About this page: The opinions here are my own, in regards to healthcare reform and a possible universal healthcare plan, public plan, or public option, and yours may vary, but, I try to keep to the facts as much as I can.
This Web page was created prior to 2010, during the time that those in Washington were debating health care reform. It's likely that by the time you read it, many things were already ignored by those in power, and will continue to be, despite the deaths they caused and will cause.
Table of Contents:
What this page is about
What's needed in American healthcare reform and healthcare reform in U.S. history
Employer paid healthcare and why it's not a good idea
HMOs and private health insurance
Doctors shortage and nurses shortage and solutions
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What this page is about:
My motivation for creating this Web page about healthcare reform is essentially the same as it is for the majority of the other Web pages on this site, which is to help and inform people. But, this time, I have a personal interest in the subject . . . I am hoping that we can quickly get a good healthcare system set up as soon as possible, that will actually benefit the people instead of big business in the form of insurance companies and the like, because I'm fairly certain that there's a lot of people out there who don't want to have medical bills that they cannot get paid off in their lifetimes.
However . . . considering the fact that almost every politician must obey his masters, big business, in the
corporatocracywhich is America, there's little chance of that happening. Also, you shouldn't expect this to happen as quickly as they push through their raises, the Patriot Act, or voting to help out Wall Street fatcats who gambled away money, then want the taxpayers to give them more. If it's something that the people need (that they're supposed to be serving), and not themselves, or their rich friends, expect them to take their sweet time with it and fight against doing what's right every step of the way.
Don't you wish we had a government that served the people instead of overly powerful corporations?
As many know, the country with the worst healthcare system in all of the developed countries seems to be the United States. While some politicians claim that there's a safety net for the very poor, such as Medicaid, getting government employees to do their jobs seems to be almost impossible, and many have to wait years to see a doctor, because they cannot afford to see a doctor and pay for it themselves. This isn't just talk. I'm having this same problem, myself. Please check out the Florida Department of Children and Families: Incompetent or intentionally sadistic page to see my experiences with one of the government's agencies, which takes years to change a single database field.
Currently, convicted rapists, murderers, serial killers, child molesters, drug dealers, and thieves get better health care in prison than a law-abiding, disabled American veteran who is also an ordained minister (whose yearly income is less than the federal poverty level). How long before the rest of us start doing what James Richard Verone did, and rob a bank to get medical care? Is a life of crime our only real option? Trying to do the right thing and ask government agencies for help obviously doesn't do any good . . .
In the year 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the United States health care system 37th in overall performance and ranked it 72 by overall level of health.
The price of a pathetically inferior health care system is constantly sick and, in time, dead citizens whose lives could have been saved for very little money.
Reuters reported back in June, 2010, that Americans spend two times as much for healthcare as do people living in other developed countries, but, the American healthcare system is lower quality, less efficient, and is a less equitable system. The Commonwealth Fund report said that the United States ranked dead last when compared to Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Anyone else out there getting tired of America being a
What's needed in American healthcare reform:
An end to ethical erosion, where doctors, physician assistants, nurses, and other medical professionals lack empathy, morality, idealism, and see patients as little more than a disease rather than people, and treating them to be nothing more than a job. If they ever saw their patients as people in the first place . . .
Understanding that things such as poverty and other stresses can complicate medical care. There's some poor people who get Medicare and are told that it only pays for 80 percent of their medical costs (and only what they approve), while the poor patient has to cough up the other 20 percent, and, if simply paying rent and utility bills is a struggle every month, how are they expected to pay hundreds of dollars on top of that every month? They can apply for programs such as the Medically Needy program, but, getting told that you have to pay hundreds of dollars that you don't have in the first place before they'll help you with even a single penny isn't any real help! Many of us have medical bills piling up on us with no way to pay them.
An end to pre-existing conditions being grounds for no help at all for several months (and maybe not even after that, if it's not approved), because the patient could die before they get help, or the condition could become much worse and in such a situation, the cost of treating them would be far more expensive. And, yes, I've heard that there might someday be a law which will guarantee coverage of pre-existing conditions, but, knowing greedy corporations, I expect they'll at first raise their premiums even after the law forcing everyone to buy health care insurance which they claim will cut costs is passed, then, fight the law that says they have to sell insurance policies to those with pre-existing conditions and find loopholes in order to maximize their profits even if it means hundreds of millions of people die a lot earlier than they should have. If you think humans have any qualms at all about killing others to satisfy their greed, you've never read any history that wasn't sugar-coated or censored to make those who did it look good. Ask their victims. If you can find any that are still alive . . .
A public healthcare plan AKA public plan AKA public option, like many older and disabled American citizens have thru Medicare (but, something better, because Medicare won't even pay for a simple eye exam or a tooth extraction. And you wonder why some senior citizens are cranky? Well, duh? Eye exams and dental care are likely two of the main things senior citizens need) and the medical decisions are decided by the doctor and patient, not some greedy company making obscene amounts of profit by letting people die.
Or, better yet, universal healthcare, like almost all the industrialized countries in the world have but the United States!
If you think that healthcare reform is something new, you're mistaken. People have been trying to fix it for well over a century, now. One of the more note-worthy events happened in 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt started the Progressive Party, or Bull Moose Party, and they wanted to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics. Sound familiar to what's in the news, lately? ;-) Added to this are the facts that many politicians don't hide their involvement with corporations, and are frequently seen flying on corporate-owned jets landing at private airfields.
Obviously, getting rid of corruption failed because when the choice for politicians comes down to making themselves richer or doing the right thing for their citizens, greed always wins, and people who trust politicians die.
Despite all the rumors that Washington wants a Canadian-style system, it's just another lie. President Obama, in his first term in office, wanted a public plan as one of many options. None of the major health care bills under consideration during Obama's first term called for a full government takeover of healthcare, thus ensuring that the United States will keep its infamous rank of dead last in health care for years to come.
For those who call a universal healthcare program a step towards socialism, people should keep in mind that the exact same thing was said to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (AKA FDR) when he started the Social Security system (and the politicains promised that the Social Security Number (or SSN) would never be used a form of national ID. LOL), but, people realized that Social Security would be a good thing, since it would give them some protection when they retire, because very few people can save for retirement when they're trapped in the rat race treadmill, running, and running, and running, and never getting anywhere, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, hoping that someday, things will get better, but, never are. Of course, the Social Security system would have been in better shape if the government didn't 'borrow' from it and never paid it back plus the interest it would have earned . . . A universal healthcare program and a healthy Social Security program is even more important today, with the Great Repression going on, but, you cannot tell the politicians that, or their masters, big business.
If the United States models a universal healthcare system after the best examples that work great in other countries, it would quickly become the world's best healthcare system and would make everybody happy! Well, except for the greedy corporations who make obscene amounts of money at the cost of people's lives . . . Which, of course, is why there is very little chance of it happening in a corporatocracy like America.
Each time a healthcare reform is attempted, the greedy people who make billions out of denying people life-saving medicine and treatments (while charging them all they can get away with), start smear campaigns using whatever will inspire the most fear in people. In the old days, they claimed it was a step towards socialism, communism, fascism, et cetera. The latest fear tactics by those who oppose healthcare reform is the thought of death panels, where people would have the right of life or death over the sick. These scare tactics of course, are easily seen through by many people who are oft-times reminded of similar behavior by grade school bullies (and those adults who never matured beyond that) who call others names which they believed that other people thought about them, because the health insurance companies and HMOs are doing the exact same thing that they're trying to scare other people into believing will happen to them if they get a universal healthcare program, deciding who lives and who dies, by denying the sick what they need to get well, by claiming that they are experimental procedures despite the fact that doctors have been doing them for decades with great success.
Have things changed for the better after earlier attempts to get a public plan or public option or a national healthcare plan or universal healthcare have been sabotaged? No! In fact, things have gotten much worse for most people in America. They're getting sicker, they lose their jobs (and their health insurance), and can't afford to get the health care they need.
The World Health Organization rated France's healthcare system the world's best healthcare system in the world. Among the reasons why it's considered the best is because it only costs about half of what it costs per person in the United States, yet, it provides universal coverage, has no waiting lists for elective procedures and pre-authorizations aren't required, so there's no waiting around for insurance companies to approve something (if they even will, or instead, prefer to deny it to you so they can reap more profit from your un-ending pain). France also has three times as many doctors to patients as the United States does. French doctors are considered to be skillful, caring, and sensitive. Compare that to the last few doctors you saw in America, where you're seen by someone who looks rushed, gets flustered when you ask any questions, and you get the feeling you're on a conveyor belt of sorts, being processed as quickly as possible as if you're something to be looked at briefly, then sent on your way. If someone in France has an acute or chronic medical condition, whether it's cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, insulin-dependent diabetes, mental illness, et cetera, they're covered 100 percent and the patient pays nothing. Maternity stays for women in France in a hospital after childbirth are five days on average, compared to 48 hours that the health insurance companies tried to make even less, but were eventually forced to accept it after U.S. federal legislation back in 1998. In addition to this, French women who are working get months of paid leave, a child allowance, home visits from nurses, and have subsidized daycare for their children. France also has tuition free medical schools, lower payouts for malpractice cases (so doctors have much smaller malpractice insurance premiums), and they don't require a large number of employees to deal with the various health insurers. They have a common electronic billing system that's integrated with their identity cards. Patients also get to choose their doctors, and aren't told which ones they have to go to as in other universal healthcare systems around the world. In France, people visit doctors twice as often as people do in America, and they don't have to worry about deductibles, and their average out of pocket expenses for a year are less than $250. Also, every cancer patient is allowed to get any drug, no matter if it's an experimental drug still undergoing testing or very expensive. Compare that to the American health care system. LOL
Healthcare in America costs more than any other major country in the world, yet the American healthcare system is ranked only 37 by the World Health Organization. Obviously, we're not getting our money's worth!
According to a recent survey, the majority of the people want a public option, and the majority of physicians want a public option as well. Most physicians want a public healthcare plan because it's far easier to deal with only one agency than multiple healthcare insurers, and, they're already used to working with programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The AMA, which is opposing the public option, represents only about 1/3 of the physicians, and, in all likelihood, doesn't speak for every physician in the AMA. Are all the members of Congress and Senate truly serving the will of the people when they vote against the public option, when the majority of the people want and need it? Do their oaths and the Constitution of the United States mean anything to them at all, or do they only follow the orders given to them by the lobbyists and big business?
If they need more money to pay for such things, they can stop spending money for things like adding more sand to beaches. Seriously, which is more important, having universal healthcare or a public health plan that won't cost you a lot of money in premiums and won't drop you and will cover pre-existing condtions, or things like adding more sand to beaches? They can also stop bailing out failing banks and other companies over and over again. As if that needed to be said . . . Why do taxpayers have to give money to big business when their companies fail, while we're forced to do with less for ourselves, and our children, and can't even get affordable and reliable healthcare?
Only a few decades ago, things were a lot easier, and affordable. Doctors made housecalls and a visit to the hospital only cost you a few days' pay. If people couldn't afford the private and expensive hospitals, there were charity hospitals they could go to for free. You could also get health insurance for very little money and they had no problems with covering pre-existing medical conditions. Obviously, things have changed very fast and the change was very bad for everyone that needed medical help, while more people profited from the pain of others.
If the politicians screw us over and don't let us have universal healthcare . . .
Employer paid healthcare:
Employers shouldn't have to pay for employees' healthcare since it might cost jobs, and the employees shouldn't have to choose whether to stay with a job that isn't right for them just because they don't want to switch to a better job and get on another healthcare insurance plan with another employer and be told that they have pre-existing conditions and get told that they have to wait around 10 months or so before they're covered by the plan. But employees can maybe choose to buy into things like Medicare, or sign up for a private plan and both the public plans and private plans have to furnish details of what their plans cover and what they won't and how much they'll cost and the potential buyer has to sign something that says he received and read the details of both plans after he's done so to ensure that the employer isn't witholding that information from the employee which a private company might pay an employer to do and the employee gets to retain the information pamplets or whatever the information is written on to refer back to at a later date if need arises such as being told that the health plan doesn't cover something. For the employee, this might be a matter of life or death and they should be very sure about the facts! To ease the financial burden on the employee just starting a job and trying to catch up on things like rent and bills, they shouldn't be charged for their healthcare plan until possibly their third full check, or be given the choice to let their insurance go into effect sooner by paying now, or waiting until that third full check so they can afford it.
HMOs and private health insurance:
Do we really need to bring up things like $13 billion insurance company profits per year, the $119 million CEO bonuses, the endless denials (the true death panels!), and the soaring co-pays and premiums? They're in it to squeeze out as much money as possible from you and the less help you get the richer they get. I'm hoping there's a special place in Hell for people who deny those who need surgery or treatment and get rich off of it.
The scary thing is? The health insurance companies are claiming that a public plan or public option will ruin their business, and politicians will make it illegal for people to not have health insurance. Is there anybody left who still does not believe that politicians are more concerned with big business than the people of the United States of America, who they're supposed to be serving, instead of screwing over? LOL It should be very obvious to everyone, now!
If private companies can't stand competition (or claim they can't so that higher-ups in those companies don't have to settle for less money), then they should lose to a company that can offer services to those who need it at a price they can afford. Isn't business competition supposed to be a good thing so that companies can't have un-fair monopolies, even in a specific region in the USA? Besides, who can afford expensive co-payments and high insurance premiums when you're not working because you're sick? But, that might be one of the things those private healthcare companies are counting on . . . As for some politicians stating that in a decade, 50 percent of people could lose their insurance for a year, or a month . . . It really doesn't matter which one it is, and if the months are consecutive, because if you lose your insurance, then get it again, they'll probably not want to cover any pre-existing conditions for several months, if not almost a year (if they'll even do it then) after your insurance goes into effect. If you lost your insurance because you couldn't afford the premiums and the amount of money you had to pay on the medical bills as well as pay rent and utilities and keep yourself and your family fed, it's a bad thing, whether it's for a single month or a year.
Why should the citizens of the United States of America be forced to buy health insurance? This sounds like yet another intrusion of the government into people's private lives. And, something the health insurance companies probably thought of and are pressuring the politicians to do, because they'll love it that people are forced by law to buy their products . . . If we're forced to do that, and there is no public plan, what keeps the private insurance companies honest? Without any serious competition, what will keep their rates down? Are we seriously supposed to believe that the same politicians who are forcing us to buy the health insurance from these companies will keep them honest? LOL
If politicians try to go for non-profit cooperatives at the cost of destroying any government-run health insurance plan for the general public, most of the Democrats in the House of Representatives have already said that they won't vote for a bill without a public option. This will, in all likelihood, be used by their opponents, both the Republicans, other Democrats, Libertarians, Centrists, and others, to make them appear to not want to pass healthcare legislation which would help people, but, those who know the story will know better, thus showing the general public that their opponents are either liars who think that the majority of people are gullible enough to believe them or the politicians saying this stuff are complete idiots. Either way, it makes them look very, very bad!
Doctors shortage and nurses shortage:
Here, in the United States of America, there's a doctor shortage, as well as a shortage of nurses. So, many people would wonder how they would be able to avoid long waits for doctor visits and tests. There is a solution to that, as well.
First, there should be tuition free medical schools like there is in other countries, which would increase the number of medical professionals. There would be a lot of competition to get into them, and, with careful screening, those who would be accepted would be highly unlikely to want to drop out of school. To help pay for these, individuals and businesses (both start-ups and already established companies) could pay to use the equipment or for the time of the students, perhaps with some of the money going towards the school, and some to the students.
Second, the technology exists now, to monitor people's blood pressure, pulse, and other health indicators, as well as detect early onset of illness using nanotechnology. People can can wear scanning devices on their wrists to check their health and do periodic tests for indications that they might have such things as the flu or cancer before they grow worse so that they can be treated with less cost to the patient, the hospital, the doctor, and the health care plan. The devices could go through a closed testing period with a growing number of testers to be certain that the devices are accurate and won't give false positives and are stable as they would need to be very reliable since a person's life would depend upon them. If the person is in need of a hospital right away, they could choose to call an ambulance from the device, or it'll be automaticaly done for them if they're un-able to click on the "no" button, and the device could stay hooked up to allow it to gather more information and possibly send it to the paramedics and the hospital so they'd be aware of the person's condition, temperature, blood pressure, and so on, so the EMTs won't have to do frequent tests en route to the hospital and relay it via radio. If the person is not in need of a hospital, they could be given a list of doctors who specialize in the field, and could set up an appointment with some automated system which the doctor's office has that the device can connect to and the person could choose the best time and day for them. This will allow them to confirm this diagnosis and allow them to get more tests at the office (until the devices have been proven to be reliable and can perform many of the same tests that are done in the doctor's office and hospital) and start treatment or to find out if the personal medical scanner gave the wrong diagnosis. At the start, this might be seen to create a strain on an already strained health care system because of a shortage of trained medical professionals, but, the initial cost of the devices would be high when it first comes out much like the iphone and other things such as VCRs, PCs, and LCD TVs and few people would be able to afford them at first, and it would quite likely be a few years before the majority of the population could afford to buy one for themselves. As more people buy and use them, diseases are caught early on when they can easily be treated before a person requires surgery which would be very expensive for all concerned and use up more time of the patient and that of the health care professionals. Because they would not be needed for that as often, they'd be able to help more people and faster. The personal medical scanner devices could also be kept on to do diagnostic scans of a person 24 hours a day if desired. The information could be stored on the device and later sent as files to a doctor which would mean a patient wouldn't have to be kept for observation, thus freeing up more bed space in hospitals and freeing up the time of the health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, and technicians there. The data could also be used to help with the curing of diseases and possibly, to find a cancer cure. While some might not think that a cure for cancer is that important, they should keep in mind that there's a growing number of people with cancer, and 10 million people in the United States have cancer right now. That's about 1 out of 30 people. Considering the fact that it effects so many, isn't it important that we do what we can to prevent it, and, if at all possible, cure it? The technology already exists to create such personal medical scanner devices, so why not use it to save millions of lives?
If serious changes are not made and fast, things will continue as they are, with people constantly worrying about their health, living with the fear that something may be wrong with them and weighing it against the fear of finding out that they have something of which there is no cure, and other people who spend their lives living with minor symptoms which they ignore, thinking it's nothing important, only to find out later on that it was. Then, they're forced to try to get money for their medical expenses by cashing in on some of their life insurance, taking out a mortgage on their homes, asking relatives and friends for money and their body organs or turning to a life of crime to get the money they need, or to get free health care in prison.
However . . . because those with power see nothing wrong with letting people die in the name of keeping that power, and making even more money at the cost of millions of people's lives, and cannot put the lives and health of others ahead of their own greed, the following is what will happen. Please notice; I did not say this might happen, but that it will happen. You can bet your lives on it. Which, for most of the readers, will be a lot shorter than they should be . . .
If you're living in the United States of America, expect both the cost of health care and your health insurance premiums to increase in the years to come, despite what the health insurance companies and the politicians say about how the costs will decrease if laws are passed to force people to buy health insurance. Listen to me, not big business or politicians. They've already proven they cannot be trusted.
Millions of people will die in the United States of America, in the coming years, despite the fact that their lives could have been saved and their deaths prevented if only they had a better health care system. The politicians as well as the health care insurance companies will deny the blame for their deaths, and accuse everyone else but themselves for it.
Hospitals in America will get far more busier, as the population grows sicker and older. The decline in competent medical staff will make this situation worse, leading to still more deaths which could have been avoided. Expect more finger-pointing as they attempt so shirk the responsibility for their patients deaths, as even more people die in the hospital begging for help that they cannot get.
I know what's coming. You might laugh at my saying that, but many won't when they see the news on their screens later on. I've seen the bodies of the dead, and seen the bodies of the living shaking as they cover their faces with their hands and cry. Seen their looks of constant pain and utter hopelessness while they pray for a miracle. Seen mothers begging hospital staff for help for the babies they clutch in their arms, which the staff have already decided they cannot help, so they won't waste even a minute on either the frightened mother or her sick child.
There are worse things coming than that, soon, if things don't change. But, I have night terrors aplenty, I see no reason to give them to others. And, warning people about dangers do absolutely no good whatsoever, as I find out time and again . . .
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