Obama’s “health care reform” is certainly a hot topic these days. There has been much anger expressed at these so-called “Town Hall Meetings” where people are outraged at the threat of government interference in their choice of doctors, plans, etc. Much of this emotion is based on ignorance and misinformation. I don’t have all the facts either, but let me point our a few things.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, any changes to our health care system that don’t include tort reform are inadequate and counter-productive. Yet the politicians aren’t saying much, if anything, about limiting the liability of doctors, hospitals, and other medical people. See my earlier post in July for more on that very important subject.
The Uninsured and Under-Insured
I heard a statistic that said the number one reason that people file for personal bankruptcy is because of medical bills they just can’t pay. The uninsured use the emergency departments of hospitals as a clinic, which is expensive and not the use for which those facilities were intended. With something like 47 million people not covered by insurance, something must be done.
Do It Right the First Time
Whatever is done, it will dramatically change the health care landscape of this country forever. It must be done right the first time, or it will be a disaster. That’s why this can’t be rushed, but it must be moved along. All sides must be heard from. Government programs are subject to the Law of Unintended Consequences, and the possible unintended consequences must be thoroughly thought through, analyzed, and addressed. We can’t afford a health care disaster.
Quality and Quantity
The quality of medical care is generally good in the US. What health care reform must do is maintain that quality (and hopefully even improve on it) while making it available to more people. We should look to other industrialized nations and see what they are doing. Then we should take the best of each plan and put together something that will be the best in the world. In industry that is known as “Best Practice.”
Cost of universal health care is a legitimate concern. Government cost projections are notoriously optimistic, so this brave new world of universal health care must be done right, or it could bankrupt the country. Eliminating the cost of practicing defensive medicine and the outrageous cost of malpractice insurance are two big cost savings that can be realized by tort reform, which is desperately needed. Standardizing insurance forms, converting to electronic record-keeping, and eliminating other waste are other ways health care reform can help pay for itself.
The reason I’m writing about this is that it is a fairness and justice issue. We must, as a humane society, provide quality health care to everybody. Pray for our leaders, that they will have the wisdom to do this right.