Let’s put “Care” in Health Care!

Introduction

My wife and I have been blessed with a reasonable income, and good health, luckily.

It’s easy to ignore the uninsured, the unemployed, and the sick, as long as I have a good income, good health, and insurace (for those rare times when our health isn’t so good – and for routine check-ups).

Not Everyone is so Lucky

But our society consists of many people who aren’t as blessed as we are. You know… those poor folks who work for a few dollars an hour at SuckMart, McBurgerLand, etc… Employers who make great profit, but somehow can’t afford to provide for their employee’s health care expenses. And, then there’s all those unemployed former aerospace workers, who now have to choose between paying the insurance premium, or the mortgage.

Insurance for Profit is NOT Efficient

The insurance companies (who currently RUN health care in the U.S.A.) have a singular goal: PROFIT! Profit is nice, and it should be a reward for providing service and products to society.

But, the insurance companies have it turned around and backwards. They view the stockholders as the customers (instead of as responsible business owners), and profit, as the service they provide the stockholders (instead of as a reward for providing service).

 From this point of view, we, the actual paying customers, are merely a natural resource, a cash gold mine! Consequently, the insurance companies regualarly deny service to it’s actual customers, to keep profits growing for the stockholders (and bonuses to executives).

To be Cursed with Ethics

Sometimes I wish I had the (lack of) ethics to run an insurance business…

“Sure, give me your money, and in an emergency, I’ll take care of you… just trust me…”

“What? You’ve got cancer! Oh, that’s too bad, but, last quarter,  our stock holders were not happy with only 50% profit , so we had to cut back, and now we can’t help you… By the way, now that you’re a high risk patient, we’ll need to increase your premiums…”

 

What is a Contributing Member of Society?

And even worse, what if you’re one of the more than 15% of the population not perceived as a contributing (ie: with insurance premiums) member of society (for example; when your employer doesn’t provide insurance, and doesn’t pay you enough to buy your own insurance)? In such cases, the insurace companies won’t even acknowledge your existence!

Getting Money Back isn’t as Easy as Giving it to Insurance Companies

Even if your premiums are all paid up, you may need to hire lawyers to get the insuance company to cover your health care expenses – hmmm no wonder so many insurance companies and lawyers are spending so much money trying to convince us that nationalized health care would be worse than  – they (the insurance companies and lawyers) will no longer be necessary in the health care business, and your health care dollars, instead of going to the insurance companies, and lawyers, can go to providing, of all things, health care.

Let’s be Civilized, and Care for Each Other

We used to care for each other, even, or especially, when one was striken with bad luck. Our society has been reprogrammed, since I was a child, to worship profit above care.

Everyone should be allowed access to health care. Civilized societies don’t just let people get sick and die on the streets, especially in times of need.

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2 comments on “Let’s put “Care” in Health Care!

  1. I totally agree with you, but I don’t think letting the government run it is the answer either. Unfortunately civilized countries DO let people die. When we lived in Italy, our 63 year old land lady was going blind with cataracts, but was considered to old to be worth fixing. A friend from England had a family member on dialysis, at the age of 55, she was cut off, too old to be worth the expense of keeping her alive. My daughter’s dance teacher in Germany had repeated cases of Mastitis when she was nursing her baby. They wouldn’t give her antibiotics, told her to go home and drink tea. She spent months too sick to work and was forced to give up nursing. We need health care reform, but until our government learns to manage what it is already taking care of, I don’t want its fingers in this pot.

  2. Well, here in the UK, our healthcare is free at the point of access. For everyone. There’s so much nonsense being written about our healthcare by certain American commentators- I’d take it with a big grain of salt – many are claiming that our healthcare is unfairly rationed. Sure, it could be run better…but that’s a different story…

    One personal example: my aunt, aged 76 just had open heart surgery, to fix a leaky valve. The surgeon made the clinical decision appropriate for her own case. Since she had always looked after herself, being a very healthy lady, very active and fit, he operated on her. He explained that most medics the world over would consider her too old for such surgery – but that in her case, since she was so strong otherwise, she would benefit clinically from the operation. So they went ayead with the procedure. No point intervening with such radical measures if the chances of success are very slim – or if the trauma of the surgery outweighs the medical benefit. Such cost/benefit decisions are made routinely by medics – and there are many factors involved – mostly they are not a simple minded protocol – but based on clinical judgement, which is sometimes rather subjective in fact, based on many “quality of life” decisions.

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