Sunday, September 13, 2009

America's Health Care Ailments

Over the last few years I've grown to hate watching the news, pretty much since 9/11/2001. If it was just the run of the mill local news with the good and bad stuff, that's palatable. But even the local news is filled with the political, and the bizarre. I find news channels and local news to be ultra depressing. Where I work it's pretty much in my face all day long, and I can't turn the channel.

So I'm just a little bit tired of hearing about the economy, bad weather, the bizarre things people do, and most recently, health care reform. This has been going on since the 1992 Presidential campaign, albeit, it took a hiatus during the Bush Administration.

It's not just the news, it's a lively debate at the office too. I also caught a few minutes of a radio talk show this morning, the 4 women being interviewed about health care had very opposing views. Oh did I mention that I loathe TV talk shows, especially the shock-jocks like Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

So the latest super-buzz about health care is just the tip of a very large ice-berg. People want to something simple that's not going to empty their wallet. But I don't think that's possible in our society.

Problem #1. Health care is a business. The goal of every business is to make money, and more of it every day. They don't like taking loses and do not willfully allow themselves to get into libelous circumstances. If a person has an illness or injury, they are a liability, and the cost detracts from the bottom line.

Problem #2. Doctors no longer practice medicine with passion. The lawyers and the HMO's take most of the fun out of it. The landmines they have to traverse to stay in practice, let's just say this is not a time honored professional anymore. We have a similar issue in professional sports, no more love of the game.

Problem #3. While Webster has incorporated insurance to conform to modern society, insurance is really a bet that something won't happen. But if it does, there's compensation. This is STUPIDITY at it's best. Everyone, young and old needs medical attention at somepoint. So we lose that bet when we go for regular checkups and immunizations. So first we need to change our train of thought from "insurance" to "health care coverage".

Problem #4. If I'm paying for coverage, why do the provider have the right to tell me what they will cover? Think about that. Ever play the board game of Monopoly? The purpose of buying insurance was to be COVERED in case of you lost the bet. Covered, period. Not 50% covered; COVERED completely. I pay my premiums. The "insurance company" puts that in their escrow accounts, invest it, and I get health care for whatever I need. When health care became a business, that concept was quietly buried. Maybe they should give me the interest they are making on my premium money.

Then there's pre-existing conditions. I guess you're just a lost cause and the HMO's would rather you just die anyhow, then you are not their problem and they have your money in their bank account. Ahhh but hopefully you have LIFE insurance. Oh but it won't save your life, it only pays a surviving beneficiary. But don't commit suicide, or die not wearing a seatbelt, or die doing something risky. The LIFE insurance company may not pay either.

I hear people say they don't want to pay for everyone else's health care. I have news for them, we already do. Having spent my entire adult life in the military, socialized medicine is here to stay and has been around for a long time. It does work, if left alone by the HMO's who try to choke money out of it. The fact is, when you are young and healthy, it's easy to be complacent. But wait until you have to give birth, or contract a debilitating illness or get hurt really bad, and it changes your life (and your outlook).

One item in the debate is fining people who do not have coverage? Whose backward ass idea is that? If I can't afford to buy the coverage, slap me with a fine so I have something else I can't pay? Do these freaking morons understand that families are poor or dead broke as it is? We're in a major recession, many people would call it a depression. Just because it is barely noticeable in the immediate DC area, the person(s) making this suggestion need to spend some time in some the hard hit areas of the south, where whole towns have practically vanished, all small businesses have closed up, local governments have no money to "insure domestic Tranquility" and provide for the common defense. Only the upper middle class can see light at the end of the tunnel. The media needs to stop telling people the worst is over, cause it's not, not when you're poor and destitute. When you have nothing to eat, your electricity is cut off, your vehicle is repossessed, or your home is taken from you, the worst is not over, not by a long shot. That light at the end of the tunnel is an incoming train.

One final thought. Congress and the executive branch needs to pull their head out of the ass. They need to think like the poor people they were ELECTED to represent. Stop listening to the lobbyists. Get out to the nations hard hit areas and speak to real people that need health care.

John Crawford

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