Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Health Care

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Health Care

Back to the issues...


I work in the field so I know a little bit about this.

Unless you are the poorest of the poor and are lucky enough to know about welfare and Medicaid you are paying for health insurance.

Some of you who are not in the 45,000,000 (that's million) who don't have health insurance may have noticed that your premiums (in whatever shape or form they come) have gone up.

This is a compilation of many many things that weigh down the healthcare industry and make it more expensive. The costs of drugs are so high because of regulations that have been imposed to protect patient safety. The costs of procedures and doctors visits are up because of health insurance companies making a profit from raising your premiums, and paying out less than what they are charged for the procedures. Loose loose for the doctors right?

Another thing is the litigation and malpractice suits that occur. However, this is a minimal influence on the total cost of health care. Despite what Bush will tell you. (fact check) By capping the malpractice suits' rewards the jury is still out as to how much of an effect if at all it will have on total health care costs. But there is at least one study which says it can save 5-9% of total health care costs (in the tens or into 100 billion dollars).

Now for those of you who think that a lawyer can't fix the legal system, or that lawyers don't belong in Washington and certainly not in the White House, guess what. Over 80% of the people in congress and in the Bush administration are lawyers.

Lawyers understand the law and that is why they should be the people writing the law.

I digress. Health Care is a huge problem in this capitalist society but it is the nature of the beast. This country with all its lobbies will probably never have Socialized medicine. Even though if all other things were the same except instead of paying the health insurance companies your premium you would pay the premiums to the government, you would have the most successful social health care program in the world.

Governments don't need to be involved in your decisions with your doctor just because they are running the program. They just write the checks and as long as those checks are going toward clinically proven practices they should be paid.

One thing that will never change is this. No lawyer can ever dictate what a doctor does. The American Medical Association, and entities like it are the ones governing the practice of medicine. If a doctor does something wrong by mistake that is one thing, but a doctor will never prescribe a drug or perform a procedure without it having a clinical study to prove itself to that doctor.

The candidates plans on this are easy to put forth:

  • Socialized medicine like I described above. That just means that your taxes will go up a bit (probably around 15% I am estimating) but you wont be paying a health insurance company if you don't want to.
  • However, everyone in America will have health care.

  • A bit more conservative all he wants to do is expand Medicare coverage to include about 27 million more people. No cost to anybody except the top 2 tax brackets. They will have to roll back to the level of paying taxes that they were when Clinton was in office. Don't worry if you are making $200,000 can easily afford another 3.5 percent.
  • Kerry plans to put caps on medical malpractice suits to lower their influence (he claims it is less than 1% of the total cost but I didn't find a good fact check on that).
  • He also wants to give small businesses a tax cut if they cover more of the costs of health care premiums for their workers.
  • He also wants to reimport the same drugs from Canada that were shipped there from American companies. These drugs are cheaper and the same in terms or safety. However, he also has legislation that checks the safety of these drugs (make the labels third-world-country-proof).
  • Kerry also wants to put the buying power (and this is something any republican can understand) back into Medicare. They can buy in bulk and as such can force the prices down.

  • Stay the course. Hasn't done anything so far in fact 5 million people lost their health care insurance during his term.
  • He has not put forth a plan to help drop down the costs except maybe cap malpractice suits. Which Kerry also proposes.
  • OK, he gave a prescription drug coverage to seniors. However, this plan increased the cost out of pockets and forced Seniors to join HMO's for the same amount of coverage. Of course by taking Medicare's size out of the equation you increase the costs of drugs.

So there is where the candidate's stand. Even if you have health care, you should be caring about the time when you might not have health care.