Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to fix the healthcare crisis

I have never once had a blue patient come into ER and while hearing the following conversation between doctor and RT:

"Does this man have insurance?" the doctor said.

"No!" answered the nurse.

"Well, then stop bagging."

Not only would that be unethical, it's illegal inside the United States. In this way, whether a patient can afford it or not, no person can be turned down for services.

But most patients who come into the ER aren't blue, and could easily be seen by a family practitioner. These patients come to the ER not because the doctor's office is closed, but because they are on Medicaid or Medicare, and their healthcare is "free."

As I discussed earlier, it's these patients that are driving up the cost of medicine. So, how do we get these patients to think twice about going to the ER.

Keep in mind, that if they need to be in the ER they need to be there. I'm not trying to prevent an Asthmatic from going to the ER when he's really short-of-breath.

But for that adult with a common cold, or old man with a slight headache or nose bleed, or that kid with a mole on his finger that's been there his whole life, they need to stay home like most people who pay for their insurance stay home.

How do we keep them there?

My proposal, which will be severely criticized I am sure, is to make these people pay at least $5. Perhaps this would make them think a minute before wobbling into the hospital. Demand would go down, and the cost of medicine would go down too.

This $5 does not seem to much, considering most people in poverty have no problem finding money to buy beer and cigarettes and food.

I watched a program yesterday on CNN about there being no options for this one lady who was over 500 pounds and in poverty. My point is, if she is in poverty, how did she get so obese.

It's a free country, and people can be out of shape, can smoke, can eat all they want without worrying about the consequenses all they want. People also have a constitutional right to be stupid. And they also have a constitutional duty to do their part and pay for their health care, the same way they pay for all that other stuff.

And when these patients get that $5 bill in the mail from Shoreline hospital, they can toss that bill in the trash and, by law, Shoreline hospital will still be required by law to take care of that patient the next time he has a medical "emergency."

Yet they will still be accountable.

The Declaration of Independence states that we, as humans, are born with "unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The key word there being pursuit of Happiness, as the purpose of the United States Government is to create an atmosphere where people can prosper if they so choose, it does not state that the government has to guarantee them this right.

Thus, Americans have the right to pursue healthcare, not a right to healthcare system.

However flawed our healthcare system is, it is still the best healthcare system in the world. If you don't believe me, just wait until Uncle Sam controls all the rest of it.

6 comments:

Nikki said...

These healthcare posts are awesome. You may be next in line for my featured blog link. I think this will be important for the current debate and rhetorical promises from some candidates....I will ask permission before I link one of your articles. But I think they are well written and infomative....thanks Nikki

Nikki said...

These healthcare posts are awesome. You may be next in line for my featured blog link. I think this will be important for the current debate and rhetorical promises from some candidates....I will ask permission before I link one of your articles. But I think they are well written and infomative....thanks Nikki

Mike said...

Freadom, I think that your premise is incorrect. Most people who use the ER for non-emergency care do not do so because they are too cheap or lazy to go to a GP. They use the ER because they have no insurance and cannot afford to see a regular doctor. (Would a doctor even take a patient who doesn't have insurance?) So I think that your $5 solution would not work.

Healthcare should be viewed as a basic human right, not as a luxury item reserved for those well-off enough to afford it.

"However flawed our healthcare system is, it is still the best healthcare system in the world."

I'd be interested to know what you base that claim on.

Freadom said...

I'm sure there is a better way to fix the healthcare crises than mine, as I'm no expert. However, how is it that a person is born with the inalienable right to healthcare?

I do not think that most people who have healthcare are well off. In fact, the #1 incentive for me to pursue my job as an RT was to receive health insurance.

Mike said...

Health care is an inalienable right because there is a basic set of amenities (for lack of a better word) that all people deserve, in order to create a minimally equitable existence for everyone.

Khaki Elephant said...

Freadom, I'm late to the party on this one, but an excellent post!