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Vijay Mehta

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xx Health Care Crises..
« Thread started on: Mar 5th, 2003, 07:05am »

This is a favorite topic of discussion. And since we are talking to a young man or woman who is planning to devote rest of his/her life to this profession, it is reasonable to expect that you should be able to discuss this issue well.

The number of uninsured remains at extremely high level.

Typically, the number of uninsured Americans is reported at about 41 million - those without health insurance for all of 2001. But a staggering 75 million Americans were uninsured at some point during 2001 or 2002, a study finds.

The problem, Breaux says, is that the current system puts people into boxes: Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor, employer-based for most working families and nothing for the uninsured. As a moderate Democrat known to work with Republicans, he hopes his ideas will be taken seriously.

``The idea would be to get rid of the box theory and say you get health care in this country not because you fit into some box, but you get it because you're an American citizen,'' he said in an interview. ``Perhaps the problem has to get worse before we get a consensus, but it can't get much worse. We're on the edge of total collapse.''

For full article go to: AOL: AOL News: 75 Million Uninsured in 2001-2002
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Vijay Mehta
xx 75 Million American lack insurance
« Reply #1 on: Mar 5th, 2003, 3:18pm »

Sorry the AOL link did not work try this..
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xx Health Care Crises- Nice Article must read
« Reply #2 on: Jun 24th, 2004, 11:04am »


Fri Jun 18, 7:43 PM ET

By Cynthia Tucker

In a country where capitalism is the state religion, it's hard to get people to admit that the profit motive doesn't improve every enterprise. Americans seem to think there is no problem that cannot be solved by some resourceful entrepreneur.

Cynthia Tucker

But we're experiencing a crisis of faith in at least one area -- health care. The soaring cost of hospitals and medicines suggests that capitalism is sometimes at odds with the common good.

Not many of us have the nerve to say that aloud yet. It's heresy.

Besides, the last time any public figure made a serious effort to reform health care, the result was near excommunication. Hillary Clinton (news - web sites)'s complex system of rules and regulations was easily caricatured by opponents, and the blowback was enough to keep any self-respecting politician away from health care for years. But in the coming decade, the soaring cost will force Congress and state legislatures to confront the problem.

We now have a health-care system whose primary mission is not delivering health care. Instead, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and, in fact, many hospitals exist to make money. That's their first priority, and also their second and third priority. The product they sell happens to be improved health. But they jack up the prices on the product and restrict it to those who can afford it.

In this enterprise, a little profit motive goes a long way. And in health care, it has gone too far.

Just take a look at what has happened recently to prices of some pharmaceuticals used by elderly patients. The prices shot up just as the new drug discount cards were released, insuring that drug companies will earn just as much on products for ailments such as hypertension and arthritis as they did before. So those retirees who have struggled to pay for their medications will be no better off -- even with discount cards. Between January 2002 and January 2003, the price of pharmaceuticals used most often by the elderly climbed nearly 3 1/2 times faster than the rate of inflation, according to Families USA, a consumer group that monitors drug prices.

In the United States, capitalism works as well as it does because businesses compete for customers. And there is usually a business willing to make any product available for a cheaper price. If a motorist can't afford a Mercedes, he can buy a Mazda. If you can't afford the $15,000 plasma TV, you can settle for the $500 cathode-ray tube model. But who wants to see the discount cancer doc?

Insurance companies have tried to hold down costs by reimbursing physicians at a standard rate for common procedures. But that has not kept health-care costs from rising faster than the rate of inflation. Perhaps that's because medicine is one of those mysterious enterprises where the average consumer can never be sophisticated enough to know what he's actually buying. Most of us find a physician we like and do what he or she dictates. It's simply not the same as buying a toaster or a dining room table. You don't wait for a good sale to get your angioplasty.

There is also this difference with the average consumer product: Most Americans believe that access to doctors and hospitals is a right, not a privilege that comes with money. We don't say that out loud either. Not yet. But federal regulations already guarantee treatment in case of an emergency. If you've been in a car accident and you need surgery, a public hospital may not turn you away, even if you don't have insurance.

But guaranteeing access to emergency room treatment has helped to push the cost of medicine even higher. It would be far cheaper to guarantee every American preventive care -- regular checkups for hypertension and diabetes, immunizations for school-aged children, medications for routine illnesses such as ear infections.

As more and more working Americans find themselves without health insurance, our faith in the ability of capitalism to provide a fundamental asset of American life is being sorely tested. Sometime in the next decade, we'll be forced to admit that government will have to step in and shore up the safety net by guaranteeing basic health care to all Americans. The old-time religion will have some new hymns.
« Last Edit: Jun 24th, 2004, 7:21pm by Vijay Mehta » User IP Logged

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You still go to heaven even if you do not go to Medical School !
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