Sweet Tweets

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Caring About Health

I've held my tongue so far about the chaos concerning health care "reform." In truth, it's because I'm so outraged and unbelieving about the over-arching grab for absolute control of health care that Nancy Pelosi and Barak Obama are trying to orchestrate, that I've been somewhat speechless.

It's a simple economics equation of supply and demand. Add 40 million+ people to the system, keep the same number of doctors, and what do you get? Higher demand, lowered supply = higher costs.

Take away all incentives for maintaining good health and taking preventative care of yourself (it would be illegal for private insurance companies to grant lower rates for say, non-smokers) and you'll see a rise in behaviors that don't promote healthy lifestyles and the costs associated with them.

To not even mention torte reform when it comes to medical malpractice signals that the Democrats aren't really serious about actual reform or cost cutting, it is only about having control.

Most doctors today are coming out of medical school and long-term training with an average of $200,000 - $300,000 in school loans coming due. And yet, I keep hearing people complain about how greedy doctors are, how they "used to go into medicine to take care of people, not to make a lot of money," and that they are overpaid in general. There are few things that make me angrier. Try to place a value on 100-hour weeks, 10+ years of post-college training, and intense continuing education. Who should the decision maker be on how much doctors are worth and how much they should or can earn?

I am not saying we have a perfect system. In fact, when Medicaid/Medicare entered the fray, it changed how insurance companies conducted business and we started seeing rising costs and bureaucratic processes inserted in the system. That, along with rising rent, salaries, general overhead of running an office, utilities (hello, cap and trade), it has become more and more costly for doctors to be in practice. I personally know two high-risk surgeons, in two different fields, here in Atlanta that did not take a salary for a year and paid into their practice out of their own savings just to keep it open. And doctors are the greedy ones? Right.

If the government could find a way to make Medicare work effectively, efficiently and near budget (not even on-budget), then I might be open to how they would run the entire health care system. But since their Cash for Clunkers programs turned out to be 3 times more expensive than they budgeted for, I'm thinking there is no chance that they will get it right any time soon...

For actual reform that might make a difference, here is one doctor's view on some changes that might effect actual change.

If you are outraged like I am at the mess that is being railroaded through Congress, join with me and sign the "Free Our Health Care Now" petition. They are over one million signatures at this point...

Listening to: A-Ha - Take On Me
via FoxyTunes

2 Remarks:

Sandy said...

Melissa, as one who spent the early years of my career in medicine, I am convinced that passage of Obama-care will have devastating ramifications for us as a nation.

To say I am grieved is a gross understatement as I consider the scores of people who voted for an inexperienced man they knew little and/or ignored much about, erroneously imagining that minimal damage would result from his election.

Under Obama-care, my 77 year old dad would not have been offered the life-saving surgery he had on Monday. Instead, he would have been counseled about how to die with dignity, when to "let go" and "give up," and whatever else they deemed appropriate in order to convince him that his time is up. Where is Ted Kennedy in all this? Does the man not realize that he is technically too old under this proposed plan to have the brain tumor surgery that extended his life? Oh, wait, he wouldn't have to depend on this debacle of a plan for HIS care. My mistake.

I pray that those who voted for Obama with high hopes for change are realizing now that change comes in many forms--and that this change isn't for the better.

There are many ways that healthcare can and should be reformed, but this Obama/Democrat plan is not it.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we have a civilized debate about these things? Why do we have to have people like Fox News say Obama is trying to kill grandma and turn it into something it isn't? We need to discuss the issues and get away from the scare publics offered by both parties.