Feb 24, 2011 Dolores Reed Uncategorized
My immediate response to your article of Feb. 2 (Obama’s Plan: Pros & Cons, Excellence) was “Here we go again!” Yes, there may be millions of Americans without healthcare insurance, but when was it established that the same millions of Americans lacked health care? The 2006 census identified half of that number as paying out-of-pocket for health care and the remainder received some form of Federal, State or complimentary care. The problems we were seeing had more to do with the increasing cost of care than how it got paid.
Take a walk back in time, the local doctor lived on your block or one nearby. He probably held office visits in one room of his home. The medicine cabinet was just that, a cabinet. Some medication he carried in his bag. Many times the nurse, or receptionist-nurse aide, was the doctor’s wife.
If you couldn’t pay the day of your visit, he would see you on payday. And, Doc knew when everyone’s payday was, so did “Doc” at the drug store. Doc only performed a few basic lab tests. An X-ray machine could be found in a hospital and that is where one went if such was needed.
Bring your time capsule back to 2000. Several doctors practice together as a group, some are general practitioners and some are specialty groups. All have X-ray machines plus an array of other imaging apparatuses specific for their specialty. Then there is laboratory equipment, computers, extensive telephone and auxiliary equipment. All of this equipment requires technicians educated specifically for the activity. Add to all of that the office staff; a one-person staff is now as may as five. I do not know of a single doctor today that practices in the home. Do you? Do you know of a doctor’s office with a single person office staff? Well, you might find a few out in the desert or up on a mountaintop, but there are very few.
Adding to all of the above, we find infringement by government at all levels, State, Federal and local. As an example; the sheets of paper, with hardly a paragraph of legal jargon you must sign, before a doctor can even talk to you. You pay for this to provide the doctor with protection against mal-practice.
These, my friends, are the sins of the 20th Century that have bought you expensive healthcare, but the best in the world that human beings have ever had.
Early in 2009, President Obama requested citizens to hold local meetings discussing America’s Health Care. Baldwinsville held three of those meetings. As groups signed on, the White House suggested ideas for discussion. The suggestions were directed toward a complete overhaul using the uninsured figures as a basis for reform and a single payer system as the solution.
More than 100 individuals attended the two meetings in Baldwinsville. Several medical practitioners attended and the trip back in time became the basis of discussions followed by “what do we need now?” The Baldwinsville groups chose to discuss problems with current healthcare.
Employer sponsored insurance limits movement in the work force, provides too much information about employees’ health to employers. Patients have no skin in the game (one gets the sniffles, they go to the doctor – does one need professional help at this point?). It also limits the individual’s personal choices based on their needs and ability, provides for a misinterpretation of insurance. Individuals and businesses cannot purchase cheaper insurance across state lines.
Answers included: Individuals should take personal responsibility for their care and have skin in the game for payments; individuals should understand insurance is a buffer against emergencies; individuals could always purchase insurance across state lines. The question really is, does the individual want the possible limited protection of another state when New York has strict rules and aggressive follow-up for its citizens?
Dolores Reed is a resident of the town of Van Buren.
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