HEALTH CARE REFORM ISN’T REFORM

(if it’s mostly political theater to benefit those holding political office)

 

Nothing heard or seen yet about “health care reform” seems to come close to any definition of the word “reform”. 

 

The President started things off some time ago when he was just an on-the-make candidate for that office. Using his skills for soaring evocative rhetoric he got a lot of voters all fired up with the idea that, his candidacy, if elected, would finally bring about such a much desired result. 

 

Once elected to the Presidency, though briefly diverted from that path by having to face major economic and financial melt downs, he naturally had to get back to that erstwhile “promise” to get our health care system reformed as quickly as possible…. or have the electorate write him off as just another career politico long on talk….but short on results. Unfortunately, instead of sitting down and crafting a carefully thought out plan to accomplish some real reforms to the existing health care system; then, presenting it for further debate and evaluation, he slickly just dumped the whole process onto his cohorts in Congress, letting them take the heat from irate constituents, while he could loftily pontificate from the Oval Office, about how he just wanted everyone to get along, and do right by the country, etc., etc., etc..

 

As the Church Lady might put it….isn’t that special! 

 

Well, Congress, as we all know from hard experience, is the last place to expect any kind of original, creative, or even pragmatic thought when it comes to “reforming” anything. Faced with having to come up with any kind of workable solution to a problem, the only thing to be expected from that august body is legislation of Byzantine convolutions, with more ifs, ands, or buts, not to mention exemptions, whereases and wherefores, beyond count, all written out on at least 100 reams of paper and weighing a good fifty pounds in dead weight. It might look like English, even sound like English, but is otherwise totally incomprehensible. And of course, it has to cost billions if not trillions, otherwise….they don’t consider it legislation.  

Let’s face it, whenever Congress has its “reform” blue jeans on, lord have mercy, it’s time to go shopping for steel-plated underwear, ‘cause sooner or later we’ll all end up just getting….the shaft! 

 

Is it any wonder then that folks are all stirred up and upset at how this much desired goal is being handled? Worse yet, the President is now name-calling anyone who asks questions, specific questions, about what the hell is really meant by much of the language of that proposed legislation….saying they must be part of a vast extreme conspiracy to derail his laudable goal, just for political reasons….or some such. 

 

                                                                                                                                   

I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider that a most egregious insult. Just because my Simple-Simon mind senses some kind of con in all of this….does not mean I belong to any conspiracy. Most of us have experienced enough con jobs in our time to know when we’re probably being hustled. This episode has that kind of distinctive odor about it. Particularly in the way it is being shoved through the process, and otherwise hyped, by all the “honorable” members involved.

 

Now, let’s look at what are the key elements involved in producing some real “change”,  if not actual “reform”, for anything having to do with our health care system:

 

  1. 1)The primary concern for everyone is ACCESSIBILITY…. and, for most of us, 

      that’s almost entirely a matter of AFFORDABILITY. So, whatever plan might 

      be cobbled together by our glorious Congress, unless they include some way 

      to solve that aspect of the problem….the rest is meaningless. The reason so 

      many millions of our citizens don’t have medical insurance is because….  

      THEY CAN’T AFFORD IT! It’s that simple. 

            

  1. 2)The next concern for everyone is PORTABILITY. That is, being able to up 

       and move either from one job to another, or, to relocate somewhere else, 

       without risking losing whatever coverage they might have. Why should 

       anyone be tied down to a specific job or employer, or, a government   

       sponsored or administered program for health care coverage?

 

  1. 3)The third concern for everyone is QUALITY of care. That is, getting the 

             proper level of care for whatever might be needed, when needed, based 

             purely upon medically justified reasons, rather than accounting and financial

             considerations. That is, the level and scope of care provided should be 

            determined by the medical needs of a particular patient, not by some one-

            size-fits-all formula driven solely by bottom-line considerations.

 

  1. 4)Lastly, there is a general consensus that there has to be a better, more 

      efficient, and less costly way to accomplish all of the above.

 

There are some other and very real concerns involved, particularly when it relates to things like any kind of single-payer, or so-called “public” plan, because we Americans instinctively shudder at the thought of any kind of “Socialized” approach to health coverage (or anything else for that matter).

 

Which is somewhat ironic, since we’ve had something of the sort and everyone, either working or retired, has been paying into it for years. It’s called…Medicare. If you’re working….you are paying into it. If you are retired, with Social Security, you’re paying into it….whether you use it or not. Thus, since all of us are already paying for it, why not just use that as the basis for reforming our national health care system? Reforming it to not just to cover “seniors” but everyone else as well, letting it become the universal plan. In effect it would be what amounts to a national HMO. 

                                                                                                                                

      Frankly, I’m not particularly keen on the idea of another addition to the weed-like 

      jungle of HMO’s that surrounds us, and a government administered one at that. 

      Medicare would need one hell of an overhaul to make it half-way palatable as the 

      solution to our problems with health care (including allowing it to reimburse the 

      VA for veterans currently with Medicare, as it would to any other provider). 

      

      As it operates now, Medicare’s inefficiencies, wastefulness, and level of 

      fraudulent claims, do not make it a good model to build on. Still, it’s already in 

      place, and we’re all already paying for it, so, perhaps, we could clean it up. 

      Enough so it could be “re-formed” and expanded to do the job for us….without 

      the need for yet one more costly program alongside it.

 

      Personally, I’m more inclined and partial to either some form of a co-operative 

      concept, or, even better, the creation of a national network of NFP “chartered 

      health centers” with reciprocal privileges for anyone subscribed to one of those. A 

      creative application of the existing tax code (courtesy of the Congress), whereby 

      none of us would be dependent on any employer for our health care, and all of us 

      could afford it (employed or not) And further, being a national network of NFP 

      entities, big Pharma, hi-tech medical equipment and systems providers, should 

      be quite happy to support it all with largely tax-deductible contributions of 

      “supplies and services”…. to such an NFP network, since it would make their 

      bottom-lines porkier than they are already. 

 

      If that wouldn’t be “reform”…. what would?

 

       CENTURION 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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