Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fixing Health Care

If there is one issue that best highlights the total abdication of personal responsibility, it is the issue of health care, specifically the "right" to free health care in this country.

One of the reasons I added George W to the list of Conservative Lite politicians is his leanings toward spending more. One component of this was the prescription drug benefit added to Medicare. Another was the SCHIP program, which, thanks to Bush and the Republicans, did not become the next step into socialized medicine. However, every politician (with a few exceptions, which I didn't feel like looking up) seems ready to expand this program to help the poor. By poor, they mean Democrat voters.

It used to be when you were injured, you wrapped it up with a rag (clean, if possible) and duct tape and hoped it didn't fester before it healed. Or if you were sick, you waited until you started bringing up major organs before you made a trip to the doctor. This summer, I dropped the backseat of a van on my leg while falling over a bicycle. I had at least one deep puncture, plenty of other gouges, and actually got the shakes from the trauma. After a little peroxide, some gauze, tape, and a beer, I felt better. I'm not even sure which doctor I'd go to if I didn't feel good. I'd probably just sit there and try to patch myself up. My philosophy is to go to the doctor only if I can't take care of it myself.

But the idea of being able to go to the hospital for nothing to let them patch me up is tempting. After all, everybody has a right to good health care, right?

I have no problem with emergency rooms treating people (even illegals) without concern for payment when it really is an emergency. I understand the need to help out people who are on the bottom rung financially, especially if their children would otherwise get no medical care at an age where they can't yet communicate what is going wrong. But the idea that health care is a right is not only absent from the Constitution, but is patently absurd. Even now, stories of people fleeing countries with "universal" socialized medicine to seek treatment here are filtering into the mainstream press. And we are headed for the same thing here. We have become obsessed with the idea that everything can be treated and fixed and healed if only the doctors can do a few more tests. And if you can't pay for it, why can't government?

Simply put, everyone is responsible for their own health. Far too many people surrender that responsibility, expecting others to pay the price. And lawyers are lined up to sue any doctor that makes any mistake, no matter how small; and insurance companies facing constant demands for every treatment, to such a degree that they make horrible mistakes that cost lives in the name of saving money. And all the while, the doctors keep raising prices to keep up with the malpractice insurance. And the prices go up because the government only pays so much.

Okay, that's too confusing for me. Almost makes me wish for the days when the doctors made house calls and half the population died in their forties.

I don't have good answer to fixing this health care mess, but I know that answer has less to do with the government than anything else. Whatever the answer is, it has to rest more on the individual. So for today's blog, let's get simple: I Googled to find The Heath Care Blog and this link has a neat graph giving all the candidates' (major, minor, eliminated, and Kucinich) positions on various parts of the health care mess.

1 comment:

F@tman said...

Ok, let's get started with discussing the Right to Good Healthcare.

Despite it not being in the Constitution, universal healthcare is something that benefit both the sick and those who treat the sick. Now, I agree with the school of thought that if you can fix it, then fix it. Don't drain the collective system when the problem can be self-managed. God knows I've bumped, scraped, cut, burned and nearly hanged myself enough times, but the injuries were never really life-threatening. Hence, I took care of it myself (or sometimes with a little help from the wife).

Being that I live in such a small country, the amount of tax that we pay should ensure that when Good Healthcare is needed, it is at hand without having to fork over hundreds of dollars for the simplest of treatments.

However, here, access to Good Healthcare is as rare as hens teeth. The system, despite being funded by high taxes and levies against our income and motor vehicle licening, continues to sink into a hole of consumerism. The healtcare industry is more-or-less privatised and what is available in the public health system isn't really worth mentioning. There are long waits in the Emergency Rooms and even longer waits on the public surgery lists, even for acute cases.

And, despite the privtisation of the healthcare system, doctors are leaving our shores in droves because they aren't making enough money. I guess buying your third sports car is more important than doing the job that you obligated themselves to. Hipocratic Oath, my ass. Should be the Hypocritical Oath