Our population is aging
There are more expensive treatments being developed
Neonatal care has improved, and it is expensive
Our population is less fit and our diet is worse
Drug and alcohol addiction is increasing
If no health care reform takes place government expenses for it will continue to increase tremendously. The status quo will be more expensive than reform. Under the current system, government is paying for the highest risk people while the insurance companies make a profit on those who are cheapest to insure. We are not going to let people die on the streets because they do not have insurance. That means that either we will pay for it through our taxes or increased costs at hospitals that serve uninsured people in emergency rooms.
The government pays the majority of the costs for people with the highest health bills; elderly, disabled, low income children. The government also pays when the insurance runs out or people exhaust their savings and ability to borrow.
Health care reform must address:
Wellness and prevention- Community based programs that provide nutrition counseling, fitness advice, well baby clinics, prenatal care, education and screening for common diseases and conditions, reproductive and genetic counseling. Much of this can be done through small groups in hospitals, community centers, schools, senior centers, libraries, etc.
Efficient service delivery- School health programs for children, on -site health care providers in senior centers and senior apartment complexes. Support for caregivers should be increased. Maintaining a severally disabled individual at home is less expensive and in most cases more desirable than putting them in nursing homes, but there is little support for caregivers.
Training additional health care workers- Government grants to train doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals. We must find ways to encourage young people to go into this field. We need more training programs.
Research and development- Additional government investment in disease prevention and treatment. Businesses that use government supported research to create new drugs, etc should have a limited patent protection period.
Tort reform and malpractice insurance- less litigation and more accountability. Better safety procedures to prevent errors.
Patient records, billing, confidentiality and access to information-patient records should belong to the patient and be portable, and digitized.
Mental health and addiction treatment- Should be available on equal basis with treatment for physical conditions.
Insurance regulation-insurance companies should no longer be able to cherry pick clients. They should not be able to refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Treatment research- government must research effectiveness of treatments. This is the only way to prevent the research results from reflecting the bias of those profiting from the treatments. This research should be available to the public in terms that the average person can understand.
Limits on drug advertisement to doctors and the public. Should be limited to providing the facts.