By Rohini Mohan
Almost 50 million Americans have no health coverage, 9 million of whom are children. Today on an average, an American spends $7000/ year on healthcare, but premiums, deductibles and co-payments are getting higher and higher, forcing people to put off getting medical aid. And if you’re over 65 without a job, it’s a scary thought to be living in America from the health care point of view. In Sicko, Micheal Moore compares America’s profit oriented health care system with that in Canada and England. He calls the system here, “Soul less”
Clinton propagates an affordable (tax credits for working families), non-discriminatory (no denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions), portable (not job dependent) health care system. Hand holding small businesses with tax credits is also on the cards.
Obama has the same objectives as Clinton, and promises heath coverage for every American with lesser premiums as well as disease management systems to improve quality of care for chronic illnesses.
Edwards promises all of the above as well as a plan to create regional healthcare markets to increase the bargaining power of the average American and therefore drive down costs.
Huckabee believes the healthcare system is broken and needs fixing because it is a “healthcare” system and not a “health” system (whatever that means). Apart from universal coverage and portability he proposes is to work with the private sector to drive down costs. A consumer based system is his mantra as opposed to socialized medicine.
Giuliani promotes a better healthcare system as one of what he calls his “12 commitments”. “I will give Americans more control over and access to healthcare with affordable and portable free-market solutions”
Romney would like to get away from the one size fits all approach, deregulate the private health insurance market to drive down costs and factor in the role of the states in spearheading reform. Stopping free riders and encouraging innovation in Medicaid are also important to his agenda.
McCain talks of complete reform and a fundamental change in the health care system, which is basically another way of saying all of the above. The one unique promise is that of addressing the needs of the Veterans.
Private health insurance or Socialized medicine? There is no right answer, really, it’s a rock Vs a hard place.
Will any candidate listen to the truth about what’s wrong with our healthcare system? Reducing reimbursement to providers simply leads to more services provided to make up for the reduction.
Someone needs to look at the medical necessity for procedures and diagnostice and deny reimbursement for those that are unnecessary. If our lawmakers want to take a positive step to reduce healthcare cost, they should take a look at joint ventures that lead to an incentive to perform more procedures and provide more service. Look for violations of the Stark statutes, sans all of the goofy exceptions, and put a stop to the subrosa kickbacks. Believe me, they are everywhere.
But first: the lawmakers and candidates have to take their heads out of the sand and ignore AMA, AHA, Insurance Industry, and other special interests lobbying.
Will it ever happen? I doubt it in my lifetime. Just tighten your seatbelts.
Great comment, charlesclarknovels. Every doctor I went to told me the battery of tests he/she wanted done were necessary to ward off any temptation of litigation. One cardiologist refused to recognise the report I had. He said I had to go through all the tests again at a place approved by him. And all I wanted was a clearance from him for travel insurance.
Fellow beings, this is a wake-up call. Eat sensibly and well, exercise, sleep, do yoga and stay well within health parameters and outside hospitals. Good luck to you!
And thanks WNI for this series of articles!