For Profit Healthcare - Is it working?

  1. Is it right to have FOR PROFIT healthcare? More and more I am starting to really question our system in the U.S.

    As a registered nurse, I am appalled to realize that around 47 million Americans have no healthcare coverage. Many of these people are women and children. US is the wealthiest country in the nation, but we can't even provide the most basic health care to many. CEO's in this system of ours are making huge wages, while more and more cuts are being made to the nursing staff and quality of care we give patients.

    Is healthcare a basic human right? I have the opinion that it is.

    I wonder about a Universal healthcare system, I know there are many difficulties and challenges within this system alsol. Yet I am amazed to hear Canada spends only 11 cents for every dollar on administrative costs, while the US wastes 24 cents to every dollar on administrative costs. This means more money pouring into the HMO's
    I have heard many European countries have a wonderful Universal healthcare system that actually works.

    Isn't it a weird concept that when you are ill, you are part of helping the hospital make money. It's like, a twisted concept.

    Am I being too idealistic?

    What happens when patients can't pay there hospital bills and have no insurance? Forgive my lack of knowledge in this area. I am never involved with the billing process and what happens after the patients go home.

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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    No you are not naive, I wish more people thought like you. I posted a reply to this in the other BB as well.

    Healthcare IS a basic right, everyone should be able to see a doctor in a FILTHY STINKIN RICH nation like the US (and yes even Canada). We consider ourselves so poor when more that three quarters of the world couldn't even imagine the cash we have. For profit healthcare is a disaster. CEOs and administrators are so expensive it maks me sick. The only way the system saves money is by denying reasonable care to those 47 million citizens without platinum VISA cards.

    The only time someone in my family had to go to the hospital we could not afford to pay. We went to a county hospital because they had to treat her and were eventually contacted by a collection agency to pay the money. In a system like that MONEY becomes GOD and things like caring and helping are forgotten by the hospitals administration.
  4. by   fergus51
    Just as an aside, Have you heard the joke,

    What's the difference between terrorists and HMOs?
    You can negociate with terrorists.

    Seems to sum it up for me.
  5. by   Jacci59
    I wholeheartedly agree with you on this issue. It is a sad time when CEO's, HMO's, and other insurance companies are making mega bucks at the expense of the patient who continues to receive less and less for their money. Insurance costs continue to rise, and what the patient gets for those increases keeps decreasing.

    Would it not be possible to get a petition going where we can all sign it, send it to either the President, or Congressmen. we need to urge them to do something about this very sad state of affairs !! Stop the mega buck that CEO's etc are making?

    Maybe I am way off base with this, but it is high time that something is done. I know I can't afford any more increases in our insurance. Ours has gone up for 2001 by 50%.
    My sister, who is retired and living on fixed income, has had her insurance cost go up over 100% for 2001.

    Any other suggestions out there!

    Jacci59
  6. by   reg06
    I saw this post on a different topic about the million nurses march in 2002 in Washinton DC on the capital steps to stand up and make Washington take notice of our poor state of affairs in healthcare. I for one am marking it on my calender to try to go. I think it takes activism to change anything, people have the power to change if we all rise up and raise our voices. Nurses unite and we are amazed to see what a strong voice we have.

    Here is the link http://www.millionnursemarch.org/

    Unfortunately, I feel lately people are working so much, trying to fit in some family life, and there is little time for people to get educated on issues or try to change things.

    I also think TV is controlling a lot of people's independent thinking. I know this sounds radical, but think about how much the tv influences your thoughts and opinions, not to mention what you buy!!
  7. by   OC_An Khe
    All hospitals are for profit, they couldn't exist in our system otherwise. The difference between "for profit and non-profit" is who gets to keep the surplus. In the for profit area the surplus goes to the owners. In the non profit, in theory,the surplus is retained by the organization so they can continue to care for the sick/injuried regardless of their ability to pay. However in most of the non-profit places I have worked most of the surpluses goes to upper management and non essential perks.
  8. by   Mijourney
    Originally posted by reg06:
    Is it right to have FOR PROFIT healthcare? More and more I am starting to really question our system in the U.S.

    As a registered nurse, I am appalled to realize that around 47 million Americans have no healthcare coverage. Many of these people are women and children. US is the wealthiest country in the nation, but we can't even provide the most basic health care to many. CEO's in this system of ours are making huge wages, while more and more cuts are being made to the nursing staff and quality of care we give patients.

    Is healthcare a basic human right? I have the opinion that it is.

    I wonder about a Universal healthcare system, I know there are many difficulties and challenges within this system alsol. Yet I am amazed to hear Canada spends only 11 cents for every dollar on administrative costs, while the US wastes 24 cents to every dollar on administrative costs. This means more money pouring into the HMO's
    I have heard many European countries have a wonderful Universal healthcare system that actually works.

    Isn't it a weird concept that when you are ill, you are part of helping the hospital make money. It's like, a twisted concept.

    Am I being too idealistic?

    What happens when patients can't pay there hospital bills and have no insurance? Forgive my lack of knowledge in this area. I am never involved with the billing process and what happens after the patients go home.

    ---------------------------------------------
    Hi reg06. I don't have a thorough understanding of the health and medical care system either. But, I do know that the U.S. absorbs the lion's share of the world's resources (we only make up 2% of the world population from some expert accounts) and for some reason less than 50% of us are benefitting from this in any meaningful way. "Show me the money" as a popular movie was titled.

    Life itself use to be priceless and precious. But now, unless you are deemed a producer, your life means absolutely nothing. Even for us producers, we're essentially akin to worker ants for a queen. We work and work and then die horribly and are casually replaced by a new generation of worker ants. However, I feel that the nursing shortage and the chaos in health/medical care may reveal that this mentality of profit by every means necessary will undermine this country's if not the world's ability to maintain stability. I do believe we will see worse then a recession in years to come.

    As far as universal health care is concerned, I have heard pros and cons on it from those who live in the system from other countries. I think its success depends largely on what type of government a country has, its laws, and how unified the people of the nation are. We, in the U,S. have some form of universal health care in Medicaid and Medicare. Medicare, in particular, has worked well for millions of elderly and disabled. It has also served to help many hospitals, physicians, and vendors turn a large profit.
  9. by   fergus51
    Postaledde,
    Universal health care is not a dream, many countries have it as a reality. I now work in Canada and I know the system here has a lot of problems, but the answer isn't letting HMOs come and rob patients blind up here too. The answer is more effective use of resources ie. using nurse practitionners, midwives, more full time positions so less money is spent on overtime, etc.

    Here it is the DOCTORS who decide what gets done for a patient, not some executive who works for an HMO who knows little about medicine and cares even less about you. One of the only times I went to see a doctor when I was in the States we didn't have any money to pay for more tests so it wasn't until I got back to Canada that I found out I had a serious medical condition. Without my medication I could have had to deal with birth defects in any children I have, heart problems and blindness.

    Canadians go to the US to have surgery AFTER the doctors here have found out what the problem is and told them if they have money they can get it fixed faster in the States. Which shows what really matters in that kind of system: MONEY. Your hospitals will treat rich foreigners but won't help their own working class citizens unless they can cough up tons of cash. I know, I was one of them. And I don't think that wealth should equal health.
  10. by   postaledde
    Universal healthcare is a dream! Unfortunately it doesn't work!! Take a real hard look at the healthcare sytems around the world. Who do you want deciding wheather a particular treatment is necessary?? Who do you want deciding how long you can wait before having surgery. We see your having a little problem with your heart, it doesn't fall within the guidelines for surgery yet, come backand see us when it get's a little worse!! Ask the Canadians why they come to the U.S. to have surgery?? Ask the British why they come to the U.S. to have surgeries?? Take a good hard look at the number of people from "" Universal Healthcare Systems "" that come to the U.S. every year for healthcare. Ask them how well it doesn't work. Ask those that have died due to those types of decisions, how well it worked. We just need to fix the system we have!!
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by postaledde:
    Universal healthcare is a dream! Unfortunately it doesn't work!! Take a real hard look at the healthcare sytems around the world. Who do you want deciding wheather a particular treatment is necessary?? Who do you want deciding how long you can wait before having surgery. We see your having a little problem with your heart, it doesn't fall within the guidelines for surgery yet,
    come backand see us when it get's a little worse!! Ask the Canadians why they come to the U.S. to have surgery?? Ask the British
    why they come to the U.S. to have surgeries?? Take a good hard look at the number of people from "" Universal Healthcare Systems "" that come to the U.S. every year for healthcare. Ask them how well it doesn't work. Ask those that have died due to those types of decisions, how well it worked. We just need to fix the system we have!!
    I cared for a patient WITH INSURANCE who suffered an MI, cardiac arrest, family CPR, brain damage, and CHF waiting for authorization to have an angiogram. Who do you want making these decisions? A clerk using an algorythm? This patient was in the ER when told there would be a two week authorization period. Chest pain was gone after NTG and O2 so the wimpy MD allowed this patient to go home when the insurance person denied the angiogram.
    I know a nurse with a strong family history who was denied a mammogram because she was, "too young". She paid for it herself, had a mastectomy, radiation, and chemo. She if fine now and still trying to get them to pay for the "not medically necessary" mammogram. There are thousands of such stories. If the US has the best health care in the world we need to change the world!
    Who do you want making the decisions regarding your life? A CEO in an enormous building where NO PATIENT IS EVER CARED FOR.Couldn't that money be spent on care? Couldn't thse people do something productive instead of being paid to deny care?

  12. by   Navy Nurse
    I agree with OCANKHE, all hospitals are for profit. I can promise you that the CEO's of "not-for profit" hospitals make their share of money. They want the paying patient just as bad as the for profit hospital. I agree that there needs to be changes in the Health Care System, but it is the government that needs to make and monitor these changes, not the CEO's of hospitals. THis is a totally social issue.
    We have been ripping apart the CEO's of hospitals for making big money, but what about CEO's of large food corporations. They are making over a million a year and yet we still have people starving to death. CEO's of power companies are making a lot of money, but again we live in a country where some of the elderly freeze to death in the winter.
    On the Catch 22 side, if you are working at a "for profit" hospital and drawing benefits, especially 401k (that invest in your hospital) and profit sharing (through stock purchases)do you really want to see the hospital to start losing value.
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    On the fact that the CEOs of power companies are millionaire while people freeze and the food companies while people starve, my grandmother always said, "Two wrongs don't make a right."
    These cliches became that because there is truth to them.
    We as taxpayers pay for the VA, Medicare, Medicaide, health coverage for government workers (President, senator, and clean-up guy), the military health care, Indian Health Service, county systems, and vaccination clinics. Non-profits are not taxed. What if any of these would we give up?
    Here we deregulated the electricity and the prices went to the point many cannot pay their bills. I do not think a "Medicare for all" would be perfect, but WE could elect those who run it. Is any for-profit willing to deliver mail for 34 cents? Would even the richest senior refuse Medicare? Of course supplemental insurance is necessary for those with too much to qualify for Medicaid but with all its problems is a Godsend now that we have the knowledge and technology to help people live longer.
    Here in California 25% of citizens under 65 have NO health insurance. Most adults are working full time. A nursing assistant lost her insurance when she became too sick with cancer to work and couldn't afford COBRA. She sold her house to pay medical bills after using all her savings, went on Medicaid, and died leaving two teen children wards of the court.
    This is just plain wrong. She spent her last months unable to see her kids while she was between nursing home and hospital.The foster parents would not even bring these kids to see her. I helped her call them. They cried and told me they could have made it with their part time jobs if they still had the house she had worked overtime for. I pray for people with this kind of situation but we must act too!
    God bless us all.
  14. by   pickledpepperRN
    Who else is interested in our healthcare system. Or is it a "sick care non-system"?

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