Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some Thoughts on Health Care Reform

Health care expenses for all of us will continue to increase.
  • 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.


Anonymous said...

For immediate release:

August 19, 2009

MEDINA Rep. Dennis Kucinich will keynote a healthcare reform discussion with Donna Smith, PDA Healthcare NOT Warfare co-chair and California Nurses Association community organizer, Chuck Pennacchio, Healthcare 4 All Pennsylvania executive director, and Katie Robbins coordinator for Healthcare NOW! The panel discussion, Medicare for All: From Washington Across the Nation, will take place in Medina, Ohio on Saturday, Aug. 22. The event is sponsored by Progressive Democrats of America.


Comrade Kevin said...

Each of these are sensible proposals, but the problem with people is that they often don't think in terms of anything other than the short term. And therein lies the issue---how do you get people to see beyond themselves?