I haven't been writing much around here lately. It's not because I don't have anything to say as much as it's because I have a lot going on. I have to recertify my skills this year and it's taking a bit of work. While I'm on this odyssey of getting enough CEU's to keep my alphabet soup after my name, I've run across every meme you can think of concerning the state of the U.S. health care system.
I shouldn't be astounded that the people I have to take courses from to keep my certifications are grossly ignorant of just how substandard U.S. health care is; but I've been trapped in classrooms listening to crap. I'm a little concerned about voicing my opinion; because if I do, it could seriously impact my career in a negative way. What I'm coming to realize is that I can't do much about the U.S. health care system from working on the inside of it. It's a shameless, greed based system and I dare not complain too much. It's been stressful.
So, I've been doodling and writing some outlines of diaries, while trapped in conference rooms and I'll be rolling them out as I finish them.
Right now; I really need to blow off some steam.
“It” being health care. The discussion was about health care reform. Oh, the usual facts were cited.
"It’s the best health care in the world."
We spent about $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010.
52% of Americans went without some aspect of health care within the last 12 months.
49 million people are uninsured.
The average premium for a family of 4 is about $1,300 per month.
The average deductible is over $1,000 per year.
Grim, I tell you, the discussion was grim. Grimmer still was what came next.
We have the best health care in the world (and he must of seen me roll my eyes because he vectored off to) U.S. healthcare is very effective, but also very expensive. We have to do something about health care. We know we have to do something about health care…. (and in the next breath) We’ll never have socialized medicine in the United States. We won’t stand for it. We can’t have the government make our health decisions for us. We don’t want death panels… We’ll get some sort of Universal Health Care, but we won’t ever have a socialized system.. (and you’ve heard these memes before.)It was absurd. It was political pablum. It was the same ole drivel. No depth of thought. Unfortunately, I could see that there was no way to move him or the rest of the room from this view point. The memes took root. They have become reality for this speaker and most of the room nodded like bobbleheads in agreement with him.
This wasn’t a group of ignorant people. Some have worked in health care for over 30 years. The average for the room was 12 years experience in health care in all venues (a doctor, risk managers, health care lawyers, hospice, nurses, office, hospital, administrators and educators). The others in the room were so entrenched in the status quo that they can’t conceive a solution. They have too many sacred cows. They are beholden to too many stakeholders. Their paralysis is real. They can’t see a solution. They aren’t alone.
Most people can’t see a solution that doesn’t kill at least one sacred cow.
Maybe the real problem with health care in America is that we focus on what we can’t do instead of what we can do.
“Can’t” and “Won’t” never did anything, never accomplished anything. And, “never” is a long time. It wasn’t so long ago that people said black men and women of any color would “never” have the right to vote. It was said that LGBT’s would “never” have the right to live in peace or serve in the military; let alone marry. These “nevers” (despite some false starts) have fallen or are currently falling by the wayside. Maybe it’s time we drop the health care “nevers” too.
I once read that typically when 30% of a population has trouble accessing health care, then, we’ll have a chance at possibly getting Single Payer or at the least, Universal Health Care. That time is here, but the meme BS is still in the way.
What the people in this room would admit is that they saw suffering people every day who had limited access to health care. They saw people who couldn’t get adequate health care, but they wouldn’t acknowledge their own complicity in the crime. They refused to look at the other side of the story.
1. It’s the best health care in the world.
But, that is small comfort if you don’t have the means to access the “best health care in the world”
2. We spent about $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010.
But, $800 billion of it is estimated to be wasteful, fraudulent and abuse – in short unnecessary expenses.
3. 52% of Americans went without some aspect of health care within the last 12 months.
(Click Chartpack, page 16) …that we know of, but that was too bad, so sad for
this group of people.
4. 49 million people are uninsured.
Our system effectively excludes 1/6th of the U.S. population, but since this group doesn’t see the uninsured, no harm, no foul.
5. The average premium payment for a family of 4 is about $1,300 per month.
Forcing more and more families to go bare – see above.
6. The average deductible is over $1,000 per year (Click Chartpack, slide 4) .
Which encourages more people to self-ration their care – see above, again.
7. We won’t tolerate the government making decisions about our health care
Yet we allow private insurers who have a fiduciary duty to maximize their profits to make
those decisions with impunity. We won't stand for "socialized medicine", but we will die
waiting for Medicare. (Click Chartpack, read it and weep)
8. It’s the best health care in the world.