Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Thoughts

Why must everything be so complicated? Sure there is a problem in this country. How can we ignore some 45 million people not having access to affordable care? I am concerned as are many of you who I receive e-mails from that the reforms planned are ballooning out of control. The legislation being debated will probably contain a thousand or more pages of details which no one in the Congress or Administration will ever review much less understand. Health care in America today is complicated enough as it is. I am always frustrated with the myriad of forms I must sign no matter how routine the procedure might be. Have any public officials taken the time to review the systems in place in other countries, many of which have been in effect for decades? Why must we start from scratch? If there are flaws in any of these, then it should be relatively easy to make whatever changes are necessary.
This is what I truly believe.
The Insurance Community and the Drug Companies will come out stronger than ever and more obscene profits will be theirs for the taking. Our Congress and Administration will do their bidding, where to my way of thinking they should be bypassed and in the case of the insurance industry they should be redundant, completely put out of business. Why would we need insurance if a Medicare type system was made available to all instead of just seniors? Perhaps their role could be to supplement just as my former company does for me now. Those who could not afford, at least would have basic care.
I would rescind the Drug Companies right to advertise to the public as they so obscenely do today. Every time I am watching some program, on they come with Viagra or some other miracle drug that you must talk to your doctor about. Most of the ads tell all the bad things that the drug could do to you. It is just sick. In a recent article written by Christopher Lane he reveals that only two countries around the world allow this; New Zealand and America. He quotes an August 2007 New England Journal of Medicine article that the total cost for 2005 for all drug-related marketing in 2005 was $29.9 billion, with $4.1 billion spent on Direct to Customer advertising. The authorization to allow DTC advertising was granted while Clinton was our President. Think about that as you contemplate which political party has your best interests at heart. This should not be construed as an endorsement for the Republican Party. If that party means so much to you, then tell me what wonderful things they did during the eight years when they had total control.
One pillar in the plans being discussed is mandatory benefits to be paid by employers. Doesn’t anybody understand that this is totally wrong? I have harped on this subject for years now without result. My basic premise is to relieve businesses in America from this cost burden, particularly their obligation to retirees like myself. The burden to cover my medical expenses has to be paid out of product sales for which I no longer contribute. Eliminating these would immediately increase the profit they could make while producing goods and services here in America. Jobs would come flooding back that were lost to China and elsewhere, tax revenues would increase dramatically enabling our country to afford health care, pay down the debt or whatever else is deemed important.
I would rein in the huge costs the Doctors and Hospitals pay to protect them from excessive law suits. There undoubtedly are abuses which should be punished but there are also frivolous law suits, many of which are settled out of court to limit the cost, even when completely unfounded. The Democratic Congress is indebted to the Trial Lawyers for campaign funds and I can assure you this will not be discussed. President Obama at a medical convention recently told them that it was off the table.
Medicare fraud is rampant. I have seen a report that so far this year alone it exceeds $33 billion. Putting more people and resources to work to drastically reduce this amount would provide billions to be put to work helping people instead of enriching thieves.
Do not provide government paid procedures having anything to do with sexual enhancement, cosmetic surgery, tummy tucks, etc.
Limit free or subsidized health care to citizens and legal immigrants.
I have one final thought, why must it be all or nothing? Why not chip away at it? People without insurance can still be served at the Emergency Rooms. Not preferable and terrifically expensive but still it is an option. Why not take the creepy crud approach and lower the age to receive Medicare by one year each year until it covers all age 50 and older while at the same time covering children up to the age of 18. That would leave those in their prime working years not covered now but perhaps later. I only suggest this as the Trillions in costs being discussed will no doubt derail any meaningful program and something is better than nothing.
I am mailing a copy of this to my elected officials as well as e-mailing to friends and others. If you agree in part or all, I request you let your voice be heard as well. Sitting back and hoping for the best just won’t do.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
July 29, 2009

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