Monday, September 07, 2009

health reform continues

I am leaving the brilliant world where I occupied a high position, and now.... I am about to ascend into a much greater world, the world of the poor.

~ St. Elizabeth Feodorovna ~


The issue of health care reform continues to bring up debate--as it should. I have a lot of feelings about it, having been through several years of illness myself and with my family. I am sure you will hear more about all of that as the days go on, but that's not what I want to talk about here.

As I said, I am empassioned about this. Yet I will try to stick with information and not get carried away with my feelings here. While feelings are important, they are based on information. If the information an individual has is inaccurate, the feelings are inaccurate, as well. I support the other side's right to have their feelings, too. But if their information is inaccurate, is the passion behind their antagonism.

Today, I am addressing some of the comments that I am reading and hearing in response to the Facebook statement* that went around cyberworld last Thursday:

"I work in the ER. We stop people from dying who don't have health care every day....and we don't make them pay! Your tax dollars pay for them. We already have free health is called the ER."

Wouldn't it be nice if the ER could be used appropriately for Emergencies and not "health care"? And wouldn't it be nice if more people could afford health insurance so that those who do don't pay for others' "free" ER visits through their premiums and the price tag for their doctor and hospital visits? I prefer to have a system where more people are covered so that their insurance isn't hidden in my premiums. Are we paying through taxes? Maybe a small part, but more of it comes out of the pockets of those who can pay for health care because the cost is spread out to the payers.

"No one should die because of socialized health care, and no one should go broke because they have to pay for everyone else's healthcare. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."

Let's start by saying that no one should die because of shoddy care whether it is socialized or free market.

The reality is that there are about 200,000 deaths per year in the US due to medical error according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation. Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US. In Canada, I found differing reports--one saying that medical error is the 3rd leading cause of death and another saying it is 6th. So we are not doing anything better, and maybe not as well as Canada. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that the US ranks 14th in preventable deaths, behind several countries with socialized medicine.

We are now paying for everyone else's healthcare...through higher premiums, loss of human power in the work force, and probably taxes, too. Again, I am all for creating a system that is up front about it all. I don't like paying through higher prices of my own at the hospital/doctor's office any more than I like paying for shoplifters at the grocery store. The truth is...we all pay in so many ways already.

"Nothing socialized works. Show me a government ran [sic] program that is able to do as well as a program in the free market. ...What makes anyone believe that the government can run a health care delivery system when it can [sic] run getting our mail to us without being severly [sic] over budget."

That's a pretty broad generalization. "Nothing socialized works." Clearly, many people who live in socialized countries disagree. According to WHO, the US ranks 37th in health care, again ranked after a number of countries with socialized medicine. (See here.)

"He [Obama] is trying to run this country like he is a community organizer."

So? Is that a problem? The way I see it, a community organizer tries to get everyone involved. The greater number of people who get heard, the better. Isn't this supposed to be about all of us? Why shouldn't we all be organized and involved? I know that I am more interested and involved than ever, because, finally, someone in power is listening. He is everyone's president. Mine and yours.

"The people are speaking and it is a resounding no to his socialization of this country."

We are so far from socialization. The reason that word is tossed around so much seems to be that it carries a lot of political clout. I am not afraid of our becoming socialized. I am afraid, however, of the continuation of lack of balance and the rich getting big financial breaks on the backs of the middle class and the poor.

We have laws and programs to protect people. If we could trust that everyone in the free market system had morals and valued interdependence, we wouldn't have to have that kind of system.

I have long said that no political or economic system is all bad or evil, any more than any system is all good. The people in it are what make it good or bad. If those who had money willingly paid good wages and gave good benefits to their employees, we wouldn't be having some of these discussions today. Unfortunately, not everyone does what is right, my friend.

I don't claim to have the answers but I do know these things:

We all are paying right now.

The system we have is broken.

A lot of misinformation about the actual proposal is being bandied about.

This will be much more successful for all of us if we can get accurate information and be responsible with our emotions. Really.

*"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick."

1 comment:

Joan said...

Well put, thithter! It is true that this debate will go on for quite some time and even when/if there is a solution presented to "we, the people" there will still be debate and dissention. It is the way. Not everyone will agree. Let's just hope that there is a solution for "we, the people, who are carrying the burden for the rest of the people."