So here’s MY rage on Healthcare Reform

Reform.

Ha.

I am not hearing a thing about how this current health reform bill is actually going to change (or reform) the quality or availability of health care.

When I say quality I am referring to the kind of hell my sister-in-law is going through right now –  where she is recovering from double surgeries (C-Section and aorta replacement)  – and is having to play stage director to a dozen specialists who all want to act as if they’re the only one treating her and not a one of them know about what any of the others are doing. The cardiologist prescribes a muscle relaxant that needs to be injected directly into the gut muscles, except that’s not possible because it the OBGYN says it will interfere with her c-section recovery. Both want it their way, neither want to back down, and who has to work it all out? The girls who’s on more medications at the moment than I’ve taken in my entire life. What’s quality about that? One specialist gives her an appointment for a followup visit that conflicts with one already made for an other specialist, and both insist that she has to find a way to be at both, cuz they both claim they have no other slots open. That’s in the best interest of the patient? Why is it that the bookstore I work at cares more for their customer’s entertainment than this health care system cares for it’s patients quality of life? 

And availability? Where’s the part where we’re going to educate more health care professionals and support? More nurses, more physicians, more surgeons? In every other industry, having more of a service makes it cheaper. In the health industry, you don’t even know what a trip to any doctor is actually going to cost you until you get the bill. I can go online right now and in half an hour find out who’s got the best price on a Ford Prius in the Valley. If I want to know who I can see about a sore back, I have to go to my insurance company for that. They’re not going to give me a list of all the specialists in my area, they’re only going to tell me who’s available in their network, and no one will be able to tell me what the price of a visit to any of those offices will be. Would you put up with that when buying a house? A car? Hell, a trip to the movies? No. But we’re expected to put up with it in our health care system.

The only thing I am hearing is plenty of reform about who gets paid and how much. If this is supposed to be about making healthcare cheaper, why the frelll is it going to cost a trillion dollars? It’s because this isn’t reform, it’s the biggest grab by health insurance companies in history. All the yelling and screaming going on about how we have the “best health care in the world” has nothing at all to do with actual health and everything to do with money. It’s a measure of the number of insured, not the health of those covered. For a trillion dollars we should be able to eliminate cancer, or heart disease. Instead, what we’re gonna get is exactly what we’re getting now, only the health care insurance industry will have the benefit of having a trillion more dollars and the legal right to call every citizen a paying customer. More likely, we’ll have fewer benefits because the reasonable sounding argument will eventually be made that with all the added clients, insurance companies will have to hire more people to manage claims, and well, that costs money. 

I want some God Damned reform. Change. Change that actually and truly benefits the patient. I want to see a system that is not allowed to make a profit by denying coverage. If I’m paying for an insurance policy and some day I get sick and they decide to either drop me or deny me coverage, they should have to PAY ME BACK everything I’ve paid them. More people should be encouraged to become doctors, nurses, and the like and if they make that commitment, they should not have a loan to burden them at the end of that journey. If I chose to, my medical history (and present) should be available to everyone who’s treating me, so that the circus my sister in law is performing in could be eliminated. You want to spend a trillion dollars? How about on prevention? Why are we trying to find a way to pay for treating diseases that are directly caused by smoking when everyone in the last three generations has grown up knowing what it’s effects are? You have to buy separate insurance to cover damages caused by flood if you own a house, why not have smoking insurance to cover damages caused by smoking? Even car insurance companies now offer reduced rates for safe drivers, why can’t I get a reduced rate for eating better and exercising? 

I fully believe that we can have a health insurance system that’s non-profit – that has employees and pays them real wages but who’s goal is not to make money for it’s shareholders. I don’t believe that such a system would in any way resemble the system we have now, and it certainly wouldn’t involve any of the people who are benefiting big off the current system. They will, though,  be the ones to yell the loudest that their death knell will certainly be ours as well. Don’t believe it for a second. 

We deserve something so much better. We’re gonna end up settling for something that’s simply different.

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2 responses to “So here’s MY rage on Healthcare Reform

  1. I’m with you Patrick. As much as I want to be able to support Obama’s health care initiative, I can’t because it’s not reform. No one is talking about the really difficult questions that touch on the heart of what’s wrong with medical care delivery.

    I don’t understand the U.S. medical system at all. I’ve been plagued with medical problems all my life only to be told by doctors at my annual physicals not to be concerned– these were problems everyone has, so it’s normal to feel this way. I became disabled five years ago when I turned 50 because the best doctors could do when I could no longer function was to refer me to other doctors and for tests whose results they ignored.

    Honestly, I don’t think doctors have a clue. Med school curriculums are largely designed by the pharmaceutical and insurance companies who brainwash doctors that all it takes to diagnose and treat someone is a five minute clothed exam and a prescription for the latest expensive drug. I, too, wake up multiple times each night with lower left abdominal pain that I’ve had now for five years. I’ve been told it’s just gas from nonspecific colitis, so no need to treat. I feel like I have colon cancer or something that is causing this much gas and pain.

    My Medicare coverage from Social Security for being disabled finally kicked in, so I am once again making the rounds with various physicians to try and get relief or treatment. I and my ailment are treated very methodically. Each infection and body part has its own specialist, even though the infection could be the cause of the particular body part’s dysfunction. No one wants to treat without updated tests to confirm that a miracle hasn’t occurred since my last round of tests. It’s as if each doctor must have his own name on the test as the ordering physician for that physician to consider results. So you wait to see the doctor, who orders tests. You wait another month to get on the schedule for the test or procedure and then wait again to see the doctor who will undoubtedly want to study the ailment more before any treatment. No wonder I became disabled seeking competent medical care.

    My experiences with doctors is chronicled on my blog at http://doctorblue.wordpress.com chronologically through 2008. I’m hesitant to write about ongoing doctor visits as I’ve read that doctors have refused treatment to patients who comment on their experiences on the internet. I’ve decided to give my new set of doctors the benefit of the doubt and write about what happens after they stop seeing me or when I’m cured.

    What I’d really like to see is doctor-patient charettes. Care starts and ends with the patient-doctor relationship and until these two entities hash out what works for both, the rest is just peripheral and of no consequence.

    Any ideas about how to incentivize any nonprofits to study effective cost cutting and quality improvement by having patients and doctors talk to each other?

  2. Give this interview I heard on NPR today a listen.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112172939&ps=cprs
    Makes you realize how inefficient the US health care system is.

    Overall I’d say we got exceptional care at 2 of the 3 hospitals we’ve been to through this whole experience. Being from an engineering background what annoyed me the most were the inefficiencies. Someone needs to run a major 6 sigma up in the health care industry! Lean Production people!!! I can’t tell you how many times we were asked the same questions about Jamie’s medical history all while they were typing the responses into a computer. Can’t they SHARE that information with everyone else in their hospital and other hospitals? All I have to say is that no matter where your medical travels take you as soon as they punch you up in the computer your entire medical history should come up. For the most part they were relying on me and my severely in pain / medicated wife to come up with her medical history. Now that is dangerous!

    Again, listen to the interview. Mr. Reid describes France’s medical system in which everyone has a card with their medical history on it. Doctor’s offices have NO medical files. It’s all on the card. When he’s done with you he hits a button, everything is processed, and he gets paid in 3 days. Efficiency! I love it! And France’s health care system was rated #1 in the world by the World Health Organization.

    I’m going to buy this guy’s book.

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