1 year ago
Last edited at 3:42PM on 6/29/2012
Bottom line: Health insurance and pharmaceutical companies (and many doctors) in the U.S., because of greed, have ruined health care. And with the first two mentioned entities providing so much discretionary funding to Congressional members' 'programs', it is no wonder why a fair socialized medicine program faces such challenges. The U.K. has a fairly nice socialized medicine program where doctors get paid bonuses for the number of healthy patients they have. For example, if a doctor helps a patient quit smoking, the doctor receives a bonus payment. If a doctor helps a patient lose weight and maintain a healthy diet, then the doctor receives a bonus payment. It all makes sense- healthy patients dont put financial pressure on a socialized health care program and doctors get rewarded for improving the quality of life of their patients. A good first step would be for Congress to pass legistlation that would provide income tax offsets to companies who promote healthy lifestyles and provide corresponding implementation plans, i.e. avoiding fast food and avoiding pill popping for every minor ache and pain someone experiences.
It would be like it used to ... you get the care you can pay for. Of course, it would still be expensive - thanks to frivolous lawsuits. So a better solution would be to take lawyers out of the equation.
I think if we took insurance out of the equation, health care services will not be available to everybody. This will result to lack of better treatment and it will increase death rates. Insurance is helpful especially to citizens, who cannot pay their own bills.
Costs would fall into line with what consumers want to pay for a service. I already took insurance out of my equation as much is possible and use a Christian cost-sharing organization. It's affordable, personable (checks are written directly to individuals and cards and notes are encouraged!), and offers a great sense of community. For my last two medical emergencies, I took advantage of knowing how much Medicare pays for various procedures and by offering cash within 30 days was able to negotiate the hospitals down to 1/10 their initial offer ($80,000 to $8,000 for an emergency appendectomy). The organization also encourages "medical tourism", i.e. going to other countries (with fewer lawyers) for much cheaper treatment. Was just reading a textbook on worldviews that postulated how the American obsession with insuring everything is part of our materialist, individualist worldview and fear of losing the "things" we've acquired.
The world would be a better place without insurance agencies putting prices on people's lives and putting those deserving a pay-out through the ringer. For those of you who think people can't afford healthcare without insurance: please understand that insurance is expensive, and these people cannot afford it any more than they can afford paying a doctor out of pocket (which they have to do even with insurance- ever hear of a deductible?) Those who fall into the insurance doughnut hole toil all their lives just to pay for a basic policy, and rarely ever require the kind of medical attention that would make it necessary. It's an investment that's designed to consistently benefit one party: the insurers. They don't care about the customer's well-being, they would throw them under the bus if the policy allowed it and it made them another penny. You're not a person in the insurance world- you're a statistic, and nothing more.
At least if there was no middle man between doctors and patients, then the patients wouldn't have to fight an insurance company for their own money before having to pay the doctor an exorbitant fee.
Nothing would happen to healthcare except that you might be broke. Maybe fewer doctors would have a private practice and instead work in the emergency room, since that's where people would be going to be treated for what ails them.
The problem is no one cares how much it costs when someone else is paying for it. We need start pricing health care the way everything else is priced-what the market will bear and what people can afford and are willing to pay.
Routine care should be paid completely out of pocket. Insurance should only be for catastrophic occurrences. Such as when a person needs surgery. Or as a heart attack. If your kids need a physical for school, or if you need antibiotics for a step throat, or when you ladies go for your pap smears and mammograms, you should pay for it yourselves.
Removing these routine procedures, along with eliminating thousand of federal and state mandates that each insurance policy must cover, things that 99% will never need like In Vitro Fertilization, would greatly reduce insurance premiums.
There are a number of possibilities. Unfortunately the majority of those responding seem focused on the negative, or potentially negative impact of "frivolous lawsuits", which do happen; however, the cases of legitimate medical malpractice are on the increase thanks to more accurate reporting.
What all are neglecting is the fact that in this country, generally all aspects of medicine is a for profit business. With greater need and limited oversight or regulation, the costs will continue to increase whether the costs of treating the uninsured and those unable to pay are a factor or not.
As for getting the care you can afford goes; when it comes to an individual or their loved ones being denied lifesaving health care due to affordability I don't know of anyone that is willing to, or willing to let their loved one, perish simply because the treatment isn't affordable.
I don't know the answers but I do feel that we should examine other countries whose health care works and see what we may be able to utilize from them and adapt to our socioeconomic system in an effort to improve the situation across the board.
I am a medical social worker with patients who have insurance and patients who do not have insurance everyday. EMTALA requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of ability to pay. Participating hospitals may only transfer or discharge patients needing emergency treatment under their own informed consent, after stabilization, or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment. It is MY experience that patients who do not have insurance receive the exact same medical care as those patients who do have insurance. If you are a patient w/o insurance/underinsured you are more likely to receive assistance with medications, payment plans, and social service assistance than those with insurance. In my experience the issue is with the physicians.