUIRE all employers to offer medical insurance with no exceptions. What happened was that the insurers got together and allowed smaller employers to pool their employees to create groups in order to gain an economy of scale.

  5. crosspatch says:

    This is a good article about Japan’s health care problems. Johns Hopkins has opened a commercial clinic there because the government care is so bad.