Robert's Random Ravings

The sorry state of Health Care

Health Insurance

It is amazing to me that the United States is the richest nation in the world, yet we lag behind other nations in so many areas. One of the important ones to me is the state of health care in this country. Billions and billions of dollars are spent on health care in this country, but there is so much waste and corruption in our system.

I realize that this is a capitalist society – so earning profits is part of the point. However, I wonder if it is really proper for medicine to be for profit. The FDA, the agency that is supposed to keep the pharmaceutical industry in line, is nothing more than a mouthpiece for that very industry. It seems more concerned in generating profits for pharmaceutical companies than for keeping the American public safe.

Figures are thrown around about the number of Americans that do not have any insurance at all. It is probably somewhere around 46 million people, which represents nearly 15% of the overall population and 18% of the under-65 population. That is just not an acceptable state of affairs.

During Bill Clinton’s first term as President, his wife tried to put together a plan for providing Universal Health Care for all Americans. There was so much opposition to it from all sides (especially the insurance and pharmaceutical companies) that the plan completely died. We are once again talking about this kind of plan with President Obama.

health-care2.

Why is it that if I go to a hospital and have to be admitted, if I have insurance, the hospitals charge a reduced price that has been agreed on with the insurance company, yet if I do not have insurance, I have to pay a much higher rate for the same services. It seems to me that this is completely the opposite of the way it should be. The ones that are least able to pay are charged the highest fees.

Even if you do have insurance, it is a constant fight with the insurance companies to get the tests and medicines that you need. If your doctor prescribes a specific medicine for you, the insurance company will do everything in its power to move you to a different medicine because it costs them less money. Again, the insurance companies are dictating health policy because they control the purse strings.

Here in the US, we are subjected to hours of advertising every day for new medicines. The pharmaceutical companies are trying to get us to ask for these medicines, whether they are the best thing for the job or not. I personally believe that ALL advertising for pharmaceuticals should be barred from television, radio and print. Let the doctors decide the medicines we need based on their education – not based on pretty models that bend the truth and hide the side effects of these drugs.

Another part of this mess is the drug companies send out all of their salesmen to doctors’ offices and giving them all kinds of samples and goodies for free. Buying their staff breakfast and/or lunch. Giving away notepads, pens, clocks, mugs, etc. that all have their drug names on it so that the doctor will think of them when prescribing medicine.

Again, this type of advertising is counter to the reality of how doctors and their staffs should be educated. Maybe if the drug companies did not spend so much money on advertising and sales staff, the drugs would not cost so much.

And why is it that the same drugs are cheaper in Canada than they are in the US? On top of that, the pharmaceutical industry has a powerful lobbying effort in place in Washington and gets our elected officials to do things that benefit them, but not the public. They got the government to make it illegal for states to get their medicines from Canada, even though that could be cheaper.

The problem is that it is all about the bottom line for the health care industry and not about our health. This is something that HAS to change. If that means that health care should be socialized, I am not opposed to that. There is a lot of good that has come out of the pharmaceutical industry in the United States, but that does not mean that it should have a free pass for all of the corruption that has also come out of the industry!

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01/31/2009 - Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. You’ve got the “insurance for all bill”, which is a big wet kiss to the insurance companies since this post was written. It has moved things closer to universal health care. But it’s not good.

    Anyway, I’d like to address the elephant in the room:

    “It is amazing to me that the United States is the richest nation in the world, yet we lag behind other nations in so many areas. One of the important ones to me is the state of health care in this country.”

    Well, I wouldn’t just call it “lag behind”, because lagging behind implies that it’s just time it takes until things become the same.

    I think the reason why Americans favor a government which is not responsible for things like universal health care is because the USA is a melting pot. Simple as that.

    We feel close to each other in a homogeneous society. We feel less close to each other in a heterogeneous society. The more heterogeneous it becomes, the less close we feel. The less close we feel, the less we feel that it’s everyones responsibility to help all others in the society out.

    People don’t like that the elephant is spoken about, but I did it nevertheless.

    In other societies, like european countries, japan or australia, we feel close to each other. There’s little tension. And we feel it’s our duty to help because of the closeness…

    I am a fan of michael moore movies. And when looking at bowling for columbine, I think the one thing which really separates the US from all the other western countries in the movie, is what Charlton Heston said; ethnic diversity.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should “do something” about the ethnic diversity. But I think it’s the reason for why things are like they are. Not only with health care, but also with tensions in the society resulting in gun violence and other crime problems.

    Comment by John Smith | 07/25/2010 | Reply


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