Health Care: The Ticking Time Bomb - page 20

Our health care system hurts everyone. Premiums are expensive and increasing every year. Doing nothing today will cost taxpayers 2-3 times more in the next few years. Currently, the "public... Read More

  1. by   the bridge
    Great post Joe V! This is definitely the hottest topic that everyone is talking about! Personally, I would not support a publicly funded health care system. Here is my rant on the state of health care in America:

    Recently, there has been a very big debate over the cost of health care in America and what to do about it.

    Let's start with considering how much the average lawyer in America earns. Most sources on the internet state that lawyers will usually start out earning approximately $55,000 per year immediately following graduation from law school. That figure increases to approximately $115,000 per year after 20 years experience. But those are just estimates from a variety of internet blog sites. I have met a few lawyers in my lifetime and I can assure you, most of them make considerably more than the top end quoted above. I live in Wilmington, Delaware, and I know for a fact that some of the lawyers here make enough money to buy a $500,000 home with cash! Now as sensational as that statement may sound, it is a fact. And it probably would not be hard to extrapolate that to the rest of the country, especially in all of the big cities.

    Wait a minute! Didn't I start this blog with the intentions of discussing the cost of health care in America? So, what do lawyers have to with the cost of health care in America? Well, there is the cost of malpractice insurance which every doctor and hospital must purchase unless they want to be left bare-naked in the event of losing a law suit. The cost of their malpractice insurance premiums they pay to their insurance companies is passed onto the public whenever they need medical care.

    But, wait a minute! Have you ever looked at your bill after having received medical care at your doctor's office or hospital stay? You will see how much the doctor and/or hospital would like to charge and how much the insurance company will actually pay them? What's that all about? Do doctor's and hospital's jack up their bill with the hope they might at least get something close to what it cost them to perform the services rendered? And if they don’t get what they need from the patient’s health insurance provider, how do they make up the difference? Answer: they write it off as a tax deduction!

    So, it appears that everyone who has health care insurance is paying for the rising cost of health care via their ever-rising health insurance premiums. And, even if you do not have health insurance, you are paying ever-rising taxes which include the money the government is trying to recoup because everyone, not just doctors and hospitals, but everyone who makes big money is always writing something off as a loss and deducting it from their income taxes.

    And who is allowing all of this to happen? Answer: basically one could say we are all at fault, but let’s face it, the politicians in this country write the laws which effect the delivery of health care to the public. And one has to ask, “What is the background of these politicians who have so much oversight over our lives and our health?” Answer: lawyers! And every time I read about some Washington politician’s background, the majority of them were lawyers before entering politics!

    I guess my point is this: Even though advances in medical technology and the cost of taking care of the underinsured, such as illegal aliens and those living in poverty, have had an effect on the rising cost of health care, should we ignore the role that lawyers have played in making health care more expensive?

    And, I would definitely agree with anyone who says we all have a responsibility to control the cost of health care too. How many of us use tobacco, alcohol and drugs? How many of us are overweight and have not made any non-surgical attempts to control our weight? What about the responsibility of the schools to teach children to not smoke, not use drugs and to live a healthy life style? Would it not be generally agreed upon that wellness and happiness are one in the same? So, what’s our problem?

    The answer to that question is probably so complex it would take a lot of writing to answer it. But the skinny answer is that we live in a culture that encourages self-gratification over self-discipline. That’s why we have so many people who show up at the doctor’s office or the emergency room when they could have reduced their health risk by living a more healthy life style.

    But in lieu of our culture’s ability to infuse us to be health nuts, we have developed a very expensive health care system that gives us lots of drugs and exotic surgeries to fix us up when we fall apart. And if, in the process of fixing us up, a doctor or hospital makes a mistake and harms us, we get a lawyer and go to court and hope to win a legal lottery-sized award from the judge.

    And believe me, your lawyer will also hope you win the gold at the end of the rainbow too, because he is going to reap in a very large percentage of that award. But what about pro bono cases, because, gosh, lawyers are nice people too, right? Let’s be sensible, if lawyers spent any significant amount of time on pro bono cases, they would never make enough money to buy those really nice suits and those incredible cars they drive!

    But hey, that’s America!
    Last edit by the bridge on Aug 10, '09
  2. by   VickyRN
    :yeahthat:Excellent post, the bridge
  3. by   the bridge
    Thank you VickyRN!
  4. by   lamazeteacher
    [quote=the bridge;3795481] please excuse my teacher's penchant for correction of spelling and whatever else strikes my needs, as well as writing my thoughts into your work.
    so, what do lawyers have to with the cost of health care in america? well, there is the cost of malpractice insurance which every doctor and hospital must purchase unless they want to be left bare-naked in the event of losing a law suit. the cost of their malpractice insurance premiums they pay to their insurance companies is passed onto the public whenever they need medical care.

    yes, malpractise insurance premiums' cost certainly is passed on to patients, their insurance companies covering them through ever rising premiums; and dictates whether the cost of insuring employees makes it unfeasible to continue their employment. it is also "double dipping", because as a cost of business, the amount of the premium can be deducted from doctors' income taxes! lawyers' fees for defending doctors can be deducted from their income taxes, too....... however, the awards to patients when malpractice has been proven, may not be entirely tax deductible; and that makes that doctors' premium for that insurance go up exponentially, which doesn't seem to curb some doctors' habitual vulnerability for lawsuits, which usually result from (a) having malpractise insurance, and (b) having lousy relationships/communication skills with patients, for which patients get to pay more........

    have you ever looked at your bill after having received medical care at your doctor's office or hospital stay? you will see how much the doctor and/or hospital would like to charge and how much the insurance company will actually pay them? what's that all about? do doctor's and hospitals jack up their bill with the hope they might at least get something close to what it cost them to perform the services rendered?
    doctors' fees don't reflect cost of service only, as they are so inflated to offset the possibility of being sued; and patients will usually feel guilty when they see the gap between what the doctor charged, and what insurance ompanies and medicare will pay in that geographical area, for a particular task/procedure (the going rate as estimated by hacks).
    and if they don’t get what they need from the patient’s health insurance provider, how do they make up the difference? answer: they write it off as a tax deduction! yes, it's called a "business loss"! so don't feel so bad for the docs.......

    .........everyone who has health care insurance is paying for the rising cost of health care via their ever-rising health insurance premiums. (if you're lucky enough to retain your employment and pay them, after having any consequential illness) and, even if you do not have health insurance, you are paying ever-rising taxes which include the money the government is trying to recoup because everyone, not just doctors and hospitals, but everyone who makes big money is always writing something off as a loss and deducting it from their income taxes.
    and it is well known that the richer the tax payer, the less income tax they pay, due to their ability to afford tax shelters.........
    and who is allowing all of this to happen? answer: basically one could say we (and the government) are all at fault, but let’s face it, the politicians in this country write the laws which affect the delivery of health care to the public. and one has to ask, “what is the background of these politicians who have so much oversight over our lives and our health?” answer: lawyers! and every time i read about some washington politician’s background, the majority of them were lawyers before entering politics! that's due to their ability to stay awake when reading laws, which most people (and most politicians) find deadly dull...... they also can word bills in such a way that no one in political office can be sued after the bill is passed, for the ill effect it could have.

    .....even though advances in medical technology, computers and billing resources and the cost of taking care of the underinsured, such as illegal aliens and those living in poverty, have had an effect on the rising cost of health care, should we ignore the role that lawyers have played in making health care more expensive? only if successful prosecution for malpractise causes doctors' incomes to plummet, making them practically fair......

    ....... we all have a responsibility to control the cost of health care too. how many of us use tobacco, alcohol and drugs without going to programs that have been proven to curb addictions?

    how many of us are overweight and have not made any non-surgical attempts to control our weight? not many obese people have never gone on a diet. however most weight loss incurred by dieting, causes more weight to be gained afterward. unless behavior modification and portion correction is included in a diet, it will fail. our socialization revolves around meals, which deters weight loss, as unconscious eating takes place during social occasions. what about the responsibility of the schools to teach children to not smoke, not use drugs and to live a healthy life style? all high schools have those programs, or they would be out of compliance with funding requirements. would it not be generally agreed upon that wellness and happiness are one and the same? so, what’s our problem? i'd change wellness to well being here, as health promotes that, as does well being promote health.

    the answer to that question is probably so complex it would take a lot of writing to answer it. but the skinny answer is that we live in a culture that encourages self-gratification over self-discipline. that’s why we have so many people who show up at the doctor’s office or the emergency room when they could have reduced their health risk by living a more healthy life style. like preventing illness through regular checkups (a regime of the past, since "health" insurance companies pay only for illness being treated), maintaining immunization and low cholesterol and close monitoring of prediabetic patients and those with sufficient stress that they are at risk for mental illness. what is the responsibility of schools to teach acceptance of mental illness, so that those so afflicted will seek care for that without exposure to the adult version of school childrens' heckling, which is unemployment caused by weirdness.

    but in lieu of our culture’s ability to infuse us to be health nuts, have the knowledge and coaching by professionals to eat for health; and taking only those supplements that are approved for specific individuals, rather than the token vitamin pill(s). we have developed a very expensive health care system that gives us lots of very expensive drugs we can't afford, then requiring exotic surgeries to fix us up when we fall apart due to lack of medication earlier, overwork, sleep deprivation, and unhealthy eating because our doctors were subjected to a punishing schedule and view such lifestyles as normal! and if, in the process of fixing us up, a doctor or hospital makes a mistake and harms us, we get a lawyer and go to court and hope to win a legal lottery-sized award from the judge. usually it's juries that determine the monetary awards, since they're selected on the basis of low intelligence, making them not doctors or most patients' peers

    and believe me, your lawyer will also hope you win the gold at the end of the rainbow too, because he is going to reap in a very large percentage of that award if hourly charges haven't been chosen for their compensation. but what about pro bono cases, because, gosh, lawyers are nice people too, right? let’s be sensible, if lawyers spent any significant amount of time on pro bono cases, they would never make enough money to buy those really nice suits,huge homes, expensive vacations, token wives, childrens college fees and those incredible cars they drive!
    quote]

    so many of us think doctors wouldn't function better if they made less money, which is nonsense! doctors with altruism driving their choice to attend medical school, are motivated to achieve satisfaction from their patients' achievement of health through their doctors' efforts to apply known and whatever "unproven" methods which can be used safely. since their job satisfaction is in the patients' healthy outcomes, they spend more time with them and use their charming personalities rather than false ego enhancing postures.
    Last edit by lamazeteacher on Aug 11, '09 : Reason: clarity, correction of typos
  5. by   the bridge
    Thank you lamazeteacher for such a great reply to my post!

    Regarding my implying that "wellness" is synonymous with "happiness," I have always felt very comfortable with this relationship. While attending my BSN program, I was enlightened by how profound wellness promotion can be. Wellness promotion is the mission statement of professional nursing. Happiness is, philosophically, the goal that we all wish to achieve for ourselves and our communities. And it is the same with wellness, but wellness is regarded more as a methodology rather than a philosophy. But, as far as I can discern, it would be very difficult to have one without the other.

    And as sad as it may sound, there are a lot of high school students who are experimenting with all kinds of street drugs and drugs they get from their parents' medicine cabinets. This situation exists at every socioeconomic level of our society. From the very well-off families living in the suburbs, to the poverty stricken areas in the cities, you will find huge numbers of high school teenagers experimenting with, and, becoming addicted to a variety of drugs. The schools do have programs in place, but the peer pressure to experiment with drugs and alcohol is very influential with this group.

    I believe that most doctors have entered the medical field because they genuinely want to help patients achieve their optimum level of wellness. But doctors are not immune to the need to compete in their profession. And that is not always a bad thing. Competition between professionals will breed excellence. And in our society, if you are capable of doing something well, you should be paid well for doing it. And this competition, hopefully, will push aside those doctors who are incompetent.

    I am very sympathetic to the vulnerability of doctors regarding malpractice law suits simply because they are so vastly outnumbered by lawyers. From some of the sources I have read, there are at least ten lawyers for every doctor. Many of the lawyers are not involved in medical malpractice litigation, but a significant percentage of them are definitely in the business of suing doctors and hospitals.

    And even though there are certainly some very bad doctors who should at least be banned from practicing, there are many doctors who have left medicine because they have been unfairly targeted by a lawyer who is just out to make money. Additionally, there are quite a few lawyers who will take money from a client, knowing full well they have no chance of winning that case for that client.

    Years ago, doctors enjoyed a very lofty position in a our society, and, to some extent, they still do. But with the advent of the very lucrative medical malpractice business, doctors have become just another chicken for the lawyers to pluck.

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