My confused thoughts on healthcare reform (if anyone cares)

What I’m sure of:

1.  The health care system as it exists now doesn’t work efficiently or effectively for the benefit of all. I also concede that in the current insurance plans, there is already a nameless bureaucrat or a group of them deciding what medical procedures I’m allowed to get.

2.  The government is not the best at managing large services like this. I can’t think of a single federal government experience where you frequently feel like you’ve dealt with competent people who do an efficient job.  Also,  I am almost always torn between the belief that smaller government is better and the knowledge that there is no limit to the greed of those in power at large corporations.  I don’t believe profit and stock prices are so important that exploiting people, lying and cheating  is an acceptable means to an end.  So I concede that there will have to be some kind of government regulation or oversight because consumers who should be the ones who vote with their $$s in the free enterprise system can be lazy.  We don’t want to know what the ugly truth is as long as we can purchase what we want when we want it and get it cheaply.

3.  Costs are out of control. As a consumer of health care, you are not sure exactly what you are buying and how they come up with the rates they charge. The prescription drug business is also out of control.  I still don’t understand why they need to advertise nationally for very specific medicine (take schizophrenia medicine, for example)  if it’s not to justify their exorbitant pricing.  I understand that they invest significant $$ to create and test drugs so maybe their copyrights should last longer before generics can start production. I’m not against them making a reasonable profit.  (Don’t get me started on the whole FDA approval based on tests paid for by the pharm companies)

4.  It’s unrealistic for me to believe that less than $100 a month per person premium and a $20 copay for Dr’s visit or prescriptions should be my only health care obligations. I expect that a system that works will probably end up costing me more in some way.  I’m OK with that if we end up with a system that serves us all better.   While I don’t really believe health care is a ‘right’,  I don’t believe it should be a luxury and I am more than happy for my tax dollars to assist those who can’t work have access to great health care as well as those who work hard but health care is still out of their reach for a myriad of different reasons.

5.  Special interest groups have a louder voice than we do and our governing leaders (on both sides) are more self motivate than service motivated, consequently I don’t know who to trust or believe.

Just a few of the things  I’m unsure of:

1.  Where is the detailed study of the current system’s failures? Where are the worst inefficiencies and wastes?  What are the areas where insurance companies, hospitals, or doctors are exploiting the system to exponentially increase their profit?  Where are the opportunities for fraud by insurance companies, doctors or patients? Are there unnecessary obstacles in the current system that could be eliminated easily?  Do any of the plans on the table specifically address these issues and close the gaps?  If so, how?  I’ve tried to read the bill that is constantly referred to, I really have.  But I don’t understand the legal language or the references to changes to the existing laws or policies.  I haven’t heard anyone spell it out clearly with the sincere intent to inform.  I only hear them pouring gas on whichever side of the fire they are standing on.  I don’t believe that Congress really understands the problem so they can’t possibly really care about a good solution.  I believe that Congress NEEDS us to believe they are doing something but this is all just a political game NOT a sincere governing process.

2.  Is there a system that anyone can point to that shows us “this is the benchmark” or even this is as close to the benchmark that anyone has gotten? Or are we just grabbing random band aids to put on a critically injured patient?  That’s what it feels like when I hear the feeble attempts to explain this plan (that is really multiple plans).

3.  Other than hearing people say the public plan won’t put the current insurance companies out of business, I haven’t heard any actual evidence of that. I’m no fan of insurance companies.  I don’t believe they are benevolent benefactors for their customers anymore than I believe our Congressmen and women are benevolent governors BUT I don’t hear anyone saying that this plan could work without viable private insurance options.

4.  How are we going to pay for this indefinitely? I don’t buy the whole we’ll pay for 2/3 of it by eliminating current waste.  Really?  Because the government are professionals of identifying wasteful spending!  The current administration promised we’d be cutting other wasteful spending in government and I’ve seen very little cutting and a whole lot of new spending.  In my own personal budget, that doesn’t add up to a maintainable plan.  Of course, I can’t print my own money or call China for a loan.  Neither of those options are good long term fixes for our country or our economy as far as I can tell.

5.  Why the rush? It’s a huge problem. It needs a huge solution.  It’s going to take a deliberate and intentional process to fix it or build a new one.  The rush is a politically motivated strategy not a solution motivated strategy.  I don’t believe any plan is better than none.  The system doesn’t work well now but it could be a lot worse.

6.  Where are the Republicans? I haven’t seen any good alternative coming from them?  Politically, their best move is to stir up the fan base with inflammatory phrases like “death squad” and “government paid for abortion”, etc.  The dems should have been able to push this through because they control everything.  So, there is obviously a lack of consensus in their camp.  I suppose politically it makes sense for Republicans to sit back and watch the fall out.  BUT THAT ISN’T GOVERNING!  I’ve always been told if I’m going to point out a problem, I need to come with a solution.  Where is your solution?  Don’t think for one minute I am going to blindly follow you because the obnoxious conservative talking heads tell me I should.  I expect to see some leadership or I will be looking for other options come election time.  (yeah, I know . . . like they care.)

I wish I had a solution to offer.  I don’t. I don’t even understand all the questions and issues at play.    But I do know there needs to be real discussion of all the issues.  This needs to be a de-politicized conversation or it will never work. I don’t think the current environment around this discussion is going to offer that kind of opportunity.  So I ask again, why the rush?  Isn’t it better to get it right?

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