Thursday, July 30, 2009

Health Care: Who needs it?

I received the following email from Rob-Bear and wanted to share with you. Thank you Rob-Bear for taking the time to share with us. Lakeviewer

Hi, Rosaria:

Lorna at *Southern California Woman* (conservative Republican that she is) has posted an item on health care reform:

You might want to take a look at that video, and my extensive response (which I'll also include below as well).

Feel free to share my ideas. (Yeah, I know; damn these medical ethicists and their inconvenient truths.)

Best wishes,

aka Rob-bear


Lorna, you've given people a very interesting video, which raises a number of key questions.

1. The video makes a mistake at the beginning by saying there are no simple answers to the question "Why health care reform?" Because it answers its own question, which seems peculiar. The answer: there are 46 million Americans without health insurance. And lots of them (and others) die, because they cannot afford health care. That's the answer, and it is SIMPLE.

It is important to remember that the inability to pay medical bills is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy (by a wide margin) in the United States. One major illness, and you lose everything -- everything you've worked for over your lifetime. That's why ordinary Canadians demanded, and got, universal, single-payer health care insurance.

Because without that kind of insurance, the costs of treatment are beyond what most people can afford. And health care insurance, at $1,000 a month, is beyond what many people can afford.

Cost also means that many people, because they cannot afford care, put off seeing doctors. Often they wait so long that, by time they get to seeing a doctor, a small cancer has become untreatable, and they die. The video recognizes that, and I have already noted that.

It is also important to remember that a lot of your health care premium money goes into corporate profits and lobbying (i.e., buying) politicians. That is money not spent on caring for people.

But as long as the "profit motive" rules health care in the US, there will be no change. If health care companies were to become "non-profit," that might change.

2. Indeed, the video is right when it says (basically) that when all of us pay into the system, that allows costs to be spread out. We figured that out in Canada about 60 years ago. That's why we have a single-payer system, to which everyone contributes.

3. Technology can make the system better. But technology is very expensive. And technology companies (including those who make drugs) basically "hold people hostage" with high costs until someone with a lot of money comes along. Like, say, government.

And while electronic medical records are effective, and provide cost savings, they are also vulnerable to unauthorized access ("hackers"). Do you want your health care history made public?

4. I was surprised by the statement that 70 per cent of diseases are preventable. I'm wondering about the use of the word "preventable."

One of the major problems North Americans are facing is the rise in childhood asthma, mostly among children growing up in smog-filled cities. Is that preventable. Yes, if you take all the cars of the streets. Will that fly? Like a lead balloon. Which raises the question about what is actually "preventable." But I agree with the theory.

In Canada, doctors are reimbursed by medicare for lifestyle-improving patient counseling. I don't know what happens in the US.

This is not an easy situation. There are powerful vested interests which believe that profits are more important than peoples' health.

I wish my American friends (all Americans, really) well in trying to sort out the mess.


Brian Miller said...

medicaid does pay for the counseling...thats what i long as certain requirements are met...

there is a great tension between people and matter how frustrating that argument is...

one good thing is that this has got a lot of people talking...thanks for continuing to put it on the forefront of our minds in your posts...

Maggie May said...

I think your reply is very good.
Good luck with it.

willow said...

Excellent reply by Rob-Bear.

pink dogwood said...

I like how Rob's response put it so simply and clearly.

karen said...

Very informative, and quite thought provoking...It is sad that so many people can't afford health care, in so many places..

Lori ann said...

thank you rob bear and rosaria. i feel its a case of your damned if you do and damned if you don't. premieums are so high and the deductibles higher if you are self-employed. we couldn't afford the monthly costs so went without.
now, we're watching horrified as hospital and doctor bills arrive one after the other. the truth is, whatever i have is not being diagnosed because we are trying to pay as we go and are terrified of going into debt. but its already happening. it's easy to see why the majority of uninsured do what they do, go untreated or declare bankruptcy. the hardest part for many is being in the grey area of making too much to qualify for assistance (and it's not by much believe me)but not being able to afford the monthly payment. i just feel everyone should be treated equal and if your sick, money should not be a reason for getting help.

Renee said...

Rob Bear way to go.

Thank you for this dialogue Rosaria I can only imagine how it must help all who come here.

We would be in the poor house if I lived in the States.

Love Renee xoxo

Fire Byrd said...

I don't really know what to say anymore. Except health care sucks when it isn't available or bankrupts.
But then you all already know that.
But just wanted you to know I'm still reading and being outraged even if I've nothing to say

kj said...

hello rosaria, thanks for checking out my blog. please feel free to move into blogland lane: you are totally welcome! i think we're going to have quite a bit of fun...


Pyzahn said...

Jon Stewart just did the best bit on The Daily Show about the healthcare proposal and the naysayer scare tactics. You can probably find it on the show's web site. Funny. You gotta laugh or it will drive you crazy.

Zip n Tizzy said...

Thanks for these posts.

My mom waited to be diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer as she didn't have coverage when she should have been checked.

She too has gone into debt to stay alive, which miraculously she is 5 years later, but hers is not a unique American story, and considering what we stand for, it's simply appaling that the uninsured are among the majority.

Dave King said...

I'm sort of out of this, but your reply makes more sense to me than the original.

Susan said...

HCR makes practical sense to me because I know so many, many people my age (58) who would retire if not for losing health insurance. I think it would free up a lot of jobs.

Anonymous said...

Rob-Bear gets my vote. I am writing about this very thing and will end up using some of it when I do with credit of course. I left my story and how it compared to England but will tell it again later.