| ||As I'm sure many of you know, there's a big push in Congress to get some sort of national health care program going in this country. I thought I would throw my thoughts on this issue out there.|
When I consider the ups and downs of universal health care, I consider my own, recent experience with the current American medical system. As I'm sure many of you know, back in November of '08, I was diagnosed with colitis. I first had issues in the beginning of the month. It was mostly severe stomach pain that would come and go. It would be so strong at times, I would have to stop whatever I was doing, and lay down somewhere until it stopped. As the disease got worse, I found mediocre tasks like pushing a shopping cart in the grocery store to be draining. Eventually it got to the point where all I could do with my day was lay on a couch and watch DVDs. Even that was a challenge to me as changing discs in the drive was so draining to me that it felt like I ran a mile every time I did it. In the first two weeks of it being really bad, I also lost 20 lbs. Being 5'9" and having weighed a little over 160 to begin with, I didn't really have 20 lbs to lose. I think the reason I didn't lose anymore is that there wasn't much more to lose. I ended up missing about 3 weeks of work until I was referred to a gastrointerologist who put me on medication that, generally, keeps all the symptoms under control. The only downside is there is currently no cure for colitis so I'll be taking that medication for a while.
Now when I was first prescribed this medication, I took the prescription to the drug store and was informed that it would cost me over $500 for a 30 day supply. Working as a substitute teacher, I don't exactly have $500 I can throw at drugs every month. Thankfully, I discovered a program with the drug manufacturer that allows me to get the drug for free.
In the end, between lost wages for not being able to go to work and doctor bills, I estimate that I lost over $3,000 in my whole ordeal. By the way, I do have insurance, it's just not designed for anything like this. But it's cheap and who in their mid 20's expects to come down with a disease like this?
The reason I tell this story is to put our current health care system into perspective for those who haven't had anything like this happen. Every story I read about what universal health care is like in countries that have it is disturbing. The biggest thing that bothers me is how long some people wait to see a specialist or to have to procedure. When I tore my ACL back in 2001, it was like a two week wait to see one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the area. Under some universal health care programs, people have to wait upwards of half a year.
Stop and think about that for a moment. Half a year. If you have some sort of medical condition that prevents you from working, not being able to work for half a year means you're losing out on HALF of your income. For me, that would mean the amount of money I lost over my ordeal would have been more than doubled. Plus, I would have had to live in misery for 6 times the amount of time I suffered. I would have spent 6 months in pain, laying on a couch, watching the same movies over and over (because I can't buy new ones, I'm not working!). Even if we cut the wait time in half, we're still talking about 3 times the wait for a solution compared to what I had with our current system. Also who knows what kinds of long term medical problems could have developed from being in that condition for that long of time?
So let's stop and think about this for a moment. Under a free and universal health care plan, I would have lost over twice the money and suffered for 6 times as long as I did under the current plan Oh, and I never figured in how much more I'd be paying in taxes to pay for this program. Someone please tell me how this program's going to help me. I seriously want to know how.
Here's the thing to consider: universal health care programs have been tried before. In fact, I recently was informed that the UK's universal health care program is the 3rd largest employer in the world! So this isn't a new trick that we're talking about doing here in America. And all around the world, all I hear about is crazy wait times for procedures and medicine. What makes us think we can do it and make it better?
Right now with our health care system, we still have some freedom of choice as based in our free market economy. If you don't like your health insurance provider, you're free to drop them and get a new one. If you don't like your doctor, you're free to go find a different one. If you don't like your hospital, you're free to consider a different one. What will happen under universal health care? Will we still have these choices? I'd like to answer that question, but as it seems no one's read the bill, we can't be certain. But let's, for a moment, consider the possibility that we don't have that choice. What will drive doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to do their best and keep up on advances in medical technology? They can't lose customers so they get paid the same. We've seen time and time again in history that when a laborer's job and pay are secure, they don't work as hard. They don't have the motivation. They have nothing to lose. That's not the kind of thinking I want from my doctors. And one thing's for sure, we'll only have one health care provider, the US Government. If you don't like their coverage, too bad, so sad. If you thought fighting your current health care provider was a challenge, just wait until you have to fight the government.
Then there's the one thing I consider every time a new government project or idea comes up: what would our founding fathers think? Now sometimes it's hard to tell. Take the recent switch to digital TV. They didn't have TV back then. But back in the 1700's people got sick and injured and they had doctors that took care of these people. So health care was something they knew about. Yet if you scan the Constitution, you won't see any mention of government involvement in health care. Art. I Sec. 8 outlines what the federal government can stick their noses into. This includes things such as developing post offices, building a navy, regulate interstate trade, etc. If the founding fathers intended for the federal government to provide for a national health care system, why didn't they list it?
Now, I'm not saying our current system is perfect. It seems like it's very far from it. So how do we fix it? I don't know. But I'm sure the answer isn't a solution that's been tried and proven to be worse.
| ||Posted 8/8/2009 11:03 PM - 36 Views - 4 eProps - 2 comments|
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