Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Doctor Doctor!

Your tax dollars hard at work. Who said we don't already practice socialized medicine?


Abraham said...

That's exactly right. There are a lot of people against "socialized medicine" because they don't want their tax dollars paying for other people's healthcare. But what they don't realize is that their tax dollars are already paying for other people's healthcare. People without insurance get their care by entering the healthcare system through the back door--the emergency rooms. If we're paying for it anyway, wouldn't it be better (less expensive in the long run and less unnecessary congestion of our ERs) to have a system where everyone enters the system through the front door so they can be given at least a minimum standard of car (with an emphasis on HEALTHcare as opposed to waiting until they are in need of drastic intervention and then administering expensive SICKcare)?

I had a professor once who told us that a society can be judged by how well they care for their their children, their sick, their disabled, and their elderly. I don't know exactly how things should be structured, by I applaud efforts to extend at least a minimum level of care to everyone. Healthcare is a priority for the current administration. During his campaign, Pres. Obama promised to deliver health insurance to every American who wants it. (Lately I've wondered if it might be a good idea to go even further and mandate health insurance for everyone. I believe this is what they've done in Massachusetts. I'm starting to believe--and I could be wrong--that it's probably cheaper in the long run to insure someone than to have them be uninsured.)

I'm not sure what we're ultimately going to do with healthcare. I don't think we'll simply adopt a European-style system, as some people fear. I think we'll find our own solutions to our own healthcare problems. There are smart people out there (see Erin's dad's blog) who are figuring out ways to utilize the power of free markets to deliver healthcare to everyone. I wish them speedy success. I think that society has a certain responsibility to take care of those who have the misfortune of not being able to take care of themselves. It could happen to any of us. Really.

But I don't think that we need to raise taxes or have the government take over the insurance industry to accomplish these things. I think that we can achieve it through some restructuring and streamlining (e.g. making it so the emergency rooms are NOT where we are getting our yearly exams), reducing unnecessary/wasteful costs (e.g. tort reform would be helpful, practicing evidence-based medicine, etc.), and asking people to take some responsibility for their healthcare (if your car breaks down or needs a minor repair, you don't expect your insurance company to fix it for you. Why have we come to expect every doctor's visit to be paid for?). I really like the idea of rewarding people for healthy habits (e.g. biking/walking to work, not smoking or excessively drinking, eating a balanced diet, annual physical exams, etc.). I'm not sure how to do it, though.

Well, just some thoughts. I'm no expert.

Suz said...

I found this interesting. I commented on it in my own blog for the sake of having to something to post.