Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's In It for Me? What are our obligations to each other?

As what passes for a health care debate rages all around us, I have come to realize that between the polarized extremes there exists a very important group of people who are the key to what will happen this fall, and that is the large group of Americans who have health insurance and who are worried they may lose advantages in any reform. All of the noise in our media is an attempt to reach this group, who are likely asking, "What's in it for me"?

I believe that those who currently have health insurance and good access to medical care would be well advised to support proposed health care reform for the following reasons:
  • They may lose their insurance coverage! Right now, 14,000 insured people lose their coverage every day when they lose their job or the employer cannot continue to afford benefits, and that number is expected to increase greatly with current trends.
  • Business can't afford the increasing costs! Under the current system, costs are expected to double during the next 10 years.
  • Young people are priced out of the system! Those looking for work at the beginning of their careers are most likely to get jobs without benefits, leaving them uncovered and raising the cost for all others.
  • Insurance often does not work when you need it, even if you have it! The for profit system is full of people who work hard to "ration your care" by figuring out how not to pay for things.
  • The payment system must be reformed! Our current mess of a non system is caused by the payment incentive and lack of incentives we now have.
  • Quality is often lacking! A sad and poorly understood fact is that even people with good insurance get the recommended care they should have only about 1/4 of the time. The care is not organized in a way that allows most doctors to manage their patients the best way possible.
  • They may lose their doctor! Very few medical students are going in to the primary care disciplines, due primarily to the fact that they cannot afford to. Retiring family doctors are not being replaced. Reform which supports primary care is crucial to attracting the best and brightest into primary care.

When all is said and done, however, thinking just about ourselves misses one of the most important reasons for reform. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is, what are our obligations to each other? Our entire American society is engaged in global competition with all the countries on earth for the innovations, jobs, products and benefits of the world to come. We must have a society with well educated, healthy and productive citizens to secure the benefits of the future. Our companies need a level playing field that does not saddle them with the unequal and exorbitant costs of a failed system.

If the the future is scary to you, it is really not because of the risk of changing, but because we might not change. Don't be fooled.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the negative wing nuts on the right attacked the current system with the same passion they bringto the imagined problems with reform, that would really be scary! Thanks for a very sensible view ofthis.

Jakers said...

Dr. Dave, can you help me dig deeper? I want to know more about these real issues and where I can find the facts about healthcare in this country.

David A. Lynch, M.D. said...

TJakers,

I have tried to make this site is a good place to start.There are over 30 articles on this site, each about a different facet of reform, and all with links to supporting information. In addition, there are news articles updated constantly, and special links.

Greta said...

Your comparison here is to doing nothing. Doing the things recommended by the republican party and two bipartisan plans does reform in a way that makes far more practical sense. Why can't we have several bills, have the people in the end given the chance to vote on the best bill rather than having this thing from the liberal left rammed down everyone's throat?
You could also make other changes to healthcare and health insurance in seperate bills that come in staggered form over time, maybe when we are not faced with 10% unemployment.

The bill now in front of the house is a clear move by the federal government to take greater control of the economy as they have with the auto industry, banking, and soon energy. When they are done, the congress will have massive control over every aspect of American life in as close to a socialist state as one could find. If Bush were doing half what this group is doing, the left and the MSM would be calling for impeachment.