Monday, June 29, 2009

Health Care?????


I mentioned I would likely write about this subject more than once. My friend, mentioned in the first article, lost half his foot. We do not know at this time if that is where it will stop.

The antibiotics the insurance company approved, as opposed to what the doctor recommended, did not work. The delay created, again by the health insurance company, in second guessing the doctor was not wise. The prescribed drug ordered from Canada did not arrive promptly due to directives to scrutinize all such orders at the US border.

This antibiotic resistant bone-eating bacteria is often picked up in hospitals and it can be fatal. Left untreated for too long it can reside in multiple places in the body other than the original site.

There is a great debate going on in Washington about health care. First I want to say health care insurance is a misnomer. It is medical insurance. They currently pay for nothing that can be called healthy. Even the routine exams they advocate we all have are not totally paid for. All deductibles are up front which, in this economy, deters people from going to the doctor to maintain health. Most insurance companies do not pay for things that would keep us healthy like exercise programs or vitamins or massage even when a prior health problem would advocate such maintenance programs.

Another total red herring in this whole medical insurance debate is that we would lose our freedom of choice. We have no choice currently. The insurance providers, as in my friend's case, call all the shots. Doctors and hospitals, to reduce administrative costs related to insurance, often hedge their bets on treatments from what they might think will work to what they know the insurance company will pay for.

And three, the United States no longer has the best medical care in the world. More and more people are opting for medical tourism. At some point in my future I may need shoulder surgery. I plan to go to Thailand. A $40,000 procedure here is only $8,000 there including the hotel before and after surgery. And they are considered cutting edge (no pun intended) with use of shark cartilage to replace damaged tissues. I want an insurance policy that will pay their 80% of that but then my co-pay on the cost here would be about the same. I only need to come up with the air fare if insurance will pick up post op physical therapy.

There is a lot of mud slinging going on around this whole issue. The waters have been muddied with half-truths and out right lies by he opponents. That if we go with any plan the government comes up with we will have to wait forever for treatment like Canadian and United Kingdom citizens do. In this day of Internet friendships around the world those lies can be easily put to bed if you are half-way computer literate.

Meanwhile a growing number of American citizens cannot afford medical insurance and their unpaid bills raise the costs of the treatments the rest receive. We have some of the highest medical costs in the world and they have risen way more than the standard rate of inflation. Something has to be done. We need health care which is based on what the doctor, and not the insurance company, feels is appropriate. And it needs to be at a price that does not lead us to bankruptcy.