Expressing Concerns About Health Care Reform
- Patrick DeHeer DPM FACFAS
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If you are like me, you are concerned about what is going to happen with health care reform but are kind of tired of all the rhetoric you hear each day from both sides of the debate.
Clearly, the system is broken and cannot sustain itself at its current rate of growth. Additionally, the number of uninsured and underinsured is disgraceful for one of the wealthiest countries in the world. I do not consider myself too liberal but I do think health care is an individual right -- not a luxury -- if you can afford it.
I am not a political expert and I realize there are complexities to making sure everyone has adequate medical care regardless of income. However, deep in your heart and, intellectually, you have to know that everyone has a right to adequate health care. I have been in some of the poorest countries in the world, working inside their health care systems and somehow everyone receives health care. Sure, there is no doubt that the wealthy get higher quality care. Most of the physicians in these countries work both in public settings (which are funded by the government) and private settings (where they make the majority of their income). If these countries can do it, why can’t we?
I have had some firsthand experience with the Canadian system recently. I had a woman e-mail me on behalf of her husband in regard to an article I had written for Podiatry Today on Baxter’s Neuritis. He had seen 13 doctors over ten years and had been diagnosed with this condition. He had about everything done under the sun without resolution of his symptoms. He was in so much pain his quality of life was clearly being affected. Nobody in Canada would do surgery on him and was left to suffer needlessly.
After several e-mails back and forth, the couple made the trip from Ontario to Indiana to see me. I confirmed his prior diagnosis and recommended surgery for him. They were willing to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket so he could get back to living the life he desired. They approached their local Minister of Health and presented their case for review. Basically, the Canadian government agreed to pay for his procedure in full. I am not sure what this means in terms of changes to our system, but this does not bode well as a potential model.
I have long thought of insurance companies of middle men who do little more than take 30 percent out of the system for dispersing funds from the public to health care providers and facilities. Why not get rid of them and use a non-profit organization to manage the funds and regulate the system? Just think what could be done with that 30 percent for the uninsured and under-insured! Why are all the large buildings in big cities insurance companies? How many buildings does Anthem need in Indianapolis?
Middle men do not make, create, serve, care for or contribute to anything. They are just users, kind of like bookies. Enough already.