Friday, November 6, 2009

Let Me Get This Straight

We’re going to pass a health care plan
written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it,
passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it
but exempts themselves from it,
signed by a president that also hasn’t read it,
and who smokes,
with funding administered by a treasury chief
who didn’t pay his taxes,
overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,
and financed by a country that’s broke.

What possibly could go wrong?

Mind you, I'm strongly in favor of health care reform (but not of socialized medicine). The catch is, for it to work, for it even to BE reform, somebody's price-gouging is going to have to stop, and that ain't gonna happen.

P.S.  Not reading a bill is standard procedure in both the House and the Senate; it's not just this bill.  A senator or congressman routinely has no time for such details; his or her staff handles that and then briefs the boss.

h/t: Frances, my next-door neighbor


James the Thickheaded said...

Well put. My premiums are approaching the level of college tuition. Jacked 20% this year. We thought there'd be a new option in town by now... so guess we were fooled. Problem today is insurance companies charge through the roof and deliver few benefits... routinely denying first access. Second call, "Oh, sure. We were just checking to see if you were serious." Really? I went to the doc on a lark? The system is set to go from broken to just plain broke.

Anonymous said...

As an American currently living in Canada under socialized medicine...I must say I've been surprised by the system here. Pleasently surprised. I must admit to not having any serious medical problems at this time...but I did go to see my physican for a routine physical and for a few minor complaints that my doctor in the US just said was due to my weight. My Canadian doctor took my concerns much more seriously, ordered several tests and found an answer that solved my problem. I paid...nothing. At least not at the doctor and clinic offices. I'm well aware that the taxes here are bit higher (5% for the federal system and 5% for the province on almost all products--tobacco and alcohol are even higher than that) But then my home state of MN had sales taxes of 6-7% depending on where in the state you lived. So 3 cents on the dollar more, isn't that big a deal. I really don't notice it much. I know I'm going to hear all about the evils of socialized medicine feel free to bash at will. :)


Dixie said...

Well, I think health care, like food and shelter should be the available to all humans. How we make that happen I will leave to those who have the skills to manage such things but I have to agree with JTH...the cost is crazy and that has to be fixed.

Frankly, I blame some of the problem on our litigious society. If we stopped suing doctors for every bad outcome apart from genuine gross negligence...maybe their liability premiums wouldn't be crazy, too, and maybe they could lower their costs. It isn't just the insurance companies' fault or the health care industry...society carries some blame as well.

signed by a president that also hasn’t read it, and who smokes,

overseen by a surgeon general who is obese,

Do we really want to go there? You know...casting the first stone and all. Yes...some people make bad decisions, are afflicted by addictions and don't exercise 4 times a week. Some even suffer with unfortunate genetic propensities. Does this mean they are unworthy?

Chris Jones said...

health care, like food and shelter, should be available to all humans.

Well, sure, it should be "available," and it is available -- for a price, just like food and shelter. For most of us, food and shelter are things we have to provide for ourselves. We don't look to the government or somebody else to pay for it. We understand that paying for those things is simply a part of what it means to support oneself.

Of course, there are those who are, for various reasons, unable to support themselves. As a society, through our government, we provide for those people. We help them pay for food and shelter for themselves (or in some cases pay for it entirely). But that does not change the fact that, in general, we are (and should be) responsible for supporting ourselves.

Health care is no different from food and shelter: it is a necessity of life which we are responsible for providing for ourselves, just as part of supporting ourselves. We shouldn't be looking to others to provide it for us. Except that the society should provide for those who are unable to provide for themselves, just as we do for food and shelter.

But we already have that: most people buy their own health insurance (either directly or through their employers), and the government provides for those who are unable to provide for themselves through Medicare and Medicaid. Maybe the system needs to tweaked a bit -- maybe the government "safety net" doesn't cover as many people as it should -- but it is certainly not true to suggest that health care is not "available."

Dixie said...

but it is certainly not true to suggest that health care is not "available."

I am sorry if it was misunderstood...I didn't mean to suggest health was not least here in the US. Although some in the US do fall through the cracks and can't get proper care. What I did say is the cost was crazy.

I am not particularly in favor of gov't health works great for my family in Germany, but my friend in Canada hasn't had the same positive experiences as Andrea. And I don't have any particular confidence that the US gov't could bring quality, efficiencies and cost reductions to the process.

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Hi, Dixie,

I thought about that, but I decided to leave it in, not to be judgmental (I'm overweight, too!), but for the irony, because both smoking and obesity are so UNhealthy.

Yup, cutting out the frivolous lawsuits would help a lot. Not enough. We also need to make sure insurance companies don't just drop people (as my sister's dropper her during the last 3 months of her life) and that they don't deny you coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

James, I pay so much for certain medications that I wonder there's anything left for my insurance to pay.

We also noticed that when my husband went on Medicare, our out-of-pocket expenses actually went UP! But you aren't allowed to turn down Medicare; it isn't optional. That's crazy.

Andrea, I'm so glad you are pleased with what you are finding up there. I hope your experience continues to be positive.

General note to everybody: Japan covers virtually ALL her citizens, at a small fraction of the cost America spends on health care. The catch is, insurance companies, drug companies, doctors and especially hospitals don't make as much profit. They don't charge $500 for an aspirin.

My husband once interviewed for a job at a small psyuchiatric practice that had, next to its offices, a small mental hospital. The partners owned it, that is. Meaning they all had incentive to hospitalize as many patients as possible. My husband, deciding not to accept a job there, told me, "My job is to keep as many people as possible OUT of a mental hospital!" That's just an example of what's wrong here. Another is when a colleague urged him to take a job at his practice, saying, "You can see on average, 40 patients in the morning, and 40 more in the afternoon." !!

Dixie said...

Ya, I figured that's why you left it in. But I do worry individual premiums will start to come on the basis of individual health status indicators which are not fully understood--we are already seeing some of that at my work.

The doctor told us when our children were little that they were at risk for alcoholism because their grandfather on dad's side and some relatives on mom's side were alcoholics. Will they have to pay more even though they don't drink?

Some people are fatter than others but so were their fathers and grandmothers and great grandfathers before them and they all lived into the 80's. There is clearly a genetic link. Do they have to pay more because they came from the wrong family tree?

It's not that I am against higher premiums for riskier behaviors like smoking, I am not. But I am against higher premiums for those who have health issues beyond their behaviors and control. Especially where science doesn't fully understand. And I think diet is one of those areas. Why can a person lose weight on a certain number of calories a day if he lowers the carb content but if the carb content is high with the same amount of weight loss? It isn't just about calories.

And think of all the misinformation on nutrition. Eggs are, wait eggs are good. Soy is wait, soy is bad. Anyway...this was not the point of your post.

As far as cost control is is definitely needed and I don't see how our government can solve the problem without lowering the quality of care unless our VA hospitals are the ideal and I am unaware.

I had to stay in the hospital overnight for observation in France about 10 years ago...had an inner ear thing. The whole thing...ambulance ride, medication and hospital stay was just over $500. Maybe what would work is taunting our government with "The French can do it, why can't you!" Perhaps a little healthy competition is in order! :)