An experience that my family had yesterday brought the real problem into focus and with it some points that clearly lead my mind toward a solution. Of course, with our system now at the mercy of the government, applying sense to the problem may be impossible. but I thought I'd give it a try. Bear with me as I try to suggest some things we as a society must do if we are to ever have the quality of medical care that we need, and it all revolves around each of us taking charge of our own lives first. You've probably heard most of them before but I think they need to be taken very seriously and very soon before our medical system is destroyed beyond recovery.
In the case of my family, an elective medical procedure was needed. It wasn't a life threatening issue, but it was something needed to improve vision and reduce excessive tearing. Since it wasn't deemed to be a required procedure, the cost was fully on our dime. And watching the quality of the work that was performed, the care of the nursing staff and the attention to making sure the family knew what they needed to do when our loved one came home, it made me think of what is wrong with American healthcare today. That old adage "you get what you pay for" is so true. I even received a follow-up call last night from the doctor, asking how things were going and giving me his personal number if my family member had any difficulties before being seen again for a quick check-up in the morning. I sent the good doctor a picture by text message so he could take a look for himself and he promptly responded that things looked very good, clearly easing my mind of any worry. You aren't going to get this from Obamacare.
And why was our experience so positive? Well, the doctor and patient agreed on a price, the service was paid for in full, and the doctor could then devote his efforts to completing the procedure to the best of his excellent abilities and the patient knew there were no surprises. It was a flat rate arrangement, from pre-op to post-op, all services were covered under one firm price. Try to find an insurance company that will be so upfront and honest with you. You can't, they hide behind the weeds.
So having experienced this event, I think it becomes clear the direction that the country must head with medical care, a tough sell admittedly with people assuming that health care is a right, which it clearly is not. So here are my thoughts and suggestions and they all start with personal responsibility, the responsibility of each of us to play a key role in taking care of ourselves.
First, no one doubts the fact that major surgery and crises such as strokes and heart attacks are very expensive and most can't afford it. So why not set up a program of catastrophic coverage which is paid for by the consumer without all the frills? Such a policy is very affordable, the consumer can determine his acceptable level of risk and what is covered, yet major surgical and life support requirements would be what the catastrophic coverage would be for, those things which clearly could cause bankruptcy. Individuals can pay their own way for sneezes and sniffles and all the simple things that tie up so many doctors and emergency rooms, thereby driving up the price.
Allowing an even more general Health Savings Account would be a favorably tax treated way to build up a nest egg for the minor medical issues, such as routine actions and minor care. And it would give the consumer the power to negotiate for service for cash, negating the doctor's necessity to be at the mercy of the insurance market. And if it wasn't used, it could be cashed in.
Instead of this, Obama has put many more restrictions on this wonderful concept and required all of us to pay extensively for others for many things that we would never need ourselves. For example, being an older man, I certainly don't need to have my pricing raised to cover birth control pills and abortion.
If we controlled entry into our nation, as opposed to our current open door policy, we could also cut costs dramatically by eliminating the deadbeats that take advantage of our generosity. Medical care is not something America can afford to illegals who can receive it if they can limp their way across our border. We have a right to put our citizens first but, sadly, as demonstrated by the broken VA system, our veterans often receive less treatment than those who are here illegally.
America, let's put our rational hat on and look for simplicity and results. Just because the government gives you an insurance card doesn't mean that the doctor or hospital will take it. In fact, we are about to find out how many people are carrying around a useless card. Medicaid and medicare services are being dropped daily by many doctors and hospitals.
Don't accept my word for it; do your own analysis and come to your own conclusions. And of course we need to have special provisions for those who are truly indigent and in dire need of help, but I don't think the number is anywhere near the number receiving foodstamps, many fraudulently. We need to clean out the system and make everybody maintain a goodly portion of responsibility for their own lives. If you're not willing to sacrifice some for your own health, you shouldn't expect others to shoulder the bill. Let's go forward and get this right