Thursday, July 23, 2009

Health Care Redux

I didn't watch the President's press conference. I was out with 11 other church members eating great ice cream and playing miniature golf (we had to switch the order due to rain at the beginning of the outing). Great time for all!

But, I'm sure there was enough there to get all the tongues wagging and the spin doctors working. I heard Bay Buchanan say that from an "objective" point of view he didn't accomplish his goal. I'm sorry, but I've never heard Bay offer any objective view before, and I expect that she didn't last night -- nor will I!

So, here's the deal. We can argue all we want about the details and the pace, but something must be done. We have the highest cost health system in the world, which works for some, but is increasingly not working for loads of Americans. Remember the car industry -- the one that got battered so badly? Well, part of the cost of American cars and trucks is health care, which in Europe and Japan is provided by the "government." I'm not an expert on all the ins and outs, so I might get a few facts wrong, but in a system where there are more specialists than family doctors, it's likely that many Americans will have a difficult time getting regular attention. We spend a large chunk of money on keeping people alive when death is imminent. We need to have a discussion about this. Doctors are afraid to "pull the plug." Families are afraid of losing loved ones. And the church, well, we're pretty silent on the moral and ethical components of end of life. And so, we prolong death, costing millions. We also do numerous unnecessary tests -- for any number of reasons. Our health system isn't yet in the electronic age, so that if you move across the country, your current doctor can't see, very easily, what the previous doctor did, so new tests are ordered.

What is the answer? How about doctors on salary, rather than commission? We were with Kaiser Permanente for quite some time -- doctors are on salary, and so they're less likely to suggest self-enriching procedures. There's no benefit for them! Instead, they do what is needed. There are any number of cost cutting opportunities, available to us. And, as I read this morning, the President made it clear that if we continue on the path set before us, with no reform, the costs will continue to rise, and it will bankrupt the country.

Is there hope for success? I think so. The President is working behind the scenes. Gail Collins noted a meeting with "Blue Dog" Democrats that worked out a deal for medicare cost containment. It was a "small victory," but a victory nonetheless. We saw as well the effort that he took to kill the F-22 purchases -- an out of date jet fighter with little or no use (didn't use it in either of the last 2 wars).

Again, why the hurry? Well, one of the reasons is that come 2010, the nation will be in election mode and nothing will get done. Republicans, led by Jim DeMint, have decided that they can use this issue to bring down the President. Thus, politics will reign supreme. With that mindset, it's unlikely that the majority of Republicans will cooperate on any bill.

So, I will continue to support the President!

3 comments:

Gary said...

I love it. The Democrats have large majorities in both the House and Senate, yet they still want to blame their incompetence on the Republicans. How typical.

Anonymous said...

With 14,000 Americans are losing their health insurance each day — reform can't wait. We need to call your bluff and get something rolling. These people usually get treated at much higher cost, and at our expense anyway. We could be next.

David Mc

David said...

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