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article imageOp-Ed: Health Care Problems People Aren't Talking About

By Johnny Simpson     Aug 19, 2009 in Politics
Though the focus today may be on the massive push of the ObamaCare bill by liberal Democrats and the noisy minority opposition, there are solutions to some major headaches in Health Care staring us in the face. Problem is, no one chooses to see them.
It would seem that news on American healthcare, as embodied in the massive and highly contentious ObamaCare bill, aka HR 3200, is now the hottest topic since Dr. Skippy Gates told Officer James F. Crowley, "I'll meet with your Mama outside!" In fact, the KJ Mullins oped "Health Care Reform Would Make Health a Right, Not a Privilege" is now the main story leading Digital Journal, and health care articles dominate DJ's Politics section.
My own opining on the health care debate to date has been less on the health care bill itself than on the demonization of all town hall protesters as corporate racist shills and extreme right wing hate groups. There's a way to sell a public policy, and that ain't it. Whether you believe those Lefty myths is unimportant. Millions of Americans are uprising at town halls all across this nation. Shouldn't the real question be why? And not a knee-jerk response similar to Khamenei's and Ahmadinejad's toward the Green protesters, as also happened to the Tea Partiers? It's getting old fast.
Okay, so let's look at US health care. Problems and solutions. Let's start with KJ Mullins' assessment of health care being a right and not a privilege. With total coverage under government-run ObamaCare as written in HR 3200, which includes full treatment for illegal aliens and full coverage of elective abortions, and adding roughly 40-plus million new covered, will demands for existing services go up or down? Will emergency rooms and waiting lists now become less jammed or more? Or will 1000 brand spanking new hospitals, complete with doctors and nurses, just materialize out of thin air?
Could it be that coverage for everyone will in actuality become coverage for no one? As compared to relatively easy access to health care in America today? How about some of the major factors contributing to the health care crisis in America: repeat system abusers, illegal aliens and out-of-control malpractice lawsuits, which have in effect become lotteries for shyster lawyers? Lawsuits which the New England Medical Journal and others have found at least 40% of to be groundless? I see a costly problem there.
As to repeat system abusers, nine people alone were responsible for 2,678 emergency room visits in Central Texas at a total cost of $3M over six years. That's nearly 300 visits a person. Fifty a year for each! Pubs and clubs have a right to ban troublemakers. Emergency rooms should have the right to clear out repeat abusers if no emergency exists. Too many people need real 911 medical treatment. Funtime's over.
As to illegals, one Florida hospital may have just come up with an answer that I'm sure many other hospitals will be looking at very closely. A jury just ruled in favor of the Martin Memorial Medical Center in Stuart, Florida after that facility deported a brain-damaged Guatemalan illegal back to his homeland after costing the hospital $1.5M. I sympathize for the Guatemalan, but that's $1.5M in critical medical care paid by taxpayers' dollars that an American citizen or legal resident didn't get. Lot of hospitals going bankrupt, too. How much of that costly compassion is a contributing factor to California's 84 mothballed hospitals?
Nobody's talking about THAT, that's for sure! This all may seem cruel or dispassionate to many, but America's tit is fast running dry. We don't have the luxury of being the world's emergency room anymore, or having shysters cashing out on malicious and greed-motivated medical lawsuits like jackpots in Vegas, the purveyors of which clutter cable TV with their ambulance-chasing ads day and night. Ten cents out of every health care dollar goes to medical malpractice insurance. Ten percent of our entire health care budget! Why is nobody talking about how to fix or reform that? Could it be that they're all lawyers in Big Law's pockets?
Three simple solutions constituting real reform, with the potential to revolutionize the quality and costs of health care in America today, are Solutions That Dare Not Speak Their Names. If we could reduce or even eliminate the crushing burden of illegal aliens on our health care system, mark repeat abusers like those in Texas perhaps even for legal action, and bring down the cost of medical malpractice insurance through real tort reform, the likes of which we'll never see from our corrupt Congress of today, we could work miracles.
Of course, what I fully expect to happen is more of a burden by hypochondriacs and illegals on an already overtaxed health care system, the fact that Planned Parenthood will soon be in effect a government entity, and that the Megabucks lottery chases for malpractice dollars will continue unabated. So, does that all help us or hurt us? Would we then get more or less timely medical care? And please, try to answer sensibly, and without calling me a racist or hate group extremist. That doesn't solve any of these problems, does it?
Besides, I believe my questions are quite reasonable given the circumstances, if not moral imperatives and obligations themselves. In short, why not address the real abuses in American health care and see what happens, before we turn it into a Wild West free-for-all? One man's humble opinion. Oh, and speaking of which, if a government doctor under ObamaCare does botch an operation (it does happen), who will be held responsible? Anyone? Or does liability become yet another bureaucratic nightmare, like Cash for Clunkers? 98% of New York dealerships paid out on that program long ago and are still waiting to be reimbursed.
Food for thought. For the record, the author was a certified EMT and licensed CNA who worked a year with severely disabled adolescents, care paid for by Foundation grants. I know how valuable those care dollars are, and how critical it is that none get wasted. Too many are. Why don't we focus on real reform first?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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