How Universal Health Care Impacts Medical

The health plan that President Obama is proposing is going to be efficient and effective. In order to be efficient it would have to be streamlined and working well, for example, there couldn’t be loads of bad debt sitting on the books. In order to be efficient, the bad debt would have to be collected and always try to be up to date or very minimal. Currently 5% of hospitals gross revenues are written off to bad debt and charity and this is before the implementation of the health care plan.

Some collectors have told me that they are worried that third party collectors or collection departments receiving payments through the proposed plan may take longer than an outside insurance agency or a personal payment could take to get paid. As debt collectors we are used to slow payers but always working on new ways that payments can be obtained more quickly rather than slower. With this new program, many collectors are worried that payments will be slower which we will be forced to accept since it is a government program. On November 25, 2008, InsideARM said that “Debt collectors who currently specialize in medical receivables shouldn’t expect fewer accounts, but the balances forwarded to them by clients may be smaller.” According to Kaulkin Ginsbergs Health Care Analyst Michael Klozotsky, “Just because you insure more people, it’s not going to drop people’s co-pays and deductibles”.

According to Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D, “For payment reform to reach its potential, Medicaid programs and private payers of medical care such as insurance companies should participate in developing new Medicare payment methods and follow them to the extent possible. Many health care providers have substantial market power and the ability to offset Medicare payment reductions with increases for private payers, so creating payment structures that are uniform across payers can increase the potential of payment reform to change provider behavior. If a public health insurance plan is a part of health reform, then an all-payer rate-setting structure could help establish a level playing field for all health insurance plans.”

The White House.gov website says, “The President has vowed that the health reform process will be different in his Administration – an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis. Working together with members of Congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, and other key health care stakeholders, the President is committed to making sure we finally enact comprehensive health care reform.”

The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:

o Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
o Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
o Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
o Invest in prevention and wellness
o Improve patient safety and quality of care
o Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
o Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
o End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions

What does it mean for your business if this health care plan protects families or consumers from bankruptcy or debt due to the costs of maintaining their health. How will consumers avoid the debt of health care costs to stay healthy when they cannot afford it? I am all for helping consumers stay out of debt, but have concerns about how this new bill protects consumers from the debt of medical bills and how will this affect third party collectors.

Small businesses are an important source of job growth in the United States. Firms with fewer than 20 employees accounted for approximately 18 percent of private sector jobs in 2006, but nearly 25 percent of net employment growth from 1992 to 2005. Many collection agencies are small businesses, and have many questions on how this plan will affect how they collect debt, how much debt they are able to collect and how much time they will have to wait to get paid if they get paid at all. Recently, during my consulting calls I was working with someone who is considering starting a medical collection agency and is worried there won’t be a demand for his services or any debt out there to collect based on this healthcare plan. In my opinion medical collectors should not worry about repercussions of the Universal Healthcare plan, there will still be plenty of work.

You can take steps now to prepare for this new plan, consider how you accept other government payments or deal with their offices and this may be similar. Set up policies and procedures now to use when the plan goes into affect. Once you start working with your policies when the plan is in place, you can tweak it to fit your billing and accounting practices. Just talking about it with your employees will help everyone to feel more comfortable with the plan once it is in place, everyone will have heard about it and will have an idea on how to handle those accounts immediately. The more efficient and effective you can be, the quicker you may get paid. Agencies can also assist with the insurance collections and will find an increase in that line of business, the providers will find it hard to educated, train and hire staff to deal with the additional follow up and if they move or shift workers from dealing with self pay accounts this would not compensate for the increased workload of collecting from the insurer. As one reader stated, “Anything the Government gets involved in becomes more complicated and complex, clients will need their collection agencies to help them deal with this even more.”

Free enterprise will always prevail. The insurance companies that are out there now, aren’t going to go away once we have this new healthcare option. The biggest impact I have found that debt collectors foresee with this new plan is how slow they may be paid or how slowly their clients may be paid. Start working with your medical clients and help them work with their patients so that they can serve as an advocate and show empathy for each individual situation and help them to work on a realistic payment plan – your job as the collector – enforce that payment plan. The longer you wait, the worse off you are – catch accounts that need help early and you will be ahead of the game.

Health Care is a Rip Off

What we call health care is a bad deal for the consumer. The name alone is a lie. It should be called “sickness care” or even “sickness facilitation ” because, for those who are covered, it tricks them into placing the responsibility for their health on their doctor. This is a big mistake.

We are each individually in charge of our own health. How can the doctor be at our side all day and night to counsel us to “Put that cigarette out!” or “Don’t eat that cheeseburger! Remember your high cholesterol!” By the time we are forced to go in to the clinic by some scary symptom, we are already in trouble. It is too late for health care — now it’s time for drugs and scalpels.

Depending on a doctor for information on preserving your health is like closing your barn door after your horse has escaped. It’s too late for doing the easy, inexpensive course of action. Now, you’re in for it!

So, forget about health care. Health care is not about health. It is all about getting you back on the factory floor or back in your cubicle, ready to work, so you can keep paying your premiums. It is about extracting as much money as the law allows by sending you in for tests, which you may or may not need. It is about selling you prescription drugs that you are instructed to take for the rest of your life — drugs that counter the effects of your bad food choices, for example.

Doctor: “The lab tells me you haven’t brought your cholesterol down with a change of diet and exercise since the last time I saw you, John. What I can do — to get you down into a safe range for your LDL — is give you a prescription for Lipitor.”

Patient: “Sorry, Doc. I just can’t give up my favorite foods — eating’s the only pleasure I have left after the wife left me. And taking walks around the block just isn’t my style.”

Doctor: “That’s fine, John. We’ll try Lipitor, then, and see how that works for you. Schedule a follow-up appointment with my staff before you leave. Call me if you have any problems.”

Health care is a rip-off because:

It doesn’t address the real problems that cause most of our illnesses (Namely: our diet, smoking, excessive drinking, and lack of exercise)

By the time we begin to have symptoms of some disease, it is usually too late for inexpensive intervention

Most of what ails us, we bring on ourselves — to correct the after-effects of this is an enormous task…So health care is really not about caring for our health, it’s about facilitating our bad behavior and then extracting as much money as possible from whatever source — the patient, the employer, or the taxpayers in general

Out-of-control malpractice claims, together with the need for doctors to keep their high-tech diagnostic equipment in use, have encouraged doctors to order many unnecessary and expensive tests

When the federal government got involved is when costs skyrocketed (with the advent of Medicare in 1965)

Setting the whole complicated mess under the thumb of the insurance industry added another layer of bureaucratic expense and the need for ever-increasing profitability because these are publicly owned corporations that are expected by the stockholders to show improved profits every quarter

This distorts the quality of care and gives incentive to finding new services to sell. It’s all about the bottom line, not about the health of the patient anymore.

Our health insurance system, by itself, adds 20% to the cost of the medical services provided. Other countries have better health results for 1.5-6% administration costs! We’re being over-charged, plain and simple.

The pharmaceutical industry charges markups of 2000-30,000% of the ingredients in the drugs they sell. Fifty percent of their costs are not for research and development(much of which is subsidized by the taxpayers), but for their marketing expenses — everything from fancy dinners for doctors who sell lots of their medicines, to the many two and three page ads in magazines urging patients to “Ask your doctor if Dynofab is right for you,” to all-expenses-paid trips to Hawaii to educate doctors on that company’s latest prescription drugs.

In the end, we all must pay for the rich system of perks and comforts of those who have been entrusted with our health. Or, we must find out for ourselves how to maintain our own health.

With the present system, the public is not clearly shown how to prevent disease, nor how to maintain optimum health for a long successful life. We are encouraged to turn this sacred task over to others, many of whom know little about how to maintain health and a great deal about ways to make a lot of money by shunting patients through a labyrinth of tests, drugs, and procedures at a substantial profit for the providers, even if the patient doesn’t survive it all.

To be fair to doctors, very few of them know much about how to preserve health through intelligent nutrition. They only live to an average age of 57, while their patients live an average of 75 years, more or less. So, doctors are not experts on health — it is more accurate to call them sales agents for drugs, diagnostic tests, and surgery.

Asking Congress to negotiate us a better deal is foolish. The wise consumer will find and implement a comprehensive program to protect their own health, so they will not find themselves begging for medical care at the end of their life. Without knowledge, the consumer has no power in the negotiation for a fair deal.

All the unsophisticated, unhealthy consumer can expect is a rip-off when they are forced to beg Congress for affordable health care. Who would like to break the news to them?

Focusing on Medical Health Care

Almost half of the nearly 5 trillion dollars in medical and health care related activities can be accounted for in the US. It is obvious that our country has well trained professionals, outstanding technology and a vast array of medication designed to address health concerns. Yet, why is medical care so costly and problematic for so many individuals to receive?

The Growth of Medical Care

For most of the worlds more developed countries the medical field is one of their largest industries. If you count the money generated by medication sales, diagnostics, nursing homes, hospitals, physicians, and other ancillary activities it is quite easy to see why the medical industry accounts for 10-20% of a country’s gross production.

In the US alone there are nearly 800,000 medical doctors, more than 5000 hospitals and millions of health care workers. One of every dozen US citizens works in health care now and this number is expected to grow. Still there are not enough workers and facilities to handle the 20 million outpatients that are currently being seen every day. This staggering amount of outpatient visits does not include the average daily count of 4 -5 million hospitalized patients.

The vast, complex health care industry in the United States is one that attracts people from around the globe. Switzerland and Germany both have large medical industries, but these countries run their health care differently from the US. Could it be possible that our nation’s health care will soon be undergoing a radical type of change?

Answers are Difficult to Find

Is the answer to the current health care dilemma as simple as nationalizing health care for all? Will this possibility only make the situation worse? How will the medical resources be allocated among the various segments of our society? These are only a few of the questions that are waiting to be answered.

Controversial Topic

Today medical health has become a controversial subject among many groups of citizens. There is talk of overhauling the medical system as we now know it. We are also hearing predictions that the government will try to restructure the nation’s health care system. Although much of this rhetoric has been publicized for a number of years it seems that people are becoming more polarized by the possible changes that are now constantly making headlines.

The Senior Citizens Have their own Concerns

The elderly population in the US is keeping a close eye on what is being proposed because health care and medication issues are of great concern to them. Medical and insurance coverage for people 65 and older have undergone many changes since the 1980s. Most senior citizens are very vocal about their displeasure with the way Medicare is addressing the problems, and they are also worried about what the future might hold. The costs of health care and medication needs are extremely high for senior citizens as a whole. Every year they are fearful of having their benefits cut even further, and now they have new worries regarding medical care.

Groups at Risk

It has been just a few short weeks since Governor Sara Palin galvanized many citizens with her predictions and comments about “death panels” and nationalized health care. While there were many people who rallied around her statements, the mere possibility of such radical notions began sending shock waves through the nation. This was particularly unnerving to a large percentage of our elderly population. It was also causing concern among advocates for the poor and disabled. Even parents and caretakers of people with physical and mental challenges were becoming alarmed, and feeling threatened.

Future Allocation of Health Care Resources?

Could it be possible that Medical professionals would possibly agree to form commissions that would allocate health care resources to those they deemed most deserving? This thought was both frightening and “Orwellian” in prospect. A careful review showed that there was no written documentation that actually stated such possibilities, but this did not alleviate the fear and worry of many ordinary citizens. Just the idea that access to hospitalization or medication needs might one day be restricted was enough to generate small scale panic in many communities across the nation.

Problems, Problems, Problems

Medical concerns, health care and affordable medication plans are major sources of worry for everyone today. Insurance coverage is very expensive. There is a growing trend among companies to provide less employee and family benefits in order to cut costs. In some cases this is making it difficult for employees to participate in the insurance plans being offered by their employers. However a growing number of families are too cash strapped to afford health insurance premiums on their own. This is creating a “Catch 22” type of environment with people unable to afford the cost of becoming sick as well as the cost of being insured.

The Answer is Cooperation

It is hard to know where the main problems are within the health industry. Some people want to find fault with the high paid physicians and medical specialists and others point the finger of blame at hospitals that seem to be pulling in billions of dollars annually, yet are constantly complaining having too little money. Malpractice lawyers, government regulations and insurance companies have also played a part in today’s health care woes. The answer is not going to be easy to find, and every group associated with the medical industry will need to step up to the plate and help out.

Health Care A Populist Solution

It should be obvious by now that the U.S. health care system is not going to be happily corrected from the top down. If we truly had a free-market competitive system with many insurance companies vying for the public’s business, that should bring prices of their service down, right?

How can our President be an honest broker in a negotiation with the fabulously wealthy health insurance corporations, the pharmaceutical industry, and others who were major contributors to his election? It simply is not going to happen. These folks have spent a lot of money and time to get their corporations into a position where they have got the most profitable game in town, and — as we have seen with the heavy Wall Street influence on this administration — they are not going to be forced to give it all up, just to make the American people happy.

An article recently appeared in the newspaper by T.R. Reid, which gives a rundown of the administrative costs of various health insurance plans around the world, with ours included. The U.S. topped them all at 20% being spent on paperwork, reviewing claims, and marketing. The European countries and Canada ran about 4-6% administrative costs. Taiwan came in the lowest at 1.5%! It shouldn’t require private detective sleuthing around the corridors of power in Washington to help us figure out that Americans are under the thumb of an uncompetitive and — I may as well say it — corrupt system.

We have a system where the people with the most to gain, “gain access” to our political leaders with the help of well-connected lobbyists to get their views heard. Then, when election time rolls around, mega-contributions flow into the appropriate party’s account in return for favorable legislation that allows the corporations to maintain their strangle-hold on our shrinking American economy. It’s all a highly-ritualized dance here, but in any Third-World country the same general process is called corruption and influence-buying. The results are the same, whatever we call it.

So how do we, as a nation, break free of the hold the Health Care Industry has on our economy? It is really very simple. We must use one of the few freedoms we have left: Boycott these industries that have been overcharging us for years. And give up the naive notion that your elected representatives will negotiate a fairer deal(for you and me) with the industries that paid to put them into office.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “If I give up my current health insurance and something happens to me or one of my family, we’d be sunk!” You have a point, there.

It’s a shame to live in fear of something, out of your control happening to you, isn’t it? But what about the elements of your health that you CAN control? So much of our long term disability develops from simple everyday choices we make that lead to our weight gain, or whether we smoke, whether we drink too much. These are all controllable if we choose. I choose — do you?

Are you doing everything you can to reduce your need for health care? There are many peer-reviewed medical studies showing the health benefits of a primarily vegetarian diet, combined with daily cardiovascular exercise, being very effective at reducing bad cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, etc. Are you availing yourself and your family of these proven do-it-yourself healthcare measures?

Both Health Reimbursement and Health Savings Accounts Offer More Treatment Options and Lower Costs

If you can afford to enroll in a Health Savings Account and live with a $5000 deductible health insurance policy, this has many advantages, not the least of which is slashing the tribute you pay for unused medical care you will get through a standard health care policy. If you are in a high-risk profession where major injury is possible, then this may not work for you. For most people, however, it will.

How about we boycott the pharmaceutical drug industry to the extent we can?

Take a hard look at the prescription drugs you and your family take. How many are really necessary? In many cases, Big Pharma has just cooked up drugs that are letting you slide by without changing your unhealthy habits of eating, drinking, smoking, and not enough physical activity. They have dreamed up new “medical conditions” like GERD (gastric reflux) which in many cases is just caused by what used to be called indigestion — you ate a bunch of greasy, fatty food just before bed and, as your stomach churned and labored to digest this overly-rich mess, the stomach acid backed up your esophagus. Are you willing to stop eating like that, to save yourself money and be part of a movement to get the attention of the pharmaceutical industry?

Are you willing to quit eating pepperoni pizza for a midnight snack? What ARE you willing to do to get your freedom back from the sickness-care and prepared food industries who are getting rich off a tag team attack on your health?

In these hard times — and no, the downturn is far from over — wouldn’t it be smart to stop paying so much for fattening foods and the medical problems they cause?

Go down the list of pharmaceuticals you take, read some books on the subject of legitimate alternative diet and health practices that would make these drugs unnecessary. Then, take personal action yourself to correct the problem. I must warn you, under threat of prosecution, that if your doctor has you on statin drugs or some other major medication, that you must get the help of another doctor to help wean you off them. Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have some good books out that can give you solid proof that what I am saying is true and do-able.

Dr. Esselstyn has a list of health care professionals on his Web site who can help transition you off many pharmaceutical meds. Another good source for this information is Dr. John McDougall — offered for free on his Web site.

It can be done, the only question is whether the American consumer of so-called health care products and services will have the courage and gumption to do anything about it. The average American has a clear choice here: to continue their comfortable habits, even though they are growing slowly fatter and sicker, or to make a stand for freedom, when all the odds are stacked against them? It won’t be easy, but nothing feels as good as freedom and trouncing a bunch of rich fat-cats who have been ripping you off for years!

Our politicians don’t care as much about our little votes as they desperately seek the huge campaign contributions of the Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance Industries. We have no power unless we learn — and we can learn — to live without most of these rip-off-priced health care services.

It will take a consumer revolt — a Boycott — over a period of time, to get the attention of the industries that own the political power in the USA.

All Big Pharma understands is the bottom line. If their sales in this country go down, they will be forced to listen and do something. (Have you read the list of side-effects? You are better off not consuming these pills anyway — there are legitimate doctors who can provide you with healthy alternatives.)

What we need to do is make it clear that Big Health Insurance is next on our boycott list

To a great extent, what I am proposing is already taking place. Many people, like me (and perhaps you, too?) are offended by the high costs and narrow options for treatment our present medical/insurance system offers, so we’re not participating. The Obama administration has made some noises about making it compulsory that everyone — Everyone?! — pay into a health insurance system, except Senators and Congressmen and -women and, of course the President. We’ll see how that goes over.

Most of the diseases that kill us and those that disable us are preventable. Our diet is the biggest source of our fatal diseases. We have been brainwashed since childhood to overlook this obvious culprit that causes us so much pain and frustration. It is up to us to start seeing the elephant in the room and retake our freedom and a large part of our personal budget back from the people who are profiting off our food-caused sickness.

The only question is, ” How much abuse will Americans take at the hands of the overpriced Health Care Industry before we stop being played for suckers?”

Stop begging the politicians for help and get healthy. It’s free! Show the Symptom-Relief industry you don’t need them any more!

Then prices will come down as we negotiate from a position of power. Cut out the middlemen — the insurance industry — and pay cash for services you want. That’s how the consumer gets a bargain in any negotiation, not by asking the federal government to add a new layer of bureaucratic expense.

Health Care Reform Or Not

Health policy in the U.S. heavily relies on the strategy of denial. Health care costs eat up over 16% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The typical American works two months out of every year just to cover medical treatment! Or, to put it another way, in 2007 the U.S. spent an average $7,421 per resident for health care. That same year, total medical costs were rising at 6.1% annually – far higher than the rate of GDP growth. What could you do with an extra $7,421 each year for every member of your family?

If you are healthy, you may think this cost does not apply to you. While the cost is an average, think about all the places that health care costs are hiding.

Federal income taxes – to pay for Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs

State taxes – to pay for the state’s share of Medicaid and other programs

Your health premiums – the amount you pay each month to your employer or an insurance company to cover just being insured (if you have insurance)

Your out-of-pocket costs – your part of the bill when you go to the doctor or emergency room, are admitted to the hospital, buy a prescription, or use any other health care service. If you have insurance, notice that every year you likely pay more to get less in coverage.

Part of every purchase – no matter what you buy, from an electronic gadget to clothes, school supplies, a car or bike, or food, health care costs are hidden in the purchase price. Why? For one thing, the seller has to pay taxes too, and part of its taxes goes for health care programs. Second, the seller is likely providing health care insurance to its employees, with a hefty tab skyrocketing year after year. The seller needs to cover those costs somehow, and you’ve been nominated.

Seventy five percent of the costs ($5,566 for you and each family member) go to treat people with chronic illness. In other words, those suffering from high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune disease, skin and eye diseases, sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and more. The painful list goes on and on. Money is only a minor part of the human cost.

Whether or not there is health care reform will make only a tiny difference in the long run. The soaring costs are not sustainable because other parts of the economy simply can’t keep up. If costs keep mounting as they are, engulfing a bigger part of our national resources each year, it won’t matter who pays or how. Because no one will have that much money and the system will slide downhill.

The only way to permanently construct a sane health care plan is to have people make meaningful changes in their lifestyle. This means reducing the risk of getting a chronic illness.

Eating a plant-based diet of whole foods is the single most critical action you can take to lower costs and stay well enough to survive the imploding system. This choice is for you to make, not Congress. Breathe easy that you can stay largely outside the polarizing health care debate and hospitals both if you make the best lifestyle choices. And that is not as hard as you might think.

If you are already ill and need treatment, this may be of little comfort. If we drastically reduced, as a nation, the total cost of health care through better diet and other great decisions (such as quitting smoking), there will be plenty to go around to take care of each and every sick person. We won’t need to skimp on anyone.

Don’t discount the healing power of a whole foods diet. You may feel a lot better even before we get to that long-awaited day when everyone gets the highest quality care.

Will the health care system be public, private, or a little bit of both once we get costs under control? We would have the luxury of debating options at that point because we could afford to! So let’s get out of denial and start building a healthier nation now. It starts with you.

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.

The Health Care Evolution

Nurses are at the forefront of an evolutionary wave in health care. Whether we take leadership or not will determine nursing’s future.

These ten trends can revitalize nursing if nurses break free from the confines of the medical model and use their education and skills to become wave riders.

1. Aging Boomers
Boomers are living longer. Quantity of life is driving a desire for better quality of life. This generation wants to learn how to stay vital, mobile, healthy and productive. They are looking for guidance in health promotion and wellness, not only disease prevention and treatment.

2. A 2nd Boom
Boomers Grandchildren are driving a huge demand for family health information and support for new and working moms. From birthing to family health education and sick child care, family systems need and want professional advice and innovative strategies to raise a brighter, stronger next generation.

3. Information explosion
Internet access provides health consumers with tons of information, but not the knowledge or wisdom to know how to use it without getting confused. They need knowledgeable health professionals as gatekeepers, trusted advisors, or health system navigators.

4. Holism
People are increasingly spending out of pocket dollars for alternative and complementary health care. Nursing education focuses on systems, whole person, life cycle perspectives that can guide in selecting appropriate options along a continuum of care.

5. Consumer driven health care
As consumers rely less on employer health coverage and more on personal health spending, they are seeking innovative and home based solutions for care including advanced home monitoring, telephone consultation, personalized care, and individualized treatment.

6. High Tech – High Touch
The need for personal connection, listening, and caring has never been higher. Nurses consistently rank first in every consumer poll for most trusted professional.

7. Shortages and Cost Containment
Professional shortages and a drive to contain costs, creates a push to use mid-level and low-level providers for technical care. Nurses will continue to be driven away from the institutional bed side. With decreasing numbers of people in institutional care, face to face professional health care will be delivered in the home and community.

8. Accessibility
Health information and care will be delivered on a global, mobile, remote, phone and internet basis. Nursing phone advice lines are increasingly popular with consumers.

9. Back to Basics
With increased interest in information and coaching on proper food and nutrition, supplements, stretching, meditation, simplicity, life balance, joy in work, and relationships wellness and health coaching is a growing field.

10. Self-Care/Self-Responsibility
People are realizing that doctors, medication and illness care are not going to keep them well. Employers, third party payers and common sense are driving consumers to take health care into their own hands. This trend will continue to drive an increase in self care information and reduction in in-patient and long term care.