Healthcare – A MAJOR issue that needs addressing

One of the most important issues facing our state and country right now has got to be healthcare.  Right now, it’s falling below the radar, but we’ve got a real crisis in terms of healthcare and it’s not being addressed. 

Insurance rates are going up alarmingly fast.  At the same time, insurance companies are threatening hospitals with refusals to pay for services.  According to some of my doctor friends, Blue Cross Blue Shields is the worst when it comes to this stuff. 

Here is an open forum to discuss healthcare reform.  What are the candidates position on healthcare?  What are they going to do?  Post it here and let’s have a lively and intelligent discussion. 

12 comments

  1. Well a libertarian would say that. We all agree that the US healthcare system (and Georgia’s) is not working well. So there are basically two routes to go, one is more governmental oversight and control to try and even out the inadequacies in the current system. The other is the Republican plan of health savings accounts and more individual control.

    But the Republican plan will never succeed because all but the hardest partisans understand that the problem with healthcare is not that we have too much of it (which HSA try to “remedy”) and, the flip side of that is very few people feel like they personally are getting a fair shake from the giant insurance companies, and so why would they want to go down the road to competing individually for their personal care?

    I think any plan has to focus on preventive care, more control for doctors and patients and a more national approach. Give you a good example on that last front. Even though my employer pays thousands of dollars a year for health coverage for me, when I got sick on vacation in North Carolina, there was no local doctor that was covered by my insurance even though there were plenty of local doctors. So I had a choice, pay additional funds out of my own pocket to treat the symptoms early, or wait to get back to Atlanta but have potentially much more expensive treatment needed which would then be covered.

    That in a nutshell is the problem with the current system. The “choices” that even the insured have to make make absolutely no sense for your actual health. So there you have it.

  2. Bull Moose says:

    Chrishardcore, I tend to agree with some points of your approach.

    What I don’t understand is why insurance companies are giving hospitals so much hassle in the care that is prescribed by a patient’s doctor?

    I’ve asked several doctor’s and they all say the same thing…

    Why can’t we have a rational dialogue about health care and insurance with doctors, patients, and administrators at the same table? What’s so hard about that?

    Where is the leadership on this issue?

    Are we as a state going to tolerate the continuing band-aid approach to health care?

    How high can premiums go before people just can’t afford it and go without coverage?

    We need a common sense approach and that includes bringing all the parties to the table.

    Lead or get replaced.

  3. LINDA says:

    The reason insurance companies have to have strict controls is because of abuse from the health delivery system in the past. For instance, my father-in-law had hernia surgery in the early 80s and his hospital time was about six days. On the other hand, my husband had hernia surgery a few years back and left the hospital in a few hours after surgery. If tight controls were not in place, the length of stay would no doubt be the same as it was in the 80s for this type of surgery.

    The problem is that, the hernia surgery probably still cost 7 times more today than it did in the early 80s. The bottom line is that lawsuits add so much to the cost that doctors and hospitals must contend with. Hospitals, like any corporate beast, have too many chiefs at the top that are useless waste. If patients and insurance companies could own hospitals, much like electric coops, then that could be a good solution to bring down costs. Capitalism in health care is not working.

  4. LINDA says:

    The government needs to stay out of health care, except for allowing for deductions in full for the cost of health care as a line item instead of a Schedule A deduction. I do not like this state insurance plan of peach care because I feel that abuse is taking place. Why should so many people get a free ride, when the rest of us have to pay? And this includes the politicians that get a free ride, too!!!!!!

  5. Chris says:

    I sorta like the co-op idea, patient-owners of healthcare delivery services. Maybe we can expand on that. But one thing that immediately sticks out is the regulatory hurdles to forming our own healthcare co-op. I don’t necessarily buy into the lawsuit scapegoating for higher insurance costs, profit motive has far more impact on setting coverage policies and cost burdens than the threat of lawsuits. Another thing that irks my craw is proprietary treatments and procedures and drugs. We need a patent-busting movement that minimizes that particularly heavy arm of the state.

  6. LINDA says:

    Every person that benefits from Peach Care should have to have their earned income credits reduced dollar for dollar for the health care costs. For instance, if doctor visits for the family were $2,000 per year and were covered by the state, then the earned income credit on the fedueral tax return should be reduced by $2,000 or for the entire credit, whichever is less. No one should get a free ride. Taxpayers must pay for the earned income credits on federal taxes, and then we pay again for health care coverage. A 1099 could be issued called Peach Benefit Income. The low income credit on the state tax return should also be reduced for this benefit. Come on legislatures, prove that you are conservative!

  7. Bull Moose says:

    I do not buy the lawsuit scapegoating either. I think it is a problem, but it’s not the root of the problem.

    Linda, I think that you are not giving credit to modern science and the technical advances that we’ve made.

    When my grandfather died of liver disease in the 70’s, they didn’t think the liver could regenerate itself. Now we know that it can. That is just an example of the advances of modern science.

    I DO NOT believe that stricter controls are the answers. I think that heathcare decisions need to rest firmly in the hands of the doctor and patient – period. I trust my doctor’s judgement better than I do my own when it comes to the heathcare that I need.

    Someone sent me some material on Newt’s ideas on improving healthcare and I think that I agree about 60% with what he says. We need more technology in the area of records and information sharing.

    What we need is a strong system of preventive medicine. People should get yearly physicals and screened for diseases. When you catch illnesses early, not only do you improve the outcomes for the patient, but you save money! Without health screenings, you’ll be cutting costs today for higher costs tomorrow, and that just doesn’t make sense.

    I’m also encouraged to hear that there is a Senate Study Committee looking into the issue of healthcare. They need to come down to Savannah and talk to some of the brilliant doctors here.

    I call on Senator Eric Johnson to ask the Senate Study Committee to hold a hearing on health care here in Savannah.

  8. LINDA says:

    Well Bullmoose, I do not know what your profession is. But I have a good idea that you are either a lawyer or connected to health care. If you do not believe that doctors and hospitals do not milk insurance companies for every dime that they can, and that lawyers are not engaged in frivolous lawsuits, then you must be on the receiving end of the funds.

    I know because I had a kidney stone in 1980 and I had more tests run on me for six days in the hospital than Carter has liver pills. My blood was drawn so many times, that I ask if my blood were being sold. I was sicker when I went home than when I went into the hospital. My blood pressure dropped to 60 over 40 because every time a test was going to be done, food and fluids were withheld the night before. I was in a good hospital in Louisville, KY, but they were milking Blue Cross Blue Shield for every dime they could.

    As long, as we have so many uncovered people in the United States, the cost of health care will continue to spiral out of control. There are no solutions to this sue happy capitalistic health care system that has become a beast that cannot be tamed. So no Senator Eric Johnson nor any other person can do anything to solve this mess.

  9. Mad Dog says:

    I wouldn’t call Eric Johnson unless I was buying a house.

    What makes Savannah the center of the US health care system?

    Now for something serious to think about.

    http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view.php?StoryID=20060920-050337-8844r

    Our health care system, as it is currently constructed, earned a 66 out of 100. A nearly failing grade.

    Other industrialized nations were also graded.

    We were not in the top two or three as we should be. We were at the bottom of the barrel, more or less. Ninth. I think.

    All of this is not news to me. Not from being IN the hospital bed or seeing the system work as a patient.

    For the richest country in the known universe, we suck at medicine.

    Before the Senate, or any other elected body of idiots can hold a public hearing, we have to educate the damn public.

  10. Bull Moose says:

    Okay, my point is that Savannah is an important part of the state. If a Study Committee is talking about health care in Georgia, they need to come to Savannah so that those of us on the coast can participate.

    Linda, are you really using an example from 26 years ago? Seriously. What if you doctor had not run the tests and then you found out you had a disease they missed? What would your opinion be then?

    Most doctors I know are about ready to stop accepting insurance period because of the hassle that they go through.

    This is not a “milking” of the system, far from it. Patient care comes first and that should be the cornerstone of any improvements in health care.

  11. Mad Dog says:

    For just one example, if you had a billion dollars to spend in a third world county… and you wanted to save as many lives as possible … don’t build a US based healthcare system.

    Sanitation and potable water.

    Is Dekalb still boiling their water?

    Are we still pouring septic waste on the ground in White County?

    Does Casey Cagle, a lot andhouse flipper, still want to make septic systems out of small streams, creeks, and north Georgia Rivers?

    Is Carl Rogers best buddy, Mr. Hulsey, still advertising a certified waste processing facility for all his septic pumping businesses?

    Did Carl Rogers and his buddy, Tom McCall, write legislation to protect ONE septic dumping site in White County (owned by Hulsey)? Yes.

    Did Carl Rogers vote in Tom McCalls subcommittee to bring another septic dumping plan out to the floor? Yes.

    Was Carl Rogers on that subcommitte? No.

    Did Tom and Carl know each other personally? Yes.

    Do we have Republican voters who are too uninformed and too partisan to care?

    And Bull Moose thinks a public meeting will solve something or does he think it will demostrate the elected power of Eric Johnson, my favorite agent for selling houses?

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