Health Care Reform

Several presidents have tried to push health care reform in the past, but none have been as successful as the country’s current president, Barack Obama. However, President Obama and the Democrats have created two health care bills that would not benefit the country, as they believe. Instead, these two bills would severely damage the country’s health care systems.

At this point, there is definitely a need for health care reform. Costs are skyrocketing, insurers are denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and insurers are charging different rates just because of someone’s medical history. The provisions that eliminate those last two problems need to be included in any health care reform bill. When someone with a health condition tries to purchase insurance, the companies will deny them because of that condition, but the patient really needs health care because of whatever condition they have. Also, a person should not have to pay a much higher rate just because of their medical history, which they mostly cannot control.

However, there are also many provisions in the two bills that would damage or even destroy the nation’s health care system. The most important of these is the government-run insurance option, also called the “public option.” The Democrats included this plan because they want a cheaper health insurance option that could compete with private insurers and help lower costs. However, this public option would only be the first step toward a single-payer system, which is where the government is the sole health insurance provider. This would happen because the public option would be extremely less expensive than private insurance plans, which would entice people to leave their private insurance plan and buy a public plan. Also, private insurers would have to lower their costs to compete with this, and then they would be unable to operate because of the lower income. These two factors combined would cause private insurers to go out of business, creating a single-payer system.

Another damaging provision in the bills is the creation of many new taxes that would pay for the reform. The version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives includes a surtax on people with a yearly income of $500,000 or greater. This money, which would be forcibly taken from wealthier people, would just be given to poorer people to help them buy health insurance. This is called “spreading the wealth,” which is a form of socialism (where everybody in a society is equal). Everyone is not equal, and awarding money to poorer people would just encourage people to quit their jobs and be lazy so they could qualify for financial assistance from the government.

The House version of the bill also requires illegal immigrants to buy coverage. This is perhaps one of the worst provisions in either health care reform bill. Because illegal immigrants are “undocumented,” they do not pay taxes, and therefore legal American citizens would be the sole people paying for these illegal aliens’ health insurance plans. The American people should not be required to pay for health insurance for people who moved to this country illegally and do not pay their fair share of taxes.

Also, the Constitution does not grant Congress, the president, or any other government bodies the power to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to require businesses to provide health insurance to their employees. The government must operate within the Constitution, which does not give them any power over controlling health care. The government would end up being the single payer for health insurance because of the public option, and the Constitution does not give them this power, either.

Our Health Care System Crisis

The political struggle continues over the health care system and what will finally evolve after congregational action. The house voted to repeal the healthcare reform bill and to start all over on initiatives that will target the problems in the healthcare industry with fiscally responsible actions. The senate so far has held the party line and supports the current law. Many states are challenging the constitutionality of the law and the mandate for everyone to purchase health care insurance. The constitutionality of this law will probably be decided in the supreme court.

No matter what happens in this next round of political shenanigans it is still your health that is on the line. The new system will not help you from getting sick, only you can control your own wellness.

With the great controversy raging in the nation over what direction our health care system is going to take it is critical that we as individuals begin taking responsibility for our own wellness. If we don’t take personal responsibility for our own health we may end up relying on a government or private system that can not or will not be able to support our specific problems.

The current direction of our congressional leaders is to mandate that 20-30 million people who do not currently have health insurance must by law have health insurance or face a fine. Legislation mandates that insurance companies must make health insurance available to those individuals. There is currently a projected shortage of doctors and the addition of 20-30 million more people will surely result in rationing of care. Some states that have implemented such legislation, such as Massachusetts, are already experiencing unusually long waits to get an appointment with a doctor.

As a nation we are in terrible health. Our youth are facing a medical crisis today that often did not appear until middle age. Those in middle age are suffering from chronic degenerative diseases that our parents did not have until the later stages in life. Our elderly population suffers from those same degenerative diseases including macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Why are we having an epidemic of obesity, onset (type 2) diabetes and degenerative diseases? Why can’t we do a better job of preventing disease instead of just treating it once it is discovered?

What can we do proactively to ensure that we are doing the very best we can for our bodies? Has the medical community provided us with the all the facts we need to know? What is the real story on how our bodies function and is there anything we can do to ensure they have the capability to fight and win the war against degenerative diseases?

Our health care system is under attack and may not be able to provide for us when we really need it. For too long we have depended on the health care system to tell us through early detection what is ailing us. What that really means is that until we show symptoms of a disease the medical community has not been trained to help us. Often that discovery comes too late and we end up in the health care system being treated with solutions designed to cure or mask our disease or to keep us alive while we suffer the ravages of the disease. Wouldn’t it be easier to look for solutions to keep us healthy in the first place? Real preventative medicine would focus on preventing disease not just discovering it, what a novel concept to reduce the strain on our health care system, help people not get sick. Emerging medical science has discovered the intricacies of our bodies’ immune system and reports that keeping the immune system strong and healthy significantly reduces our risk of illness.

I believe that through proper investigation and study we can find ways to remain healthy longer. Educating the average person on what the emerging science is finding out about the intricacies of our bodies will reap great rewards, not only for our health care costs but for the individual as well. I am going to dedicate my efforts in researching the medical literature to make a case for preventive health care. We must learn how to optimize our health, the quality of the rest of our lives depend upon it!

Look for my next article where I will look at some science based recommendations for beginning your own preventive health care regiment. Visit my blog for information on preventive medicine and the latest health studies.

Marty S is worried about the lack of interest in teaching people the advantages of proactively exercising preventive health measures. He is knowledgeable in nutritional science at the cellular level and wants to share that information with people interested in learning how to optimize their own health. He believes that if we practice preventive medicine we all can contribute to lessening the burden on our national health care system, not to mention individually experiencing good health well into our twilight years. Dedicated to informing the general public about how our body really functions and how best to take advantage of the latest medical science to make sure we live a long and healthy life. Marty is disappointed with the majority of the medical and drug establishment that is not researching and promoting true preventative health care.

Universal Health Care

Health Care: The History

Health care costs have skyrocketed over the last few decades. While there are numerous reasons for this, the bulk of these medical cost increases have come with advancements in medical practices and technology. Advanced procedures such as kidney dialysis, neurosurgery, MRIs, chemotherapy etc, cost money to provide. Rather than absorb these costs and go out of business, health care providers pass these costs onto insurance companies, who (also to avoid absorbing these costs and going out of business) then pass these costs off to their plan members through increased deductibles and premiums. An unfortunate consequence is this also means that those who need these treatments the most (often times the more elderly) become more expensive to cover. Health insurance companies adjust to this by either raising premiums or deductibles, or denying coverage altogether if the potential members appears to be too costly to cover. In fact, underwriting (researching potential members and deciding how much to charge in premiums and deductibles or whether or not to even cover them if it appears to be a loss) costs resources and money in itself, which again, is passed onto consumers through their deductibles and premiums. What this means is that providing health insurance only works as a viable business model if those who are in the greatest need it are denied their needed coverage (or charged premiums or deductibles they may not be able to afford). Insurance companies profit provide potential treatment to those who are likely to need it the least. Like any other business model, revenue must be maximized while costs are reduced.

Why Medicare Costs Have Increased

This increased cost in health care doesn’t stop with the private sector. Public health insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare are affected to an even greater extent. Whereas private health insurance companies adjust to rising costs by passing them onto consumers or denying them coverage altogether, these public programs don’t turn people away, or charge them higher premiums for preconditions. Add to this the fact that Medicare insures senior citizens; the most costly to demographic to insure (imagine private health insurance premiums for a 68 year old who is far more likely to need a kidney dialysis or cancer treatments than someone far younger). It’s the same increased health care costs that are driving up private health insurance costs as well as Medicare/Medicaid costs. The burden this places on Medicare doesn’t quite end here however. Beyond good publicity, private health insurance companies have little reason to proactivly offer real preventative treatments knowing that later-in-life illnesses will be covered by another insurer (most likely Medicare). So while private health insurers skip this cos, it’s Medicare that picks up the bill for this lack of preventative later-in-life illness treatment. Furthermore, it’s far more costly to provide these treatments than it is to prevent them.

Single Payer Health Care

A Single Payer system would effectively fix the bulk of these problems. As a non-profit organization, such a plan would have the benefit of reduced costs all around. Private health insurance companies spend a lot of money, time and resources underwriting (screening prospective members), and deciding whether or not to even cover them as well as going back and forth with providers (who shift their end of the costs back on the insurance who then shifts that cost to its members). Other costs include, advertising, paying dividends, well-paid CEOs and executives and lobbying politicians to discourage them from passing any health care bill which might reduce their market share or profit margins. They also pay for tactically misleading advertisements scare the public into believing horrific (though incorrect) things about proposed legislature. These costs are all passed onto customers by way of higher deductible and premiums. A public plan would forego these costs.

In addition to all of this, there would exist the advantage of having economy of scale. A Single Payer plan covering the entire country would be able to truly spread out costs per unit, to a far greater extent than any single private health insurance can (because of the number of customers it would have). And since the same plan would cover its members throughout their life, there would be real incentive to provide proactive treatments to later-in-life illnesses to avoid the cost of emergency treatments down the road. Other advanced countries have universal health coverage of this nature (or something closer to it, and less privatized than the United States) and are able to ensure their entire populations for less money per person, and health care consumes a far smaller share of their GDP. While many detractors will object, claiming that such a plan would be too costly, the US pays more in taxes for Medicare/Medicaid and government employee insurance as a percentage of GDP than other nations pay for their Single Payer Plan. People in these countries also have lower infant mortality rates and longer lifespans. Taiwan provides the perfect test case. Several years ago, Taiwan moved away from a privatized system to Single Payer (modeled after our Medicare system). The result was virtually universal health care coverage for a small percentage of their GDP. The United States already has the ideal plan in place: Medicare. It simply needs to be expanded to cover everyone.

Health Care Services

There are many health services and a proper range of health care services needs to be provided under a proper healthcare system. The United States does not have the best health care services in the world but it can be said that it has the best emergency care system around the globe. The fact behind this is that America is having highest level of poverty and income inequality among all the rich and developed nations and it affects the reach of the people to the proper health services.

Health systems are designed to fulfill the needs of the health care of some targeted nation or population. Health care planning and its proper system implementation are much more necessary for any country or government. According to the World health report 2000 “Improving performance are good health, responsiveness to the expectations of the population, and fair financial contribution.” Duckett (2004) proposed a two dimensional approach to evaluation of health systems: “quality, efficiency and acceptability on one dimension and equity on another.”

To have a best health care facilities UNICEF advises that there must be three primary steps which can then systematically improve the health services and to complete a health system.

1. Standards
2. Assessment and Accreditation
3. Support Materials

Seven years ago World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. The following parameters were taken in consideration for the best care services;

· Insurance Coverage
· Access
· Fairness
· Health Lives
· Quality
· Life and Death
· Patient Satisfaction
· Use of IT
· Top of the Line Care
· Walk in clinic

Health is a state of well being, physically, mentally, socially and psychologically. Health services are fundamental part of any community, therefore financial stability and proper coverage of medical through insurance or some other way is very much necessary for a human to live and stay normal. There is a proper process oriented structure is required, implemented by the government to provide the health services to each and every of their citizen. The health care industry is responsible to provide the proper health care services to the people with their arm namely health services providers. These health services are paid and could be paid by the patient, by insurance plan, or by the government. Charities and volunteers also play their role to provide the health services to those who are unable to afford. There could be various ways to provide health services to the patient, normally can be categorized into two main;

· Face to Face:

This is the most common way, where the provider, interacts with the patient physically and after having the checkup and understanding of the issues, diagnoses the problem or suggests some tests or medication.

· Non -Face To Face:

Telecommunication is the latest emerging facility, which is now in use to provide healthcare services as well. The practitioner can interact with the patient using, phone, email, text message, or video conferencing and then can provide further suggestions to him / her.

Health services are also provided at schools where the children could be taken care of. UNESCO has published a set of tools to provide the guidance to school healthcare services providers. Following are the basic parameters which must be catered;

· HIV/AIDS
· Food and nutrition
· Helminthes and hygiene
· Malaria
· Violence
· Drugs, tobacco and alcohol

In any health services providing system there could be the following three types of health services.

1. Primary Health Care Services:

Whenever someone needs a health care service in normal and routine life, who could be a family doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, physiotherapist, pharmacist, etc. Primary health services often include prevention and treatment of common diseases and injuries.

2. Secondary Health CareServices:

Whenever someone needs a special care he/she is referred to a specialized care unit, like hospital, or nursing home to provide secondary level of health facilities.

3. Additional / Supplementary Health Care Services:

The services which are normally provided to the senior citizens, children or to whom which do not have their proper medical coverage or paying capabilities and the expanses are covered through government funds or through some volunteer or charity organization.