Is Health Care a Right? - page 6

Just want to see your opinion (friendly discussion, no flaming, please). Is health care a right that should be enjoyed equally here in the U.S.? If so, how would this be financed without breaking... Read More

  1. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by Susy K
    No, parents shouldn't have to pay with their child's life - however, the circumstances surrounding into how she got there - in jail, pregnant, etc should all be considered a "payment" if you will. Like I said, it sounds harsh, but I'd much rather that poor child die seconds after delivery than raised in foster care, or by a single mom who's also a prison inmate and most likely will continue to put her child in harm's way.

    I don't wish to be flamed for this at all. But I guess I adore children too much to have them at all costs. My belief may be unpopular, but that baby is far better off in my opinion. Divine intervention, perhaps? I've had infants born in the toilet, covered in thick meconium and not brought to the hospital for 2 hours after delivery. They survived. This one didn't. Perhaps for a damn good reason.
    So anyone who goes to prison for whatever reason is irredeemable and deserves whatever they get? Can never be a good parent?

    God may have decided she'd have a problem with the pregnancy, but it was the jailers who denied her appropriate care. If the baby had died with care, then it's in God's hands. If jailers playing God is a "damn good reason" then I guess you're right.
  2. by   Worthy
    I just want to thank you, Fergus51, for correcting some people's perceptions of the Canadian Healthcare System.

    My dad is chairman of the board of a hospital in Ontario, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Hospital Association. While he is just a "pencil pusher", I can't tell you how frustrated he gets when people trash the Ontario Healthcare system. Of COURSE people fall through the cracks...the system is not perfect, nor ever will be. But the reality is that Canadian Citizens enjoy a wonderful level of healthcare not seen in most other countries.

    Our big problem right now isn't lack of funds, MRI's, Equipment and facilities - it's people TRAINED to do the job.

    A hospital with an MRI in London, Ontario a few years back let a local Veterinarian use the facility. The MRI was closed on weekends as there was no one to operate the thing, so it sat empty, so the vet was welcomed with open arms. The vet paid the hospital for the privilege. There was a HUGE public outcry - the perception was that animals health was being placed over a persons (since there can be waiting lists for non-emergent MRI's here. Note I said non-emergent). The vets contract was terminated, the MRI sits closed, and the hospital lost the money.

    As my father said "the vet could read a doggie's MRI, but I wouldn't want him doing mine".

    Oh my, I'm off topic...but food for thought.
    Last edit by Worthy on Jan 16, '03
  3. by   NurseDennie
    This is a very interesting thread. It's something I've thought about quite a bit. I guess everybody has done?

    Is health care a right? That really is a hard question. Because it certainly is a necessity. But so are food, shelter, warmth, transportation, and several other things. We're not calling for socialized food. People who can afford steaks and lobster can have them. People who can't afford that, have beans and rice or something. What Level of health care is a right, and what is a perk? People who couldn't afford a private hospital used to go to metro or other general hospitals. Our general hospital was a great trauma ER for a long time. Our Catholic hospitals used to provide a lot of free or reduced-cost care. The ones I know can't afford to do that anymore.

    I don't know how logical this is. Using food as a model. It seems to me that IF some insurance-type entity suddenly became available for people who could afford it, and began paying for the food for the people who had it, food would suddenly become more expensive. I think this is sort of what happened with health care.

    Back to food. At first the insurance co's would be cleaning up! People would buy food insurance in case they needed it, but most people would never put on a banquet for 500. And if they did put on a banquet, there were co-pays that would cover part of the cost and insurance would pay the other cost. But the cost of the banquet would still be considerable for the person putting it on.

    But the insurance co's decided that in order to cut down their part of the costs, they were going to have to control everything. How well would it work for an outside company to tell Krogers how much they are going to pay for eggplants? No matter what the farmers got for them and/or other costs. Seems like the store would feel caught between two hard places, and take out the stress on their staff. Cut back on the number of stockers and cashiers and require them to work double shifts and mostly just make them do the work as best that can understaffed. And if the clerks lasted long enough to get higher pay because of longevity, then it would make sense to do things to run off the long-term clerks and hire new ones.

    So, if I carry on with that analogy, this post'll be longer than my regular ones (no no, horrors). It seems to me that insurance is THE way for people to spread around the risk. Some people end up with big problems that need a lot of $$$ from the group. Some people have very few problems, and their money that went into the group ends up paying for the problems of the sick people.

    We have Tenncare here in Tennessee, and it's a nightmare. The idea was 1) to insure people who were uninsurable because of illness 2) insure EVERY child who was uninsured for any reason and 3) insure the working poor who didn't have insurance. They would pay on a sliding scale. These are good ideas, but man, it's just not working out. Okay, the government runs it, so how well is it run? Well, at the second half of last year they sent out notices that more people should sign up. They spent millions on postage and signs and everything. People, I assume, signed up. Then they sent out notices that they are discontinuing a large number of people. More notices, more hassle, more money spent. NOW the government is looking at requiring the state to sign more people up. Again.

    People are moving to this state for the express reason of signing up for this free medical care. I don't know what happened to the sliding scale - I think that got dropped at some point. Illegal aliens who have never contributed are signed up. I hear that some insurance companies will sell you for $25, a letter stating that you're uninsurable so you can get Tenncare (rather than spend lots and lots and lots of money on their insurance). This way the insurance co. gets $25 for nothing (they knew the person couldn't afford the insurance anyway, why not go for $25), and the people get Tenncare for nothing.

    Tenncare pays less than half of what Medicaid paid, so many many many physicians won't accept Tenncare patients. How about that. I think that some doctors are forced to accept Tenncare patients, but I don't know how that works.

    So, it seems to me that if insurance is a way to spread the risk, then you have to make sure that NON-sick people are in the pool, in order to pay the bills for the sick people. How to force them to do that? I guess national health.

    And yeah, national health. In England, people who can afford it have private insurance. Interesting.

    In old old movies, sometimes you see the family member of a sick person (if he's rich) say "Save my son! Money is no object!" You don't hear that anymore, I guess because in some ways money already IS no object. On the other hand, if you were paying for it yourself, even the richest of the rich would hesitate before saying money is no object.


  4. by   Dr. Kate
    The very diversity of opinions and depth of reflective thought gives evidence to the complexity of the question.

    Health care as a right seems to date from the inception of the medicare program. Life was simpler then, medicine was less complex, the beginnings of the technological explosion in medicine still on the horizon.
    Before medicare if you didn't have insurance or money you just "lived with" your problem and suffered. That really wasn't a good thing for anyone. As an aside, nurses salaries were pretty much stagnant.
    So, with the reforms of the Great Society we had increased federal, state and local funding of a plethora of programs including healthcare. We have come to expect healthcare will be provided. I don't know if expectation makes something a right. One of the positive outcomes of the Viet Nam war was the push to apply technology to healthcare (it was coming before but the war and what was developed because of the war was a major factor in the increase of healthcare related technology.)
    As the expectations of healthcare increase so have the demands that everyone be covered for everything. Increased technological expertise seems to me to be at the heart of increased expectation that all outcomes must be positive. Isn't that what technology does, improve lives? If bad or negative outcomes are not acceptable (not in congruence with expectations) then someone must be to blame. Once the concept of blame comes in so do the litigators. Litigation leads to increased costs and expectations. And so it goes.

    What I've taken too many words to say is I think heathcre has become an expectation. I'm not sure that makes it a right.
  5. by   coolh2o
    Here is a twist; How about PREVENTATIVE health care being a right? This puts the ownership back on the individual. You make at least a minimal effort to take care of yourself (see a physician once a year for a check-up), you will not be denied treatment-ever. Of course this applies only to non-emergent treatment. Children are included-prevention starts at birth. It is a payroll tax, all working people pay into the pool to offset costs. If you refuse prevention, you wait when you need non-emergent treatment, plain and simple.

    Right now Medicare and Medicaid are universal healthcare in its most distorted form. It HAS to be fixed!
  6. by   fergus51
    No problem Worthy! It is amazing the misconceptions people have about our health care system, Americans in particular. I have lived in the US and love it like I love Canada, but I can say without a doubt I would rather get sick here in Canada. The scary thing is a lot of the Canadian public seems to think we would be better off in a system like that. I bet few of thos people have ever sought treatment in the US like I have or they wouldn't have that opinion.

    As an aside, universal health care doesn't have to be government run or "socialized" health care. It would be government regulated as most of health care is, but that doesn't have to mean the elimination of private companies to impose some Stalinist type program.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Originally posted by fergus51
    I think it should be a basic entitlement or right of citizenship, especially for children. I think it is bassackwards to guarantee prisoners medical care, but not children.

    As for not breaking the bank: Have you considered the costs of not having universal healthcare, which include lost work days, bankruptcies, etc.? It's a lot cheaper to provide basic care, than run a system like in the US with different HMOs and healthcare organizations like Tenet that bilk the system outrageously.
    Took the words outa my mouth, Fergus. Well-said.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Originally posted by coolh2o
    Here is a twist; How about PREVENTATIVE health care being a right? This puts the ownership back on the individual. You make at least a minimal effort to take care of yourself (see a physician once a year for a check-up), you will not be denied treatment-ever. Of course this applies only to non-emergent treatment. Children are included-prevention starts at birth. It is a payroll tax, all working people pay into the pool to offset costs. If you refuse prevention, you wait when you need non-emergent treatment, plain and simple.

    Right now Medicare and Medicaid are universal healthcare in its most distorted form. It HAS to be fixed!
    that's not a far reach and is common-sense laden. Why can't we do this? It would be so much cheaper in the LONG run.
  9. by   srose
    As human beings, regardless of citizenship, past history (including criminal), occupation, or status, I believe we are all entitled to health care. I see it as a right, not necessarily a constitional right, but a human right.

    The more I learn about the US healthcare delivery and insurance systems, the more sickened I am. I would rather pay much higher taxes in exchange for a universal or national health care system than be in the system we are now. I think it's disgusting how if someone is ill or injured, they have to base their decision on seeking medical help based on finances.

    As for prisoners receiving health care, I don't actually have a problem with that. They are entitled. I am not in a position to judge them for being in prison or what they may have done, they are still human, and deserve to be treated as such. The problem that I have is that the same healthcare is not provided to the rest of the needy populations.

    As a nursing student, I know that within a few years I am going to be entrenched in this healthcare system and dealing head-on with the flaws inherent in it. That's why I'm seriously considering a move to Canada or the UK (I know, it's hard, but I'm already researching very viable and possible ways that it can happen). Doesn't make me very patriotic, I know.

  10. by   Tinkerbell
    I've delt with this from several differant angles in my life.

    I was adopted at 10 weeks. My biological mother gave birth to me in a county jail. She was a gogo dancer and a drug addict. Did I deserve to die?

    As a child, my single adopted-mother (adopted-father walked out on us when I was 9) worked very hard to support us yet her job didn't offer insurance. We didn't get food stamps or any other goverment assistance besides the fact that I was able to get a hot lunch at school for a reduced rate. - Most of the times, my mom made me take my lunch anyhow. I got sick with scarlet fever. I was hospitilized for almost 4 months. Mom made just to much for us to qualify for Medicade, and my dad would only help out very little. She missed a lot of work being at my side in the hospital. People from our church stepped up to the plate and helped out with food or whatever they could. The hospital ended up writting over 90% of the bill off. (This is one of my reasons for becoming a nurse)
    As a grown woman, my computer programmer husband lost his job all of a sudden. I was 4 months pregnant with our son. Ended up having no choice but getting medicade because I knew I had to get care for my baby. I knew it was what was best for him. My records got all messed up with someone else's and medicade had that my baby died when he was born - not true - and the date of conception for 2nd child was 3 days later. (is that even possible??) Even after taking my son to them with his birth certificate with the foot prints on it so they could match his to what I had they refused to change my records and would only pay for things after Jan. 3. My son was born Dec. 31 and I had a postpardum hemmorage that required 4 bags of blood for me to survive. Now my husband and I are over $25,000 in debt and the hospital or doctor refuse to work with us. We're looking at bad credit for a long long time.
    The current system fails even those that deserve it. It has to be replaced. Currently we have insurance thru my husband's job and if our premium's go up again this year, we'll have to cancel it because we just can't afford it. I don't know what we'll do. This was just my .02
  11. by   semstr
    As coming from countries where national healthcare is a human-right, I don't think I have to explain myself any further here.

    PS: with all the money going into the "mobilizing of the troops" right now, how long and how many people could be saved?
  12. by   maureeno
    I appreciate the personal stories written on this thread. They show we are all vulnerable in our lottery style system. Do you think the fact we live in a country where 0.1% [1/10 of 1%] of the population made 86% of the campaign donations in the last election has anything to do with our health care crisis?
  13. by   RN2B2005
    To clarify,

    It wasn't a matter of who would pay me for the MRI, because under state law, if we treated that patient without consent from her primary care physician, our clinic would NOT be paid at all, by anyone. Even if the mother had paid us out of her pocket, we would be legally obligated to return the money under state law.

    She was attempting to accomplish the goal of having her son's knee scanned; however, her feeling was that because we were a medical facility, we were obligated to treat her son even if we knew we wouldn't be paid. It never occurred to her that SHE was obligated as a mother to establish care with her son's PCP before an emergency arose; she had been assigned to the PCP for over a year, but always opted to go the ER route for care for her son.

    Many clinics in our area have stopped accepting new Medicaid patients altogether, since they LOSE money every single time one comes through the door; provider payments run about 60% of provider cost. Working at an outpatient radiology clinic, we are affected less by this--lab and radiology services are covered at about 80%--but out of every ten Medicaid patients, probably two are denied for payment entirely. We now require that DSHS patients actually show us their current medical coupon; in the past we just took their word for it, only to find out weeks or months later that the individual didn't have the correct DSHS coverage at the time of the visit, and therefore we're screwed.

    It's crass to look at just the money side, but money is what makes healthcare. It's not about cutting doctor's salaries or nurse's salaries, it's about the actual cost of developing and implementing the technology--our state-of-the-art MRI scanner cost $10 million and some change. Take away the money, and you take away the technology--and sometimes the staff.

    The Canadian healthcare system, as equitable as it is, is also very slow--non-emergent cases, like knee scans, can wait months for an appointment (our clinic actually does quite a lot of Canadian citizens who would rather shell out cash than wait for the free scan). Both of my personal physicians were trained in Canada but emigrated to the U.S. in order to provide a higher standard of care.