Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A few thoughts on the health care "debate"

Health care is important. I believe good health is the birthright of every human being.

I am a person of faith and I believe our current system is broken. We need a radically different approach, and I think that means a single-payer system.

Insurance companies add layers of complexity and do ration care. They lobby Congress and no doubt give them lots of information (and meals, etc) on how important they are and what good they do. Understandably, they want to maximize their profits, and exclude sick people (pre-existing conditions).

Drug companies spend thousands on advertising to create demand for their products. And they lobby. This drives up the price of our medicines. This bothers me.

My nephew and his family live in New Zealand, which has socialized medicine. They are happy with it. For urgent care they get what they need, and when they need it. For less urgent care, they do wait a bit, but not to harm their health. If they were wealthier, they could jet somewhere else as medical tourists, just as wealthy Americans can do now.

I am a “have.” I have good benefits and good health. I still suffer from the system’s inefficiency. I despise filling out forms every time I walk into any doctor’s office, and being interrupted as I write the stuff down by health care providers asking me for the same information—which I sent in to the hospital in advance, by the way.

And it hurts me to know 47 million Americans are without insurance and good care. They have fewer choices. They don’t get preventive care. They must skip meals or skip medications—a draconian choice. They fill our hospitals’ emergency rooms, which drives up costs for the rest of us.

Even as a “have,” I am unhappy with the status quo and want to see Congress step up and deal with the tough questions. I want them to represent the citizens of their districts, not the lobbyists for insurance companies and drug companies.

Peace, y'all


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