Since there are so many ideas on the table as to how to reform our Nations Health Care System, it is difficult to know what the right course of action is. Most especially when you are on the outside looking in. Recently ABC's 20/20 program did an in depth study of this issue. The result of which clearly outlined the problems with the U.S. Health Care System and what needs to be done on a National scale in order to truly reform our Health Care System. If you have not seen the 20/20 episode entitled "Sick in America" with John Stossel. Please take the time to watch all 6 videos and the short but insightful documentary films below. It will take about 45 minutes of your time but it is well worth it to know what's really going on and what can be done right now to truly reform the U.S. Health Care system. Most importantly it can all be done without spending Trillions of U.S. Tax Payer Dollars. In fact, it will SAVE us money!
Sick in America" (Part 1 of 6)
"Sick in America" (Part 2 of 6)
"Sick in America" (Part 3 of 6)
"Sick in America" (Part 4 of 6)
"Sick in America" (Part 5 of 6)
"Sick in America" (Part 6 of 6)
A common example used to further the cause of adopting a Single Payer system in the United States is to point out how well it is working in countries such as France and Canada. 20/20 touches on this in the above episode. However, very few have done a more in depth study of Canada's Single Payer system than documentary film maker Stuart Browning. For even more about what is really going on with the Canadian health care system please watch his short but very informative documentary videos below. Again, well worth your time.
What's it like JUST TO SEE A DOCTOR with Canada's Single Payer System? Watch Steven Crowder's hidden camera video:
Health Broker - Rick Baker (featured in the above film) asks you to help stop Congress from adopting Canada's system by signing the petition at www.freeourhealthcarenow.com Please help secure your rights to your own health care choices.
Why is Rick so passionate about his plea for your help in stopping the adoption of a Government Run Health Care System for all Americans? Because certain "progressive" states have already adopted such State Run Health Care Systems. Take a look at what happened to Barbara Wagner who was a victim of the "Oregon Public Health Insurance Plan". When Government runs ANYTHING it's all about price containment and not the Health & Welfare of the Patient.
Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers and academics alike are beating the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. However, before turning to government as the solution, some unheralded facts about America's health care system should be considered, says Scott W. Atlas, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor at the Stanford University Medical Center.
Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers:
- Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.
- Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway.
- The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.
Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries:
- Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit are taking statins, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.
- By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons and 17 percent of Italians receive them.
Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians:
- Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report "excellent" health compared to Canadian seniors (11.7 percent versus 5.8 percent).
- Conversely, white Canadian young adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower income Americans to describe their health as "fair or poor."
Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom:
- Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long -- sometimes more than a year -- to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.
- All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.
- In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.
Source: Scott W. Atlas, "10 Surprising Facts About American Health Care," National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 649, 3/24/09 http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17770
Because of how the Single Payer System is designed, citizens of England & Canada have NO WHERE NEAR the choices that we as American citizens do. As a matter of fact, until very recently (2005) it was simply not possible for a Canadian citizen to pay for their own health care or to purchase private medical insurance that would "bump them up the long waiting list" for medical treatments. The reason Canadian citizens now have the right to do so (and it is still limited) is a direct result of long hard battles (many that are still being fought) that have been waged by brave Canadian citizens like Dr. Jacques Chaoulli who took his clients case all the way to the Canadian supreme court and won! Dr. Chaoulli (http://www.healthcoalition.ca/chaoulli.html) and his patient, George Zeliotis, launched their legal challenge to the Canadian government's monopolized healthcare system after waiting more than a year for hip-replacement surgery.
Canada's high court found for the plaintiffs and in doing so issued the following statement: "The evidence in this case shows that delays in the public healthcare system are widespread, and that, in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public healthcare. The evidence also demonstrates that the prohibition against private health insurance and its consequence of denying people vital healthcare result in physical and psychological suffering that meets a threshold test of seriousness." Furthermore, Justice Marie Deschamps said, "Many patients on non-urgent waiting lists are in pain and cannot fully enjoy any real quality of life. The right to life and to personal inviolability is therefore affected by the waiting times."
Furthermore, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute which keeps track of Canadian waiting times for various medical procedures. According to the Fraser Institute's 14th annual edition of "Waiting Your Turn: Hospital Waiting Lists in Canada (2006)," total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, rose from 17.7 weeks in 2003 to 17.9 weeks in 2006. Depending on which Canadian province you live in, a simple MRI requires a wait between 7 and 33 weeks! Orthopedic surgery could require a wait of 14 weeks for a referral from a general practitioner to the specialist and then another 24 weeks from the specialist to treatment! For even more real life horror stories about Canadian citizens left in the lurch by the Canadian healthcare system read the well researched and fact based Wall Street Journal article entitled "Too Old For Hip Surgery" here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123413701032661445.html?mod=article-outset-box This is what happens when you put government in control of your health care decisions. Doing so in this country, would be nothing short of a train wreck. Anyone who thinks otherwise is simply uninformed or "willfully ignorant".
What has our government done, to convince people to hand over our very health freedoms for it to govern over?
Fannie Mae – bailout? (this is a government entity who's employee's receive bonuses!) What other government employee receives bonuses for doing their jobs?
Social security – bankrupt ? (robbed for other expenditures)
Medicaid – ? (robbed for other expenditures)
$2 trillion Porkulus bill - ? (and growing)
AIG – bail out, yet nobody knows where's the money gone? No committee of oversight in place (was promised by our representatives to be in place immediately)
Gas prices - ? (50% of every dollar at the pump goes to Washington) But who did you point your finger at as the problem?
Since our government "cannot" be sued, how will one be able to be recompensed for its malfeasance or neglect? How will the government, once it tells 300 million people "go see the doctor we will pay all the bills", be able to control the consequences? By overwhelming our medical profession or breaking it, will come another "grand government solution," we need more money to fix it"! You are already familiar and have accepted this excuse for too long, and know this to be their power solution. Our government has impoverished our families' financial freedom to pay our own way, by immoral taxation. Want to know what such a government endeavor will cost the U.S. Tax Payer? Read the April 12, 2009 Wall Street Journal article entitled: Obama Care's Real Price Tag Adopting a Single Payer Universal Health Care System or a Government Run "Public Option" is clearly NOT the way to "reform" our health care system and this is why we have seen predominantly Liberal news outlets like The New York Post, The Huffington Post, Salon.com and The Washington Post vehemently condemn President Obama's "Health Care"....er...."Health Insurance" reform plans. Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers voiced similar concerns about the current House and Senate "reform" bills during a Senate hearing this week:
Whilst both parties (and most American's) feel that something has to be done. The question is, what is the best course of action? There are still those who actually believe that a "Single Payer" system would be the best option. The President does not agree, although he clearly stated his support for such a system prior to his election. Now, he is promoting the aforementioned "Public Option" which by all estimates will cost the U.S. Tax Payers between $1 and $2 Trillion over the next decade! Not to mention what happens AFTER the first decade!
As Investors Business Daily stated in their 07/31/09 article a Public option will most definitely not work. In fact, it's not about choices. It's about Government control of our health care decisions. This being the case, a Public Option is most definitely not the way to reform the U.S. health care system. Nevertheless, we still definitely need health care reform on many levels and if Government must play a part, there are intelligent things they can do. Here’s where they can actually help:
Eliminate the ridiculous State imposed Mandates that PROHIBIT Health Insurers from offering coverage in EVERY SINGLE STATE! For example, Small Businesses in California have roughly 6 (yes that's six) options for Health Insurance. Yet there are 1,300 Health Insurance companies in America! States like Colorado FORCE carriers to cover "substance abuse" which DOUBLES the Health Insurance premiums in Colorado (you can now waive "substance abuse" coverage and your premium is subsequently reduced BY HALF!). This kind of State Mandate (and so many more) is what prevent the majority of Health Insurance carriers from offering their products in every State.
Basic economics 101 teaches us that NOTHING increases quality and drives down prices LIKE COMPETITION! How can we increase quality and competition when we stifle it by imposing ridiculous mandates that inhibit competition from the get go? All 1,300 Health Insurance carriers should be able to offer ALL of their products in EVERY SINGLE STATE. This way if you do not like your current coverage you have 1, 299 OTHER OPTIONS. With that many options available, carriers are NATURALLY FORCED BY THE RULES OF COMPETITION AND FREE MARKET ENTERPRISE to IMPROVE not only the quality of their products but to also improve their customer service OR THE CONSUMER WILL PURCHASE their Health Insurance from 1,299 other carriers! It's as simple as that! Also, actuarial tables teach us that the more lives that are in the pool, the lower the premiums for all. How much lower could premiums be if everyone in EVERY state had 1300 carriers to choose from? Things that make you go HMMMMMM???
I would say weed out the 12 million Illegals (that we know about) who are sucking our Medicaid system dry...but as Congressman Joe Wilson so aptly stated, Obama CLEARLY wants to "provide a PATH TO CITIZENSHIP for the 10 to 12 million Illegals in our country" (direct quote from his speech in Texas). Once they're legal, he can then cover them ALL on our tax dollar! So YES his plan IS to cover Illegals, he'll just make em legal first! Think they're not sucking our Medicaid system dry? Just visit California or Illinois. Good old “Blago” enrolled thousands of Illegals in to our Medicaid system, thereby running the program in the ground & leaving our Illinois Medicaid system approx. $1.5 BILLION behind in payment of claims to physicians who have been providing “free” care to all illegals who were lucky enough to flock to the State of Illinois to insure themselves for “free”. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 10 to 12 Million of the Uninsured in America are illegal aliens. Who comprise the rest? Find out here.
Instead of bailing out GM with Billions of our blood sweat and tears and then letting them file bankruptcy 3 months later. Why not fund a NATIONAL High Risk Pool for those who are rendered uninsurable? We already have such State run High Risk Health Insurance pools in the majority of States. These Risk Pools will cover anyone regardless of their medical history. The problem is they are under funded so the premiums are extremely high. Instead of spending $1.6 Trillion to insure only 11 Million of the 45 Million uninsured. LEAVE the bulk of the nation's risk where the money is, namely with the insurance companies. Then provide a National Federal & State funded Risk Pool for those who are rendered uninsurable. Since the uninsured far outweigh the uninsurable, this would cost far less than the currently proposed $1.6 Trillion over the next 10 years.
TORT REFORM! This is one area of reform that is rarely spoken of by the Liberal left. Medical malpractice liability forces providers into practicing defensive medicine. In other words, it causes medical practitioners to order multiple expensive (and often times unnecessary) tests and procedures "in defense of" potential lawsuits, JUST IN CASE they miss something in a patient's case. All for fear of being sued for ridiculous amounts in a malpractice lawsuit. Limiting liability lawsuit awards to reasonable amounts will deter those who seek the "big pay day" by filing frivolous lawsuits against medical practitioner.
Establish a Federal oversight committee to regulate and hold accountable physicians who make medical mistakes. What’s one of the biggest reasons why health care is so expensive? Hint: It’s not “rich CEO’s” and “outdated medical records transfer processes.” It’s Medical Mistakes! Here’s the real facts you won’t find in the media outlets:
1994: Five years after a groundbreaking Institute of Medicine report focused attention on medical errors in hospitals, Americans say that they do not believe that the nation’s quality of care has improved. In fact, 1 out of 3 patients states that they have experienced a serious medical error http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/abstract/hlthaff.w4.534
1995: A Study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) found that only two percent of medication errors that occurred during the medication administration process were intercepted.
a. More people die from medication errors than from work place injuries
b. Medication errors account for approximately one out of 131 outpatient deaths and one out of 854 inpatient deaths.
1999: Institute of Medicine (IOM) releases its first report on healthcare quality and medical errors. http://www.iom.edu/?id=12735 The Study finds in part that:
a. Medical errors are responsible for injury in as many as 1 out of every 25 hospital patients.
b. Between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical errors in hospitals alone.
c. The deaths from preventable medical mistakes are equivalent to the number of people who would die if a jumbo jet crashed EACH AND EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR, and all its passengers died!
d. Medical errors cause more deaths than motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS…..and this study is TEN YEARS OLD and STILL no Federal oversight committee! Oh wait! It gets worse!
2002: A Study issued by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) concluded that more than 200,000 medication errors occurred during 2002
2004: CDC reports that 90,000 patient deaths occur each year due to patients contracting hospital acquired infections. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/pdf/nnis/2004NNISreport.pdf
a. Many hospital acquired infections are caused by health care workers who fail to wash their hands in between patients.
2006: Studies assessing the state of hospital patient safety conclude that current progress is slow, results in general are at best modest, and the gap between the best possible care and actual care remains large. http://www.healthgrades.com/media/dms/pdf/PatientSafetyInAmericanHospitalsStudy2006.pdf
Preventable medical errors result in extended hospital stays, expensive treatment for chronic medical conditions and astronomical medical costs that are associated with treating debilitating life-long illnesses. Some experts state that these costs may be in the range of $150-200 Billion dollars per year. Gee, where else could we spend that money??? Quick reminder:
ALL of the aforementioned happened under the nose of our Federal Government. And we want them to regulate Health Care?? Let’s not save ALL of our anger for the “greedy” insurance companies and “over paid” doctors and CEO’s. Let’s focus our Anger on our GOVERNMENT who has allowed this systemic problem to continue over three administrations!
Ask yourself, why does the health care industry basically regulate and report on itself? Why is certification and accreditation voluntary? Why don’t we have a Federal agency that acts like the FAA and investigate medical mistakes, just like airline accidents or near misses? Why do only some states have mandatory reporting requirements of medical errors? All Good Questions that need to be answered before we hand over our very health freedoms to the same Government to “regulate”.
In summary REAL health insurance reform can be accomplished through consumer education, weeding out abuse of existing Federal entitlement programs (via a legitimate needs assessment) and increased funding of State sponsored Risk Pools so that people who are declined for insurance have an affordable option to continue coverage if declined on the individual major medical market. Following these few simple steps will go a long way towards not only maintaining our current health care system, but also towards keeping the bulk of our nations risk where it belongs, namely with the private health insurance industry. In light of the recent multi Trillion Dollar "Bail Outs" and many other failing corporations coming to the table with their hats in their hands (and their private jets on the tarmac) the last thing our government should do is start cutting more blind "bail out" checks in an effort to "reform" the U.S. health care system.
But hey what do I know? The video below sure makes Government sound wonderful! Just look at their track record!
To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) relating to Health Insurance, click here.
About the author: C. Steven Tucker, is the President of Small Business Insurance Services, Inc. He is a multi-state licensed insurance broker who has been serving the Small Business community and Self-Employed for 15 years. C. Steven has served as a Subject matter expert for the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Small Business Magazine and hosts his own internet radio show, entitled, "Health Insurance 101." He is also touted for being a consumer watchdog against greedy insurance companies, insurance scams and unscrupulous agents on Twitter.