Monday, November 09, 2009

Health Care

Today's Saying

As a people, we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this. We do not seem to be seeking more exuberance in living as much as staving off failure, putting off dying. We have lost all confidence in the human body. ~Lewis Thomas

The health care debate goes on and on.
Conservatives scream at liberals . Liberals scream at conservatives.
One phrase that is thrown around is “ The spiraling costs of health care “
We have to control them.
Why have health care costs spiraled?

When my daughter Pennie was born the total hospital bill for Betty’s two day stay in the hospital was $100.
The Doctor charged $25 for the delivery.
If Pennie had been born today. Betty would have stayed only one day in the hospital and the hospital cost would have been over a $1000.
The obstetrician would have charged a $1000.
Various other specialties would add their own costs separate from the hospital.

What caused this spiral ?
Well my daughter was born in a friendly local hospital. It had a little maternity section.
It grossly underpaid its staff from nurses to cooks.
It had none of the fancy equipment that hospitals need today.
The cost of liability insurance was not very high.
As the staff slowly received better compensation the cost of running the hospital went up.
Law suits across the country ran up the cost of liability insurance on the maternity section.
They closed it.
Now you had to go to a more expensive, better equipped for all emergencies, hospital.
Up went the cost of having a baby.
The local hospital did a lot of tonsil removal.
Law suits through the liability for that out of reach.
They stopped doing tonsils.
They tried to survive but the government said it was not practical and gave aid to the bigger hospital down the road.
The little hospital closed.
People had to drive fifteen miles to the more expensive better equipped hospital.
Costs spiraled.
The Doctor that delivered Pennie discovered that if he continued to deliver babies he needed very expensive liability insurance. He quit.
Now one had to go to a specialist.
Costs spiraled upward.
The same Doctor quit doing tonsils for the same reason.
Now one had to go to the regional medical center ninety miles away to have tonsils removed.
You needed a specialist.
Costs spiraled.
Could the health care legislation help control those costs?
Do you want to pay the staff less?
Do you want the local Doctor back doing tonsils?
Do you want the local Doctor delivering babies?
Do you want to cap medical lawsuits and push the cost of liability insurance down?
Do you want to stop the introduction of new diagnostic machines that save lives? Every machine adds to the costs.
What kind of medicine do you want?

Nancy has adjusted to the new situation. Her coffee is now five cents a cup and her saffron buns ten cents each.. Her coffee and saffron are coming from Marquette at much much lower prices than she paid in 2009. People keep stopping in an expressing their hopes and their fears. Einar Jupola, no relative of Eino, said they should steal an engine, put on one of them things like they had in the movie “Back to the Future”, attach some passenger cars and take everybody home. Never mind the driblet. Nancy had to explain that they didn’t have one of those things to put on the engine. Further nobody knew how to make one since the one in the movie wasn’t real. Poor Einar he was so disappointed. Haden Larson, Elliot Larson’s little boy tripped while running on the wooden sidewalk because of a loose board. He broke his leg. Old Doc Simpson was out delivering a baby and there is no hospital anywhere near at this time so the Nurse Practitioner set the leg as best she could and put it in a cast. She had his father take him home. If they get back to the year 2009 it may need to be rebroken and set properly. Tommy UK has been trying to find some way to use his power to get back. He has tried the trick he learned of bringing up an image in his mind and then thinking himself instantly there. But despite his having a number of future images it has not worked. He has come to the conclusion that time is a barrier his power can’t cross.. In the committee brain storming the driblet has failed to come up with any workable ideas. One other problem is that Chief Ican is missing. He said he was going to check out a hunch and hasn’t been seen or heard since. Some of the group are getting worried.


Anonymous quilly said...

Dr. John -- why shouldn't health care costs rise? Everything else has. I don't think there is a reality where everyone gets high wages but goods and services remain inexpensive. I think a few more economics classes are in order for the populace.

Oh dear. I hope Chief Ican is found soon!

2:50 AM  
Blogger SayRah said...

It all has to do with Greed, I think. The love of money is the root of all evil. That's my own 2 cents worth! And I personally think it is ridiculous.
((hugs & blessings))

3:51 AM  
Anonymous Dulce said...

I love the saying... and for your comment on health... i must agree. But yes, everything goes up, never down!

5:30 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

As with any complicated issue, there are no easy answers. We expect more and more from our health care providers.

Lawyers, as a group, have sued doctors and hospitals and drug companies -- often for good reason and often for not -- and the cost of research has gone up as well as everything else.

Personally, I think insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have been the reason for much of the increases in cost.

It took many years to get to where we are now; it will take many years to fix the problem - assuming it can be fixed and I am not sure it can.

But people are trying and that is good.

Take care.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Mama Zen said...

All of the screaming just gives me a headache. Fortunately, I can still afford aspirin.

6:37 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

It doesn't matter what health care COSTS... it doesn't matter what THINGS cost... and it doesn't matter what wages are... what matters is that it's NOT ALL EQUAL! And those who HAVE need to help those who HAVE NOT. It's about CARING! (and sharing)

Good for Nancy! She's passing on the savings. I'm sure the chief is just following his nose and digging up some leads... it's just a matter of what problem he's solving is all! He MIGHT be chasing down Butch & Sundance or something!

7:19 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

All of this stress from worrying over our health is making us sick.

Meet My Mates #3 - Quilly

7:24 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

I'm starting to be concerned that I'll go to prison because according to the current plans on the table, I will be required by law to carry health insurance, but I don't trust that I will be given an option that I can afford.

7:41 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

First off, I do not trust many doctors with the exception of my father n law. My husband's father was a country doctor for 50 + years and one of the best in a small area. Big city docs would send their patients to him because he was one of the best diagnosticians around. He had more living heart patients living than most of the city docs.

A doctor like him no longer exist. He never took more than what he needed and never refused anyone because they did not have money or a ppo. He was an angel disguised as a doctor. When he closed his practice his office visit was $6.00

He was discouraged because of all of the red tape. He told our sons not to be doctors because of how times had changed.

Sorry I got way off subject. Thank you Dr.John for the comment on my blog. You are so wise.

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If everyone wasn't so sue happy maybe this wouldn't happen. Anyone makes one wrong mistake and you end up in court.

I think Chief Ican knows what he is doing. He'll be okay and just working on his hunch

9:18 AM  
Blogger Alastair said...

Another thoughtful post, Dr John, that makes me glad again to have a national health system with high standards (though not perfect by any means) and universal, free at point of need care. All funded through an incredibly reasonable (in terms of cost) national Insurance system based on income...

Being in the UK might have lots of drawbacks, but healthcare isn't one :-)

10:02 AM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

I have to agree with Alastair. Our NHS means we don't need to be afraid if we get sick we won't get the best help available.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Family Man said...

I think that there is a lot ot be said about those little hopsitals. It is greed and people who wish to find blame for everything that have helped to drive health insurance in particular. So now the government needs to spend trillions to fix healthcare, when they could have spent less protecting doctors and hospitals from frivoulus lawsuits and helped those small hopitals and doctors keep practicing.

10:42 AM  
Blogger ellie said...

We have insurance. and our medical costs still nearly wipe us out. what's the answer? I don't know...but I do know that two sides screaming at each other won't produce an adequate solution.

3:11 PM  
Blogger Lou said...

The health care bill being proposed is not a good one. There are good universal health care models all over the world, but because of the inability of our leaders to do what is right and just, it will never happen here.

I supported it initially, but have been reading parts of it on the blogs, and it is a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense. DOCTORS, not senators, should be developing health care for the country.

4:34 PM  
Blogger secret agent woman said...

It's a complicated problem, to be sure. I'd love to see us put moe resources toward preventive health care. But one thing I am certain of is that our current system is no equitable. We need universal coverage, plain and simple. I
m a health care provider and I fully support providing health care to everyone.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Hey Dr. John, do you think they will find Chief Ican. Alive?
It's got me worried.

Our daughter had a baby in Houston four months ago. She paid $300 but the insurance company was billed almost $8000. They only paid almost $2000. The hospital ate the rest.

My last stent was $42,000 plus hospital bills, I have been billed for $151 because they would let me bring my own medicines for two days (one night stay). Medicare knocked it down more than 2/3. They and the insurance company paid every thing but my meds. The doctors, etc, were a lot too.
Guess I would have had to die had it not been for the Government insurance program. Retired teachers here in Texas make $42,000 in about two years. We don't get Social Security either.

Guess I wrote a blog, sorry. But I think everyone needs insurance like I have now. I believe Obama is trying.
Next time I will just comment on Pigeon Falls people (unless excited).

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

Health care? What health care? Don't answer that.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Peter (Worldman): said...

Your analysis of raising health costs is good. It is exactly the same we are asking ourselves in Switzerland.

What I am pissed off is that every years in October, your medical insurance company tells you how much more you will pay next year. This time it is not to bad for me, only 10 dollars more per month. That is a raise of 2 percent.

But at the same time you get molested by other companies that come to you and say they are cheaper. For instance, when I say that I pay 500 dollars per month, they will tell you that at theirs you will only pay 250 dollars for the same coverage. So, one changes. And for one year, you are happy. But the next year, they will come and tell you that because of the usage of medical services (the others, not me, I never go to the doctor or seldom) they have to charge me 400 dollars per month. And after three years I will be at 650 dollars per month. Would I have stayed with my "old" insurance I would be at 520 dollars.

This happens all the time. A real racket. And the Government does not do anything about it.

9:46 PM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

Two major factors in rising costs are Pharma profits and over-specialisation. You don't always need a specialist for everything.

1:04 AM  
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