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Two mentions of healthcare in the same week! 

It seems fitting with all the partisan nonsense and fear mongering emanating from Congress. I'm reminded of Will Rogers said 80 years ago, "We have the best Congress money can buy." Our government and our destiny, including our physical and collective health, is owned by the insurance and pharmaceutical lobby. 

Big conglomerates and people all over America, regardless of their education or income level, in large or small businesses and even government jobs, are finding that they cannot afford healthcare. We can no longer attribute this to some personal failing on their part.  It is distinctly a matter of decades of Congresses being asleep at the switch with regard to the immediate and forecasted needs of their constituents. And yet, ?the man or woman on the street? saw it coming but, apathetically, did not take action to cause the people who they elected to look out for them. We must take that voting power back.

We cannot continue to let people die in massive numbers because our elected leaders cannot come to a logical and fair consensus about a workable national healthcare policy. We are already paying for those of us who cannot pay. The hospitals that treat them pass the cost on to those who can pay in the form of higher charges and/or, if they are a for-profit institution, to the government by writing off losses against their income tax bill. So, if we are going to end up paying for it anyway, we might as well face the challenge head-on and get the best possible care; but first we must address the reasons that healthcare is so expensive.

A good place to start is to put to rest the myth that doctors and lawyers are the cause of skyrocketing healthcare expenses.  Bad doctors and frivolous lawsuits account for less than 2% of the total- cost problem facing us today. PriceWaterhouse Coopers estimates that the cost of litigation and malpractice adds about 1% to the cost of healthcare premiums; this makes up 7% ($5 Billion) of the overall increase in premium costs. The plain truth is that rising healthcare costs are due to four factors:

? Large hospital chains with huge appetites for revenue feel tremendous   pressure to inflate prices and, in too many instances, to defraud both government and private payment sources.  Numerous press reports, including a March 5, 2006 segment on CBS? 60-Minutes ?Hospitals: Is the Price   Right?? have described a widespread practice of hospitals charging uninsured patients ? the ones who can afford it the least ? three to five times, and as much as ten times, what they charge insured patients.

? Pharmaceutical companies, by and large, do not cure diseases; they treat   symptoms, thereby ensuring a reliable, virtually never-ending, source of   cash flow, which is needed to recoup the tremendous cost of gaining FDA   approval and spending billions of dollars on needless, often dangerously   misleading, advertisements on television and in print media.

 ? Government rules prevent employer groups from banding together for the purpose of obtaining volume discounts on healthcare insurance and medicine.

 ? Too many patients, including virtually all of the illegal alien class, who cannot or do not pay. 

 With regard to malpractice, no one has the right to legislate your right to redress for being deprived of life, liberty, and happiness. So-called ?tort reform? is just another example of Big Money and special interest lobbies ganging up on the individual citizen: in this case, denying his or her constitutional right to legal redress. Doctors and nurses do not need to practice defensive medicine, just conscientious medicine.

While malpractice may not cost us much in the total scheme of things, the damage to those who suffer from bad care can be heartbreaking. Tomorrow I will offer a partial solution to the malpractice challenge.

 In the meantime tell me what you would like to see from a national healthcare system. 

Posted by ..:: GregO ::.. at    03/04/2010   16:07:35
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