United We Stand, Divided We Fail

United We Stand, Divided We Fail

A Story by JC
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Essay on healthcare reform

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There are certain subjects in this country that get people riled up, and divide us a country: abortion, death penalty and now healthcare.
In a way, these three are intricately related. They all involve life, which is why our country is so passionate about them. It is also about what is morally right or wrong.
The difficulty in judging something on morality is that it is subjective to one’s own personal belief system.
The camps on this are pretty clear: Those who believe we morally have an obligation to provide healthcare to everyone, no matter what the cost and those who believe that we morally have an obligation to preserve the financial well being of the country.
Both are right and both are wrong. All of it comes down to money, where are we going to get it and how is it going to be spent.
Americans are united on one thing, something’s got to give, but what that something is, has yet to be determined.
Our healthcare is in a shambles. Costs are rising not just for those who pay insurance, or the cost of those who receive treatment, but in every aspect of healthcare. There have been several discussions on reforming the “insurance companies” but what other reforms are going to be needed?
If we are going to talk and enact reform, let us hit all fronts, including tort reform, government, and citizen responsibility.
TORT REFORM
Malpractice insurance required to be carried by all physicians has prolifically increased every year since 1975. The American Medical Association (AMA) recently conducted a study regarding malpractice insurance, comparing years 1975 and 1983. It concluded that in 1983 there were 3 times as many claims per doctor than there were in 1975, and “Their fear was that if the continued cost of maintaining insurance continued to increase, that physicians would refuse to accept high risk patients.” The AMA suggested that there were a “significant “number of doctors and physicians paying 10 to 15 percent of their salaries towards insurance. That amount increased for surgeons. If a primary care physician has a gross annual salary of $250,000, that means they are paying $25,000 a year just to maintain malpractice insurance. This doesn’t include any operating costs for maintaining staff, supplies or office location.
In business, cost increases in the form of losses are passed on to the consumer. In the case of a medical malpractice suit, the cost of attorney’s fees, litigation, and eventually settlement, is then passed on to the medical community. Although there is no price for a human being, frivolous lawsuits brought onto physicians are draining. States that are more insurance friendly towards the medical community are attracting doctors, physicians and nurses away from the areas they are needed the most.
 
Most cases never make it to trial, however are settled in litigation. The doctor still has to pay for the costs associated with the suit, whether it is valid or not. Let’s face it, it is cheaper to settle than to go to court.
Just like in the earlier part of the decade, when there was a nursing shortage, our country is starting to find itself in another quandary. Fewer and fewer medical graduates are choosing to go into the primary care field and are electing to go into specialty fields. It just doesn’t pay to be a GP.
 
GOVERNMENT REFORM
After reading the healthcare reform bill, I found that the government intends to pay participating physicians the same way they currently pay Medicare. Getting reimbursed through the Medicare program can take up to six months. The red tape and lengthy time has forced some of offices to refuse to accept Medicare. If the government wants physicians to participate, they need to come up with a faster way to reimbursement primary care physicians for services rendered.
 
CITIZEN RESPONSIBILTY
Obesity in the United States is at an all time high. A recent study conducted by RTI, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality along with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that obesity costs the United States 147 billion dollars and that the care for one obese person (someone with a body mass index above 30) is 42% greater than one of normal weight. The costs go up for those on Medicare, mostly due to prescriptions.
In 2008, 32 states had an obesity rate of 25% or greater. In 2000, only 22 states were greater than 20%.  Obesity leads to health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. The cost of treating morbidly patients has driven up health cost and insurance premiums.  Americans need to get serious about lifestyle practices, including exercise, smoking and alcohol intake.  We are by far the unhealthiest developed country on the earth, regardless of our health care system.
 
Morally, reform is a responsibility of all Americans, not just those we elected to office. We need to let our voices heard, in a constructive way, whatever side we fall on. If  the country continues to divide, we will surely fail and failure is no longer an option.
 
 

© 2009 JC


Author's Note

JC
Just a note, I have read the current Healthcare Reform Bill. Here is the link if you would like to as well.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h3200ih.txt.pdf


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Reviews

This is a lot like religion. Touchy, but you are thorough. Well done, but I don't totally agree with you; I do, however, respect your point of view.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Very well thought out, you make clear concise points... I must touch on the malpractice thing for a moment... I think we can blame part of that on lawyers, they will tell anyone they can sue for anything, not to say some doctors don't deserve it but as many cases I bet more then half are unjustified claims manufactured by greedy lawyers... as for healthcare, I don't know the solution myself but as a citizen without it myself I know much needs to be done. I like the stand you take here.

Posted 11 Years Ago


I will only say that we have had this discussion. We reached a point where you were unable to respond and you begged me to let the topic fall. I let it fall, but the way our discussion ended, tells me that you know what is right and moral. I hope that one day, your ideology matches what you know in your heart.

I still Love ya.

Posted 11 Years Ago



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Added on September 5, 2009

Author

JC
JC

Fort Worth, TX



About
I am 40+ year old native of Fargo, North Dakota, (yes I said Fargo.). I've journaled, blogged and written poetry my entire adult life, and now I am starting to write a novel, which if published, will .. more..

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A Story by JC