Thursday, February 26, 2009

Healthcare Reform Now!

Healthcare reform is the most overdue item in our country's agenda—next to full equality (yeah, women still usually get paid less for the same work). At a time of the most serious economic downturn in the lives of many and vanishing work, more people are being left with no reserve and no savings. Add to that the tremendous amount of money an individual or family would have to spend on insurance as well as medications, and we can begin to see how serious this is, especially when multiplied by the millions. WE now have approximately 20% of our citizens without medical insurance and many with insurance still cannot often afford to pay the deductibles or premiums or copays for medications. Let’s face, healthcare is big business in America.

People go bankrupt because of health needs, and we are now paying more and getting less than any other nation on the planet. Those countries with poorer healthcare at least don't pay for it. We do. And we shouldn't have to pay so much for so little. In the countries referred to as “developed,” we cannot be proud of the percentage of infant mortality, maternal death, even teenage pregnancy. And we don’t even have the longest life span of developed nations, despite what we pay.

Obviously we waste money, and it has become clear that insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are no different from Wall Street in overpaying executives while demanding the consumer ante up. So it should be no surprise that the result has been an absolute disaster.

And it became even worse in the last few years. For example, those Congressmen who pushed for the heralded Bush Medicare drug plan? Didn’t they all go to work for the companies that lobbied for it? At exorbitant salaries! That tells the story in a nutshell. We need to have fewer intermediaries between doctor and patient, so that both benefit. At the moment, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies tell physicians how to practice medicine. They often decide which medications can be prescribed. And often refuse to pay at all if a patient wants to consult with a physician who may be the best choice for their problem bus not on their list. Insurance companies have been known to refuse payment for major catastrophic illness. In other words, we’re bound for better or better. In essence, they have sometimes decided who can live and who can’t afford it.

Shame on you! Shame on us! And shame on Congress if they take healthcare off the table.

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