Saturday, March 20, 2010

"What Are We Trying to Fix" ...Some Additional Thoughts

Watch Dog had some excellent points. I wanted to add a few personal thoughts.

I will admit that I'm not a huge Sarah Palin fan. I know that there are many who think that she's the Conservative Messiah. I'm not against her, either. Honestly, I just don't think about her at all. I remember the controversy after her "death panel" statement(s). I understood what she was getting at, but thought that she had made it easy for the press (and those who are pro-Obamacare) to make her sound like she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

The sad thing is that she was entirely right. A "death panel" of sorts already exists within the government, and Obamacare is only going to make it worse. I have seen it happen.

My grandmother had major heart surgery a few months ago -- about a month and a half before I lost my job. Because of the timing, I was the one to take her home when she was released from the nursing home. She wanted to go home (after all, who wants to spend two months in hospitals, rehab facilities and nursing homes) but she was absolutely not ready to live by herself for so many reasons: she was still unsteady on her feet and was at risk of falling (she lives alone, which makes this a huge problem), she wasn't allowed to drive so she couldn't get groceries, go to the pharmacy or get to doctors' appointments (and even if she had transportation to the grocery store, she couldn't carry the groceries into her house!). But Medicare had decided that they weren't going to pay for assisted living any longer.

That's where my help came in. If I hadn't been unemployed at the time, I don't know what she would have done.

This has happened once before. A few years ago, she fell and broke her hip and was sent to a nursing home to recover. After a certain number of days, Medicare declined to pay for any further assisted living. It wasn't based on her medical status, or the opinions of doctors. The decision was made by a rule; a line or two in some Medicare administrator's handbook, or decided by a cost/benefit analysis. (In this case, she stayed on -- thanks to her secondary insurance and a large amount of money out of her own pocket to cover what Medicare wouldn't.)

If it weren't for private insurance and her savings... I don't want to think about what would have happened. But I firmly believe that it is the first evolution of the "death panel."

As Watch Dog stated, Medicare just cut payments to doctors by 21%. As he also stated, mandating that pre-existing conditions be covered are only going to drive up premiums, and/or force insurance companies to cut their payments to doctors.

Through my experiences, as well as everything that I have been through with my grandmother, it has become abundantly clear that the only people that were helpful were the employees at the doctors' offices. They were able to make the impossible, possible. So what happens when the government starts underpaying doctors for their services?

I can't name a doctor's office that wouldn't say that they were understaffed, but that they couldn't afford the staff that they really needed. Medicare cuts will force doctors to cut their staff, which will directly affect the patients. The number of errors made by doctors will go up. Malpractice insurance will go up. And on, and on, and on, until private doctors are a thing of the past.

The only one that will be left standing will be the government. The same people with the rule (likely based on some cost/benefit analysis chart) that tried to send my grandmother home on two separate occasions, when it was clear that she had no business going home.

It's not just Medicare.

Ask anyone on Social Security Disability how easy it is to get what they need, when they need it. Or how easy it is to call someone and have their questions answered.

Or how many veterans get the help and care that they need.

I know that there are those who don't have insurance, and have suffered as a result. I can only imagine how hard this must be. This country does need healthcare reform. But Obamacare isn't the answer.

It's like our country has a badly broken leg. But Obamacare is the equivalent of fixing the broken leg by amputating it -- and the other leg too, just in case. Technically it fixes the problem, but is completely illogical and causes far more problems than it fixes.

If Obamacare passes, I am going to need to have children ASAP. So that they can have children. Because if something happens to me, I am going to need someone to take care of me. It certainly isn't going to be the government.

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Christine said...

You hit the nail on the head!

Vic T said...

Very well done.

I would add however that I have been a VA patient for nearly ten years. I started using their services about a year after suffering a stroke.
I have found the VA care to be excellent. They have expended very large sums of money treating my various problems. The doctors and medical staff are highly skilled and dedicated people.

There is no doubt that Obamacare has "Death Panels" built-in! They don't call them such but the purpose is clear. If one reads the bill and the writings of the administration you find that the major expenditure reduction in Medicare stems from reducing the costs of persons in the "last 5 years of life". The only way to do that is to not provide treatment. As a result, most WILL die.

As for Palin, I don't know that she will ever be President, but she would be a whole hell of a lot better than the fool that we have now.

She is an asset with out any doubt and the Liberals are scared to death of her as evidenced by their constant attacks.

T-Bone said...

We all want to reform the defective parts of health care, but the "reforms" under discusion will destroy the good and enhance the bad.

Watch Dog said...

My experience with VA Care in nearly identical with that of Vic T.

I have been with them for a few years less but otherwise--spot on.