My primary connection to health care is my being a consumer of it, and nothing more. I will apologize at least once for having the temerity to suggest what could be a possible course of action to solve or rectify the problem of American Health Care.
This is part of a song performed brilliantly by Rex Harrison in the play and motion picture of My Fair Lady.
Well after all, Pickering, I'm an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more than an ordinary chance,
to live exactly as he likes, and do precisely what he wants...
An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,
Who likes to live his life, free of strife,
doing whatever he thinks is best, for him,
Well... just an ordinary man...
I am both ordinary and simplistic, and I would like to delve into the complex world of ... "Universal Health Care". But first, a metaphor that sets the stage for my position.
As a kid growing up in New York I wondered why all public transit was not free to everyone which would allow the system to remove the costly and burdensome activity of collecting money. The city would provide the service to the people as it provides other services such as Police and Fire. Funding would be like other city services: cost would be paid by everyone, and I would expect people not using the system would object. It does not matter if you have no kids, or you send them to private school, you still pay taxes to educate everyone else's kids.
If you want to go from one place to another you simply get on the bus or train that is going there. No tokens, no turnstiles, no metro cards. This of course is an incredibly simplistic solution, and undoubtedly would be labeled as socialism, but what the hell.
I have been educated as an Electrical Engineer. I expect that it is unreasonable for me to comment about health care in America, but if Glen Beck of Fox News can take a position on the issue, so can I.
This process would be easier for me if I could find my slide rule. (Anyone remember a slide rule?)
Here, as in the New York City transit suggestion, is my incredibly overly simplistic Health Care scenario.
It begins with the understanding that every American is entitled to adequate health care, whatever that means. As one of the richest nations in the history of our planet we should assume the responsibility of doing that.
If you have the financial resourses you can purchase additional care. As in the NY subways, if you can afford it, you can drive your own car to get where you want to go or take a taxi.
Let us assume that the population of our country is three hundred million people. In order to provide these people with health care let us say that it would cost two plus trillion dollars annually.
The two plus trillion dollars would come from tax revenue allocated into a health care system which pays out the two plus trillion dollars, or whatever it takes to do what is needed.
No claim forms, no approvals or disapprovals, the Federal government paying for everything.
If you are sick you just show up at the proper place, wherever that happens to be, and the system looks after you. Certainly this needs to be organized and managed.
And now comes a moment dealing with an issue that would be a challenge to the wise King Solomon.
The woman I love has a metastasis of Ocular Melanoma. Her treatments have cost the system a gazillion dollars in order to extend her life for a limited amount of time. For her, her family and for me, and all who love her it is money well spent. This issue is however a conundrum and King Solomon is no longer around; I do not have a clue as to how to properly deal with the issue.
Were we to invoke some sort of health care "rationing", I expect that her treatment would have been denied by the "system".
And now I suggest what will be or is the biggest impediment to a reasonable health care solution.
The modern "military-industrial complex" expression existed before Eisenhower made it famous. In 1956 in a book entitled The Power Elite, it was suggested that a class of military, business, and political leaders, driven by mutual interests, were the real leaders of the state, and were effectively beyond democratic control. Congress is not anxious to give up the creation of armaments and the jobs in their district that go with them.
We have also, after two hundred plus years, developed something that President Eisenhower never envisioned: A "Medical Industrial Complex". Many of the people who have created businesses in the health care "industry" will of course fight hard to see them not go away.
Health care legislative decisions place our system where they usually end up, which is "up to your ass in a variety of vested interests trying their best to serve themselves," which I expect to them is a noble cause.
I have always found it strange that we understand "the care and feeding of the military" spending north of a trillion dollars a year to keep us "safe," yet we are loathe as a nation to spend whatever amount of money is required to keep us alive and healthy.
We are in my opinion far more threatened by illness and disease than we are by a possible invasion from North Korea, but if you suggest that we in some way finance health care as we do the military, many people go bonkers and call that system the first step to socialism or communism.
Which of the following do we need more, artillery or antibiotics?
We also need to change the law and the process concerning malpractice law suits, as well as malpractice insurance. File a lawsuit, "the system" is sued and not the individual provider. The system defends itself.
And now the way it was and the way it is, regarding a few aspects of health care gathered from the internet.
In 1999 U.S. private insurers retained $46.9 billion of the $401.2 billion they collected in premiums.
Their average overhead (11.7 percent) exceeded that of Medicare (3.6 percent) and Medicaid (6.8 percent).
Overall, public and private insurance overhead in the United States totaled $72.0 billion -- 5.9 percent of the total health care expenditures in the United States, or $259 per capita.
The overhead costs of Canada's provincial insurance plans totaled $311 million (1.3 percent) of the $23.5 billion they spent for physicians and hospital services. An additional $17 million was spent to administer federal government health plans. The overhead of Canadian private insurers averaged 13.2 percent of the $8.4 billion spent for private coverage.
Overall, insurance overhead accounted for 1.9 percent of Canadian health care spending, or $47 per Capita.
If only we were able to curtail those with "vested interests," we would have a chance but alas...
Aint this all just great???
I desperately need at least two Extra Strength Bayer Aspirins immediately, unless the system can provide me with a drug that costs a whole lot more money and is at least demonstrably a little more effective.
Of course if I get an unexpected adverse reaction from taking the aspirins, I will sue Bayer and the CVS Pharmacy where I purchased the product.
Long live malpractice law suits!