Health care and you

Recently, a friend related his experience with a medical problem. After lengthy waits to get medical attention, he went to the hospital ER. His complaints were low-grade fever and in general feeling bad. After being admitted to the hospital and receiving a battery of tests, no major problems were indicated. Finally it was determined that a boil on his rear was his only ailment. When I was a child, my dad lanced a big boil on my knee by sticking it with a sewing needle and mashed it until a core popped out. My friend, however, was told surgery would be necessary and that no operating room was available until the next day. Luckily, a young doctor showed up in his room and asked if he would allow the procedure to be done there. Consent was quickly given, the boil lanced and my friend discharged. A few days after he had escaped the clutches of these private-sector caregivers, he received a bill for $14,000.

Until some scheme is devised to assure that every American citizen has some form of paid-for health care, the issue of health care will never be fixed. Government intervention is necessary if we are to ever have decent health care for all Americans.

The big lie currently being offered in the health-care debates is that health care can best be fixed by the private sector. Private insurance companies are not searching for ways to provide medical help for the poor and sick. The insurance industry’s aim is to avoid insuring people with health issues. They prefer to insure those who aren’t sick. Neither pharmaceutical companies, doctors nor hospitals are promoting lower costs of medical care.

Almost all experts believe that better management of delivering medical treatment is our best hope for cost savings. To date, government programs have done a better job of delivering savings than the private sector. Medicaid, for example, delivers prescription medicine to folks at a lower cost. This is mainly because Medicaid has been allowed to negotiate with the drug manufacturing industry for lower costs. Experts estimate that up to $135 billion could be saved if only Medicare was allowed by Congress to negotiate for the same type of discounts.

Congress has once again put the public’s needs second to lobby interests. Big drug companies have an army of lobbyists in Washington ready to spend millions against any congressman who crosses them. Emboldened by the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations can spend unlimited amounts of money in elections, it takes a very brave politician to oppose such special influences.

The only antidote to a tidal wave of corporate money at election time is well informed, well motivated citizens. The best time for citizens to be heard is just before election time. If you care about a healthy America in the future, ask those seeking seats in the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives now if they will side with the people or the special interests.

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