Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vacation Health Care Bulletin

Since I’ve been on vacation, a nice lady named Barbara O’Brien kindly offered me the opportunity to post her piece on health care reform. I’d like to direct your attention to some information we all should share. Please visit her Maha Blog for more. After you read this post I’d like to suggest reading her amusing little “Pretty-short-history-of-wingnutism”. - Dave

Health Care Reform Will Help Everybody
Barbara O'Brien

Many Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay.

And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it.

Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable.

For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers. Another is a blood screening test for mesothelioma developed by thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Taub. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit.

The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance
. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not.


Tim said...

Ahh she makes the rounds...

Tom Harper said...

The main gist of Michael Moore's "Sicko" was that people with health insurance get screwed over constantly. All of the horror stories from that movie involved people who were covered, and then either got dumped by their HMO, or the HMO found loopholes so they'd only cover a tiny portion of the patient's medical expenses.

Unfortunately, for every person who saw Sicko (and reads posts like this), there are dozens of gullible dunces who keep falling for the rightwing stereotype that anyone who has trouble paying his/her medical bills is a lazy parasite who hates free enterprise.

Lew Scannon said...

My main concern with the health care was the one that fined people for not buying health insurance. People aren't buying health insurance because they don't feel they need it. People don't buy health care because they can't afford it. Fining them doesn't help anybody.

Dave Dubya said...

Yes, America hating, socialist parasites, at that.

I sympathize with those not wanting to buy it. There was a time in my life when I would have felt the same. Our idea of a single payer solution was corrupted into a vile mess of corporatism with few surviving benefits. I'd like to think of the fine as a sort of "uninsured liability tax". They can contribute to a system which they probably WILL need. And they won't likely be able to afford to not have the coverage eventually.

Lisa Nanette Allender said...

I want a Facebook SHARE button here, Dave Dubya.
Incisive, brilliant!

TomCat said...

Thank you for a well informed and clearly written analysis, Barbara. I fully agree,

Dave I agree that single payer is the way to go. That's the next health care battle.

Dave Dubya said...

Thank you. I'd be happy to share any book. Unfortunatley I couldn't find a Facebook at the library or Borders. I DO have My Space in the basement. ;-)

If only We the People had as many senators as They the Insurance Corporations...

TomCat said...

Amen, Dave, Amen.