Hello everyone!
I'm new to the site and would appreciate any comments on this important issue.
I've been in my first teaching job (University of Applied Sciences, Steyr, Austria) as an English teacher for about five years. In these few years I feel that I have learned just as much from my students as I have taught them. One of the courses I teach is Health Mgt. (English focus), and as we discuss many health care systems throughout the world I am at a loss for words when it comes to the current reform debate in America.
I would like to be able to explain how we have reached this point in America and what is keeping us from passing a comprehensive, universal health bill, but I can't. It seems to me that a private insurance system stems from the fear of socialized medicine where German doctors were controlled by the National Socialism (NAZI) regime, but is this really the case?
As a Kansas native I grew up in the Bible belt, and many of these values I've learned (such as love thy neighbor) I still hold dear. But it seems to me that much of the opposition to universal health care comes from the Christian right who doesn’t want to pay for the health of others. Looking at the facts, I see that the US already spends more per capita than any other nation in the world, yet is still ranked about 30th in the world when it comes to quality and coverage.
In teaching this subject I’m often asked “How can the most powerful nation in the world not care for its citizens?” And this is the answer I’m looking for. I’ve discussed the role of lobbies contributing to election campaigns, but still I have no answer. For most of my studies I was without health care, my mom worked for the gov and my dad had been laid off from the railroad, and I was lucky that I never had any emergencies that would push me into bankruptcy. But what’s the answer for the many who have experienced life’s indiscretion, pain, suffering… and financial despair?
I don’t know the answers, and that’s why I’m posting this. I’d appreciate any comments to help me understand so that I can better communicate the issue with my students.
Many Thanks!
David

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Hey David!
OOOH! I hated writing essays!
The most interesting part of this discussion is....that we agree on all the essential aspects of providing health care to all. The people of the United States are non-partisan. Yep! Believe it or not, A simple discussion, one that is rational, will make sense to the vast majority.
Not one Congressional member will come out and say...I have a plan that will work, one that makes sense, one that can be explained to the American people, clear and precise plain talk. Maybe the media wouldn't print it, maybe they would tear it apart. or maybe....someone will say, Heh! That makes sense! AND! Look! it won't cost a Trillion dollars, and be 2700 pages.

Yeah! Obama got elected. I am no fan.....I have many reasons, but they are not pertinent to this discussion.

Lets go back to those rankings.....Infant mortality, that one does not make sense to me. So I am once again suspect of the data sources. I owned and operated a Pharamcy for 25+ years.
I knew many pregnant women. I cannot recall one birth fatality, there were a couple of miscarriages, there were many premature births. but no short term fatal issues. I knew these customers for years, full family histories, from childhood to adulthood. I don't believe that I was not aware of an outcome.

Our administrative costs are high, and our drug costs are too high. But! This Health Care Law is a safe haven for Pharma and Insurance companies.
You are right about legislation being dictated by "lobby" oriented industries. That is the system, that is how it works.

I am not recommending an opt-out, rather, if you want more, then you can pay for it. Either out of pocket, or through added private insurance.

Here's a true story. At one time, I changed my insurance to a less expensive PPO plan.
I went to visit my Physician's office for a check up. He recommended an chest XRay and blood tests, I said "Fine, let's do it." BUT...the plan would not pay him to do it, the Xray machine is in his office, and blood tests were drawn previously. So, I told him that I will pay him directly for the Xray....No Deal! The contract forbade him to perform the XRay.....I went home and changed my plan. The point....Our system is not really broken, it is just plain stupid and expensive.

I have other Pharmacy oriented stories as well......preferential drug coverage and drug theraphy promotions that are not effective. Put a couple of NON_AFFILIATED Pharmacists in charge of establishing an approved drug formulary, and they will cut costs and improve outcomes, same is true for Surgeons, Nurses, Hospital Administrators and Physicians....they'll do the same. They'll have to be sequestered and their names must remain secret.....Until they have finished.

Get back to those essays! HA!
I once turned in a pencil drawing and description of a "homunculus " after a Cell Bio Lab, under the name of the Middle Century biologist, Nicolas Hartsoeker, who theorized the structiue of a sperm as a little human. I thought it was funny.....Hmmmmm

JJC
Oops, I got carried away. Infant mortality is actually declining but is still ranked 29th.
Hi David and John,

It becomes clear why three of us are still involved in a Health Care discussion. I am a neonatologist by education, who worked in research for years and was a member of WHO workshops on perinatal care and prevention of diseases of adults in childhood.
David wrote something that is crucial to my mind :" Is it no longer possible to call on our brightest intellectuals, most brillant doctors/scientists and other experts in economics and operations/processes to find the best solution for Americans? ".
The trouble is there is a statistical prediction of what you would need as an average human being. I pay for medical insurance on a monthly basis ,but did not see any doctors for 8 years. Where did my money go? I do not want any statistics to guide me in my decisions. I want to invest my money, make a profit and pay not what doctors
charge uninsured people, but negotiated prices with some insurance companies. I worked in medical billing and for billing comparies, getting money for hospitals from insurance companies.
I am trying to give you another point of view for the sake of the argument. There are a lot of mistakes made by doctors, which nobody knows about.There 5 times more
gall bladder excisions in the USA then in Europe. It is easier. Newborns are saved with
severe brain hemorrhages, leading to cerebral palsies . In Europe those babies are taken of respirators and so on. The point is the same ,complex problems can not be solved by three people.Even we can not describe the whole system so three of us could figure out the solution.I think it is impossible. There are research institutes, statisticians, economists, doctors, prices , drugs etc . Multidisciplinary analysis made
public,computerized analysis would help us. Where is the government ? Of no use.
Evidently even Harvard does not help certain people.
As some people say: This is my country! I want it back!

NMC
Hey Nellie and Dave,

The complexity of this Health Economy is indeed beyond the scope of three minds. (I think that everyone else is hesitent to join this discussion)
But it sure is fun! Especially when we now focus on the "Medical Industrial Complex" as opposed to those bad guys from the 60's the "Military Industrial Complex".

The resistance to Government provided Health Care is not focused on denying care to people, but rather, denying control to the Federal Government. The benfits of this law, "no pre-existiing condition denial", no limits on costs of treatments, family coverage to the age of 26......are all the sheep's clothing disguising the wolf within. That wolf is the predisposition of the current administration and the "social democrats" in Congress that desire to control all aspects of our lives and economies.

Dave, I really do not want my government to dictate what foods I am allowed to purchase. OH! Salt is no good, we're going to make you live longer!
OH! TransFats are no good (They replaced animal fats in the early 80's), now were french fries fried in Palm OIL! YUK!
I guess thay want us to live "healthy" until we drop dead from boredom.
We will be a bunch of healthy corpses!
2 million people die in the US each year! What's going to happen to the "Funeral/Cemetary Industrial Complex" if we all live another 5-10 years! They'll go out of business, they'll need a bailout! Cemetaries will become overgrown, grave diggers will be on unemployment, when you do die, no one will be there to dig the grave....It will be a GRAVE RECESSION!
MAYBE we'll go green! SOYLENT GREEN!
There Ya' Go! Real re-cycling! (thank God for SciFi, it predicts the future)

Government Control!
Every now and then a Freudian slip will reveal the "social justice" intent. When Maxine Waters explained to Exxon-Mobile that their (Congress) intent was to "socialize" Exxon, she quickly attempted to adjust her words. Oh! I know, she really did not mean what she said.
Geez! So many politicians don't mean what they say! How conveinent!
"Think before you speak" / "Say what you mean and mean what you say"

I did a little quick math before. The GNP for Health care is 2 trillion dollars, I divided that by 300 million people. That comes out to $6,666.66 per person per year. BUT...The GNP covers all tranactions for a particular industry, I assume that it covers wages, costs of doing business, production, delivery, transportation and many other factors. So, this is a very accumulative figure. I'd like to parse it up a bit.
My next task is to determine/estimate the actual pay out to the providers of health care on a national basis. I should be able to get estimates from MediCare, Medicaid, and total out of pocket expenses.
I am certain that exact values exist within each segment.

This crazy country of ours was founded by defying tyranny.
Do we still teach these words "Give me Liberty or Give me Death!"
See! I remember something from High School American History!

JJC
Dear John and David,

I had a chance to work in WHO work shops with experts from different countries, working together.No nonsense! I can imagine the day, when someone caring and not involved in politics will bring a multidisciplinary panel together, which will be an alternative to
the way things done by the present government. It will be a multidisciplinary team of independent experts, professionals each in his own field. All reports will be submitted ahead of time, discussions- as simultaneous wiki's , which will be analyzed by computers with cross references. The statistical information will be presented on all insurance companies, how much they pay doctors for each procedure for each of states, which of those are covering all hospitals,including leading hospitals in the USA, which policies are used where and may be why. The info on statistics of deseases, how often in which
age group.
There will be an info on indications and contraindications for procedures and treatments, there will be an expert economists present, which would give an overall picture of what is spent and where. This workshop will be recorded and posted on Internet for reference.
Wouldn't it be lovely ?!

NMC
Sorry Nellie,
There was no reply button after your post, so I had to reply to my post.

It would be a fine day indeed to embody this panel. Intelligent experts, analysis and a dash of common sense! That's the right prescription.

On another note: California is considering or has passed a law to stop MacDonalds from providing a toy with their kids meal. One of the proponents stated that we are spending 2.2 trillion on health care, and we need to reduce the cost by not encouraging obesity.
David: Do you see where this is going? When the Government pays the bills, they get to make the rules.
When I was a kid (8-10 YO) and we played stick ball, the kid who owned the ball made the rules of the game. Believe it or not, a Spalding ball cost 39 cents. That was 20 returned coke bottles that we scrounged through garbage or walked beneath the boardwalk to collect. Just so you could say "Its my ball, I make the rules".
In Education, the same situation applies. The Feds give the money, the schools take the money,....Who makes the rules?????
JJC

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