Food Storage & Other Adventures in Motherhood

Food for Thought on Health Care Reform

by heather

As a nurse and just as a mom in general, I often get into conversations with people about health care reform. I’ve discussed it with doctors, nurses, parents and friends. I’ve yet to hear a magical solution. But there is not question that something must be done. I highly recommend watching these two fascinating mini-documentaries to anyone who cares about health care. (I find myself recommending them frequently and thought that it’s about time that I put them up on my blog so I don’t have to search for them anymore.) They were both done by PBS Frontline and are each about an hour long, but it is time well-spent. The first one surveys 5 health care systems around the world and talks about the pros and cons of each. The second one gives many examples of how the health care system has failed people in America.

Sick Around the World
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/view/

Sick Around America
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundamerica/view/

What did you think of these videos? Does anyone out there have any good solutions? What are your thoughts on health care in general? I’d love to hear your input.


6 Responses to “Food for Thought on Health Care Reform”

  1. Tabitha says:

    I don't think it's the government's job to give everyone health insurance.

    If they want to help, they can lift the interstate commerce ban so health insurance rates can be more competitive. (For example, where I live, I only have ONE option for vision coverage outside of an employer provided plan. We pay our own insurance…)

    But the government has gotten people so brainwashed into thinking that the government can just give them everything they need. THAT'S what's wrong with our country…entitlement.

    I'm so fed up with the government and the healthcare issue is only part of it.

    Call me heartless, but I don't think it's the government's job to take MY money from me to pay someone else's health insurance…
    All men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…and it's not life, liberty and health insurance….

    America has the BEST health care industry. On the radio the other day they were talking about how the Canadians are worried about where their going to go if America's health care industry becomes government run because right now they come HERE.

    The government needs to learn that less is more when it comes to their involvement. But I've never seen them become LESS involved in anything. Oh, except for national security…yeah, let's abandon that for health care!

    Okay…off my soapbox!

  2. Heather says:

    Go ahead and stand on your soapbox! I like to hear what people think about this issue.
    I agree that we do have excellent health care here in America. When I was a nursing student I worked in a maternity hospital in South America, and oh wow. I interviewed several nurses there who went months without a paycheck just so they could hold on to their jobs. You can imagine that the patients were lacking in supplies, staffing ratios and quality of care if they couldn't even pay the staff that were there. It made me grateful for so many aspects of my job. (And oh yes, I've heard many Canadian health care horror stories too. And part of the problem with their system is lack of competition. There's not much incentive for dr.'s to specialize and improve.)
    I have mixed feelings about whether or not it's the governments job to provide health insurance for everyone. I think that if we handed everything over to the government to take care of they would probably botch it. And I do get somewhat annoyed about people who feel that they are entitled to healthcare when they won't work. Yes, there is a huge problem with people feeling entitled. It's not right that I spend more time working instead of with my family, so they can get what they feel they deserve without working for it. I don't think that healthcare is an inalienable right. But at the same time I think that it is wrong for someone with health insurance to still be crippled for life by health care bills. And I don't think that I could never look at someone suffering and say "No, sorry, no healing for you."
    And there are those who try to get health coverage, but there are too many ridiculous hurdles in the system. (For example the young girl with lupus.) There should be some intervention there. The story about the woman in remission made me upset. After all the hoops she jumped through to maintain her coverage, it was downright crooked for her insurance company to deny her claims. Shouldn't that be illegal?

  3. The Atomic Mom says:

    The care we have avalible to us, and then they way we pay for that care are two different things, and need to be seperated and talked about differently.
    First, the care here is the best in the world. I've lived overseas, in a former communist country. I got sick. I just decided to be sick on my own rather than risk going to the doctor –it was just that scary.
    Second, how we pay for insurance is a different matter entierly. No one is denied care in this country. You can walk into any hosptial and recieve care. It really, really bugs me when politicians on both sides drag orphaned kids, or sick old people up to bolster their side, disgusting!
    However, there are things that can be, and should have been done to help people in the payment of the care. First, let people buy their own coverage, from any state. By doing that you really open up the whole healthcare market to true competition, no need for the government to be a competitor. Second, which really goes into the first, divorce healthcare coverage from employment, so that you can take it with you when you leave/loose a job. Third, stop using insurance for preventative care. Using insurance for minor things is like using your auto inurance to fill up your gas tank. WE don't do that because it's insane, and would drive costs up. Insurance is to help dissapate risk, not to pay for everything. The other thing this would do is alter the way people behave. Use it for the big things only, medical costs will go down and people would really think about what they are buying from their medical provider. It's easy to just go to the doctor for friviolus things when you're not really paying for it. Fourth, let people have HSAs that carry over from year to year. If you did this, you'd only need insurance for the big things. For example, for me I only really go to the doctor to have my anual lady exam and to the podiatrist two or three times for my feet. If I had a HSA, I could pay for those thing out of pocket for lots less money. If people were just allowed to save and pay, costs would go down, and then care would be avalible to more people. Fifth, enact serious tort reform. We are too litigous of a country. I worked for a Personal Injury atty for a year. It was pure evil. They acutally sit around scheming on how to sue people for the smallest things. There is a reason an aspirin costs $100 at the hospital, it' to cover the malpractice insurance. That's not to say that there are not bad doctors out there, because there are, but they are not as numerous as you've been led to believe. we also have to admit that even doctors and nurses sometimes make mistakes,and that's ok. Sixth, again this has to do with tort reform,stop suing pharma companies for listed and known side effects of drugs. Assume that anytime you take a drug there will be risk. The other thing that needs to change is stopping the FDA from fast tracking drugs to market. Most of the drugs that are fast tracked end up being pulled because they don't have enough data on them to know they are very dangerous.
    Now, as for programs like medicare and medicade. I acutally have no problem with older people being on medicare. That's what they've been promised, keep the promise. However, as with Social Secuirty, raise the retirment age to 70 or more (because we live longer) and for anyone younger than 40, discontinue the program. At age 40 there is still time to plan for the future. As for medicade, reform it so that it's not an enless welfare program. It should only be a temporary thing, just like welfare is temporary. The way this works though, is if real reforms are put into place so that the poor can just go the the doctor and pay an affordable cost for services with cash. If we were allowed to have HSAs this would help people as well. Finally, the govt needs to do better at eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse of its programs. Thirty percent of medicare claims are fradulent every year,that's billions of dolloars wasted. Those are my thoughts.

  4. Shawnie says:

    My sister is an RN in Washington DC, she's going to love this post! I really appreciate this issue being brought up and discussed.

  5. Heather says:

    @ Atomic Mom
    I just wrote an enormous response to your comment with examples and insightful points, but Blogger hates me and my very long comment disappeared. I spent more than an hour writing that. Blast! (Note to self: write long comments in Word first.) So I'll give you the Reader's Digest version.
    -I agree with most of your points on litigation, medicare, HSA, wasteful spending etc.
    -I agree that we have terrific health care here in the US, and would rather receive care here than anywhere else. However, there is room for improvement and there is a lot to be learned from looking at other countries and how they manage things. I thought each country surveyed at least one good point that I thought could improve how we do things here.
    -Unfortunately care provided and how we pay for it are very much connected. Those without insurance may receive emergent care, but that is more of band-aid. The real problem is not addressed. Many doctors don't accept patients without (or the wrong) insurance because they have enough patients who will pay.
    -If people didn't have preventive coverage, most people wouldn't bother taking care of annual exams and vaccines. Preventative health care saves money in the long run. And your car insurance does do "preventive" like rock chip repair. I don't think that the gas analogy doesn't hold. That's more like your health insurance paying for lean meat and veggies. I also agree that people shouldn't use health care for frivolous things. See my post on the ER.
    Thanks for commenting.

  6. Erina says:

    Wonder if health reform is making a difference? Read this heartfelt post from a mom in Florida. ttp://www.momsrising.org/blog/my-backyard-meeting-with-president-obama/

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