Friday, August 21, 2009
Don't Let The President Cop Out On Public Health Plan!
If you have been keeping track of the news lately, or have attended one of the many public forums/town hall meetings around the country regarding Healthcare reform by the Federal Government, you have noticed as I have, of late a very disturbing spin. That is, the President SEEMED to be cooling his jets on the most important part of the Federal Healthcare reform that HE RAN ON, in his campaign.
That is, the creation of a USA-government-run National Health Care plan, which will FINALLY bring the USA out of the dark ages, in which we were supposed to trust our lives, limbs and happiness to the graciousness and mercy of several FOR-PROFIT-ONLY insurance companies. Well, we see how THAT has worked out, don't we?
Ever have problems getting your prescription filled because your insurance company decided to DROP that particular medicine that an expert has ordered, because THEY say it costs too much?! Or had to switch Primary Care Providers (like your family doctor that you have seen for years, who knows you and your family and provides competent care) to satisfy the requirements of your new job's insurance plan? Most people in the USA who are LUCKY ENOUGH to have any sort of medical insurance, have dealt with these kinds of hassles. There are horror stories galore about how some one's spouse or father DIED because an insurance company "bean-counter" denied the necessary treatment or procedure. This is much of what is heard at the forums/town meetings that President Obama has called for.
But, there are nearly 50 million Americans that have no health coverage whatsoever!! That's more people than the population of most entire COUNTRIES in the world! Take Spain for example,--they emerged with a socialist/capitalist system after suffering decades under a terrible US-supported dictator (Francisco Franco)--they have a population of 40,491,052. Ever last person is guaranteed medical treatment, for free. It is a human right there, paid for by taxpayers, just like the military, tobacco subsidies and all those huge prisons we pay for in the "free" USA.
In fact the US is the only industrialized, modern nation that denies our own citizens the right to National Healthcare. All the countries in Europe have enjoyed this for YEARS! Canada and Mexico have it! Why should we, the hope of the free world, the great military super-power, not cover Healthcare as a RIGHT? Is this logical? Is this fair? Just? Humane? Hell no!
What we have now is feudalism--corporate feudalism, where instead of the King deciding if the peasants get fed, clothed or have wounds treated, we have the Insurance companies and their actuaries and computers making the decisions. Not even your doctor can practice medicine freely anymore. S/he has to see first what your insurance will cover, then chose the closest option to the proper treatment for your problem.
You may ask, "does he know what he is talking about?" And that is a fair question one should always ask. The answer is "yes I do." Please check my facts--search the information yourself, it only takes a few minutes. And I speak from personal experience, both as a physician and as a patient. I left the practice of Medicine because I could not, under the US rules, practice medicine freely, and in good conscience let accountants and fat-cat CEOs of Humana, Sutter and Kaiser-Permanente (just to name a few) make the decisions for my patients' health instead of me. Why did I go all those years to medical school and residency? To become an expert at what I did. Yet apparently, I should have been an insurance executive or a cop to practice medicine--because those are the people making the decisions about YOUR (and MY) healthcare! As a patient, I have also experienced the very examples I cited above--I know how it is. I also, during Medical School at the University Of Louisville (KY, USA) was privileged to be able to work for two months in a Family medicine clinic in Pozuelo, Spain. Pozuelo is a suburb of the capital, Madrid. I saw that no one had to pay, and no one was turned away. The doctors, we just ordered the correct treatments and it got done--pronto. I also found that the Spanish government was paying the equivalent of $9.00 (1990 figures) to the drug companies for Prozac (fluoxetine) for a patient's monthly prescription, while at that time the average cost in a US pharmacy (with "good" insurance) was $60.00 to the patient. I realized then, as a fourth-year medical student that something was extremely RIGHT in Denmark, but it stank like shit in the USA. I was embarrassed when my colleagues asked about our health-care delivery system's details. In fact, as part of my project there, I gave a 2-hour formal presentation, with slides, handouts, etc. to the staff and the Family Practice residents and med students about OUR system. The doctors and staff could not believe their ears! They were appalled. They asked me, "how does your country spend trillions of dollars on nuclear missiles, and even has three military bases IN SPAIN, and you don't have HEALTHCARE?!" Red-faced, this was a question I had no easy answer for. Finally, I mustered up an answer that led to 2 basic issues--1. Capitalism, that values money more than human life and happiness and 2. Greed, which with the Reagan/Bush era at that time, was publicly and officially a VIRTUE.
So, in my informed opinion, the ONLY answer to the crisis that Mr. Obama has inherited from the people who CAUSED IT (Bush, Reagan, Nixon, Bush etc) is a true National Public Healthcare that we fund via taxes, for OUR benefit. We are supposed to be granted "life, liberty and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS." In my book, free healthcare is ESSENTIAL to the latter.
We MUST force the President, and Congress, especially the Democratic majorities, to pass a real, true Public Healthcare Plan, administered by the government (which by the way would CREATE and support a LOT of jobs)!
Please join me and other outraged compassionate Americans in demanding what is our birthright as a human! Please add your voice, while your throat is still in good-enough condition to speak (seriously.) It is WAY OVERDUE and this is the opportunity to make this vital change. It is now or never.