Health Care Reform – Why Are People So Worked Up?

What is it that makes Americans so agitated about reforming health care? A few statements like “don’t touch my Medicare” or “everyone should have access to state of the art health care irrespective of cost” are, to me, uninformed and visceral responses that indicate a poor comprehension of the health care system’s past, current and future resources and the challenges to funding that America has to face going forward. In the midst of all the debate, we wonder if the health system has reached what many are calling”a crisis phase. Let’s try to take some of the tension out of the debate by taking a look at how the health care system has developed in the United States and how it has shaped our views and our culture regarding health care. As a starting point, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Obama administration’s health reform ideas. Now, how do we consider the proposals proposed by the Republicans?  Visit:-

Access to cutting-edge healthcare services is something that we all agree would be a good idea for the country. The experience of suffering from a serious illness is one of life’s major challenges and facing it without access to the money to cover the cost is truly terrifying. However, as we will see when we are aware of the facts, we will find that achieving this goal will not be easy with our own individual contributions.

These are the topics I’ll discuss in order to attempt to make sense out of what is going on with American health care and the steps we could take personally to help make things better.

  • A brief history of American health care – what is the reason for the prices to be so high?
  • Important elements of Obama health plan for health care
  • The Republican perspective on health care – free market competition
  • Access to all people to state of the art medical care is a worthy objective, but not an easy one to attain
  • what can we do?

First, let’s get some historical context on American health care. This is not intended to be a comprehensive study of that past, but rather an understanding of how our health care system and our expectations about it developed. What was the reason that drove costs up and higher?

Let’s begin by turning to an earlier time in history, which was the American civil war. The war was fought using outdated tactics and the calamity caused by modern weaponry of the day combined to cause ghastly results. What isn’t widely recognized is that most of the deaths from both sides of the conflict were not results of combat but were due to the circumstances that occurred following a wound from a battlefield attributable to. The first was that the healing of wounded soldiers was carried out in a slow manner and this led to a significant delay in the treatment of the wounded. In addition the majority of wounds were subjected to wound treatment, surgeries and/or amputations of the injured limbs. This often caused the development of a massive infection. Thus, you may suffer a battle-related wound, and then succumb at the treatment of medical professionals who although well-intentioned however, their actions were usually quite lethal. High death tolls can also be blamed on everyday illnesses and illnesses in a period in which antibiotics were not readily available. Around 600,000 deaths occurred from all causes, which is more than 2percent for the U.S. population at the time!

Let’s go to the beginning of the second period to the beginning of the century to gain more perspective and bring us into more modern times. Following the Civil War there were continuous improvements in American medicine in both the understanding and treatment of certain ailments, the development of new surgical techniques , and also in physician education and training. However, for the most of the time, the best that doctors could provide to their patients was the “wait and see” approach. It was possible to treat bone fractures and increasingly attempt risky surgeries (now mostly carried out in sterile surgical facilities) but medicines were not yet in use to treat severe illnesses. The majority of deaths remained due to untreatable diseases like tuberculosis, pneumonia and measles, scarlet fever and/or associated complications. Doctors were becoming more aware of heart and vascular diseases, and cancer but they were unable to treat these ailments.

A brief review of American medical history will help us to understand that until quite recent (around around 1950’s) there was hardly any methods to treat serious or even minor ailments. This is an important point to be aware of “nothing to treat you” means that doctor visits if at all were relegated to emergencies. In such circumstances, expenses are curtailed. The simple fact is that there was very little available medical care available to doctors and therefore virtually nothing to drive health care spending. A second factor holding cost down was the fact that medical services that were provided were paid out of pocket, meaning by way of individual assets. It was not the case that there was health insurance, and certainly not health insurance that was paid by an employer. Apart from the desperate who managed to get into a charity hospital, health care costs were the responsibility of the individual.

What does health care insurance do to health expenses? The impact it has on health care costs is, and continues to be to this day, absolutely enormous. As health insurance coverage for individuals and families came into being as a means for corporations to avoid wage freezes as well as to attract and retain employees after World War II, almost overnight a great pool of money became available to finance healthcare. The money, a result of the availability of billions of dollars in the health insurance pool, helped an ingenuous America to enhance research in medicine. More Americans became insured not only through private, employer sponsored health insurance, but also through the increase in federal funding, which led to the creation of Medicare as well as Medicaid (1965). Additionally, funding was made available for the expansion of veterans’ health benefits. Finding a cure to nearly everything has become extremely lucrative. This is also the main motive behind the vast array of therapies to choose from today.

I don’t want to suggest that medical advances aren’t beneficial. Think about the tens of millions of lives saved, extended, enriched and made more productive thanks to them. However, with a source of funding that has grown to the current size (hundreds of billions of dollars each year) upward pressure on health care costs are inevitable. Doctor’s advice and the majority of us require and have access to the most recent health technology in the form of medical devices, diagnostic tools and surgical procedures. This means that there’s more health care that we can spend our money on and until very recently most of us were covered and the expenses were mostly covered by a third-party (government and employers). Add to that an unending and unreasonable consumer demand to access and care and we’ve got”the “perfect storm” for higher and higher costs for health care. In the end, the storm is only intensifying.

Now, let’s look at the most important questions that will take us into a discussion and hopefully a better comprehension of the health care reform proposals that are making the rounds in the news today. Is the current trajectory of U.S. health care spending sustainable? Can America remain competitive in the world in a time when 16%, which accounts for 20 percent of our national gross product , is devoted to health care? What are other industrialized countries paying for health care? And are they even near those figures? When we add politics and an election year to the discussion, data that can help us answer these questions is crucial. We must put in some time learning about health care and then deciding how we think about it. With the right knowledge, we can effectively determine if certain health-related proposals could help or cause more harm to some of these issues. What can be done about the issues? What can we do to help to solve the problems?

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