There is a lot of talk about health-care. Unfortunately, it is mostly talk . I think one good thing is it has people talking about it. Unfortunately, the insurance companies and others who profit from bad health are spending enormous amounts of money to ensure that changes do not come that will affect their ability to reap millions. They are adamantly opposed to any form of socialized health system or even the public option, or single payer. So they continue to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and get many people riled up in total opposition. Some factions of the media have joined in on this. A recent John Stewart video posted on the Huffington Post, was showing just how “fair and balanced” FOX news was. They showed this one reporter and it was like she was pulling numbers out of the air. One time saying that 70% of the people didn’t want health care reform, another time 77%, her number kept changing. Meanwhile all the other polls were showing anywhere from 40% or more in favor.
That being said, I would like to point out a 2003 study by the WHO that put France as the number one health care system in the world. The US was number 37. There are those that argue that it is skewed because it also takes into account who is covered. They say that we have the best technology hence we have the best health care. Well, we may have the top surgeons and technology, but who can afford it? So having the best technology, drugs, and surgeons may be great, but if no one can afford it, what good is it?
Another point that people point out is how bad Canada’s health care system is. I have been told by people that they have friends that have had to come to the US to get health care because the system is broken in Canada. Some of the FUD that has been spread also says that Canada’s system is horrible. Yet, I have read some recent articles/blogs/comments by people living in Canada who are sick and tired of the lies being spread about their system. The thing is, France is still number one. Okay, so why not go to socialized medicine and learn what works and what doesn’t in France, Canada, and England and other countries that have socialized medicine. We are starting at ground zero, so rather than just jump in, learn, find solutions and then deliver the best health-care in the world. Health-care that covers all the people. And please don’t give me the argument about our taxes going up. Yes, initially they will. Your deduction for health-care will get rolled into the taxes section. So it could very well end up being a wash and your net pay may not change. Besides that, one of the things that I point out when people throw that argument at me is this, “What is the fastest growing deduction from your paycheck? Taxes? Not hardly. Health-care!”. As a matter of fact, some people in California were to be treated to a 39% increase in their health care costs. This despite the insurance company making millions in profits. Is it any wonder they are spending millions to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt to get people to stay with the status quo?
Yet others point to the “Massachusetts Model”. They say that Mass. has a great system. Well, yes and no. If you cannot afford coverage, then you can buy into this cheaper insurance the state is offering. Hmmm, sounds a lot like the public option that so many are afraid of. So you can continue to get insurance through your company, or if self-employed, through a co-op, or other set up, or buy into the Mass Health plan, “the public option”. Doesn’t that sound great, just what was being proposed. Okay, now here is the dark side of that which no one speaks of. If you do not get insurance, the state will fine you. You cannot “opt out”, you have to have insurance. As a matter of fact, we get sent forms every year that we have to sign stating we have insurance. So if you don’t the state will go after you. Now let’s see what the state is doing about the insurance companies and what they cover or don’t, level of deductibles, copays, and rates. Um, nothing, nada, bupkiss. The insurance companies are free to raise their rates, deductibles, copays, and reduce coverage at will. No one is stopping them. So in the end, the state basically becomes the muscle for the insurance mafia. So quite naturally, the insurance companies aren’t going to fight that option, because in the end more people are forced to pay their premiums while they can at the same time raise rates, raise copays, raise deductibles, and reduce coverage. Frankly, I would be more inclined to just pay the government, where if they continued to raise taxes at the rate the insurance companies raise their rates, we could vote them out, impeach them, we could do something. We can’t do anything with the insurance companies.
Of course, we have been led to believe that socialism is a bad thing. We are pointed to the corrupt versions of it from the old Soviet Union. Those who do not want socialized medicine try to scare everyone into believing that we are on that path to socialism and Obama is going to be the dictator. Oh puh-lease. Yes, the Soviet Union was a corrupt system of communism. China is also a corrupt version of communism. France is a socialist country and it seems to work for them. As the recent financial and economic meltdown in the US brought to light, we have a corrupt version of capitalism. So if communism is bad, and capitalism is bad, in the meantime France and England, two socialized countries seem to be working out, maybe socialism is the answer. When I was in college, I had once course where they taught about the stages of civilization. The way it was presented to me was that capitalism was the lower stage, then you progress to socialism, then to communism. The point that was brought out about countries like the then, USSR, and China, was that they jumped straight to communism without going through the other stages. This brought about the seeds of corruption that gave us the negative examples of communism.
I would like to point out another culture, which there are still some right here in the US where communism works. The old hippy communes. People came together and got off the grid and worked as a community for the common good. Everyone helped out with building, farming, and the other tasks that were needed by the community. Of course, that isn’t the first culture to do just that. In fact, many of your pre-European indigenous cultures had lived that way for centuries. If you read about the Native American cultures in America prior to the European influence, you would find that they all worked together for the common good. You really want to blow your mind, read about the Lakota ceremony called the Giveaway. They would give away all that they owned. Of course, there never was a worry that you wouldn’t survive in doing so, because everyone took care of everyone. Can you imagine giving away all your things?
Well, that is enough food for thought regarding socialism and other societies. I have other ideas on health care.
A story on Chronicle on the Boston Channel 5 last year spoke about the spate of general practitioners in the US. In the story, one GP said how they lost their GP and was having a hard time finding one that was accepting new patients. If a doctor can’t find a doctor, then how the heck are the rest of us supposed to. Part of the problems is that more and more are going into specialties because frankly that is where the money is. It is costing more and more just to get the degree, let alone the burden of malpractice insurance afterward. So with less and less GPs, more people end up going to the emergency room for simple things like colds or bumps and bruises or minor stitches that could be handled in a doctors office. Of course, many doctors complain that they don’t have the time to spend with patients half the time because insurance companies put pressure on them to spend only about fifteen minutes with a patient. Not hardly time enough to get to know a patient which is another failing of allopathic medicine, but that is another subject.
If we had a form of socialized medicine, then we could do as the military does. We could offer to put people interested in the medicine field through college. The give back would be that for each year they attend college, they would give back a year working as a general practitioner. This would allow some of the brilliant people who may not have the means to become doctors, but have the heart, to enter into the system. I know that if they offered something like that for psychology, I would be the first in line and would be quite willing to work for the state or government for an equivalent number of years. After you put in your time, then if you wanted to go into a specialty then you could go take classes on your own and move into a specialty, but at least we would have a constant pool of people coming into the system to replace those leaving. That pool of people would be based not on who could afford to become a doctor, but people who had the aptitude and heart to become doctors. So maybe it might just improve the quality of health care also. The plus for the doctors is that they aren’t starting off with the burden of debt that many doctors have to deal with these days.
Now I would like to briefly touch on malpractice insurance. We do seriously need to put some common sense back into our court system. When a person can buy a hot cup of coffee from a store, put it between their lap while driving and then open the top to put in creme and sugar, and then whoops, spill it on themselves and burn their crotch, and then, oh yeah, sue and win thousands of dollars, we have a serious problem. I am under the impression that with malpractice, you basically pay a premium based on your specialty and potentiality for suit. What if it was more like car insurance. If you are a new doctor, you pay a slightly higher premium that goes down over time as you gain experience and show that you have no suits against you. If you have a minor suit, then you get “points” added and have to pay a higher premium for a number of years until you show that there is no repeat occurrences. Of course those who have a lot get assigned into the high risk pool. Though, if they have that many, I would hope that they would politely be asked to just quit practicing because obviously, they don’t get it.
The thing is, we will never have a good health care system, let alone a great one, until we can move beyond our hoarder mentality and start thinking from fear that we never have enough so we can share what we have. We need to get to a point where we place the common good above all else and not base health care and other such needs purely on who has the most and therefore deserves it. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have good health. Unfortunately, our government continues to allow corporations to poison our environment so that much of our health issues are because of toxins put into the environment by corporations. Our government has failed us there. So it is understandable that people would be fearful of them taking on health care. These corporations are dumping toxins not only into our environment, but also into our food supply. The organic food community is under assault right now as these corporations are trying to loosen the regulations so they can put their GMO foods into that chain also. As part of a whole health care redo, we need to do a root cause analysis as to what is going into our systems and making us sick. Those who think that global warming is a sham, should look at it a different way. The same solutions that those who want to stop global warming espouse, can help to clean up our environment and make us healthier and less reliant on health care to start with. If we can clean up our air, our streams, and stop dumping toxins in the ground that end up in our food, then maybe we all can live and breath much healthier. Of course, those who have a dollar to make will spend as much as they can to refute anything that could make our lives better.
It’s time that we the people, took back our government and started thinking as a community instead of living in fear of never having enough. Only when we start thinking of the common good and get our minds out of materialism and the need to have and fear of not, can we find true solutions to benefit all.
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.