Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Health Clinics

There are free health clinics scattered around the country providing basic health care to those who are not insured. They are run by churches and other charitable organizations, and have been very successful, working with volunteers and donated drugs.

My question is, why haven’t the geniuses in Washington considered a network of such health clinics to provide basic coverage for those who can’t afford insurance? This would take the pressure off hospital emergency departments, which are overwhelmed by the uninsured who use them as free clinics.

Of course such clinics couldn’t take care of more serious problems requiring surgery or other advanced treatments. Therefore, I would suggest that the government make available insurance for catastrophic health care needs, with the more routine care provided by the clinics. Those getting insurance from their employers would receive conventional care through the existing system.

These clinics would receive government support, so they wouldn’t have to be shoestring operations. The government could buy the drugs more cheaply. Because these clinics would be low overhead operations, they would be much more cost-effective than providing comprehensive insurance for our expensive existing system.

Hopefully our existing system would become less expensive because hospital emergency departments could be just for emergencies, hospitals wouldn’t have to cover the uninsured in various ways, and fraud would be reduced because these clinics would be monitored and audited.

Come to think of it, why not include Medicaid patients in this plan? There is so much fraud in that program that going the clinic route – with adequate safeguards and monitoring – would save the government substantial money. There is so much more we could do to improve the system, but Congress and the President aren’t even considering them, such as tort reform.

Write your senators and congressman and ask them to consider the clinic idea and tort reform.

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