Posts Tagged ‘doctors’

Religion and Government Meet at the Hospital

December 18, 2008

Today, President Bush passed the “Conscience Rule” which protects doctors and nurses from performing medical procedures that are against their religious beliefs.  The main procedure that is involved in this discussion is abortion.  The new rule enacted by Bush allows hospitals to still receive Federal funding if they choose to not perform procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs.

First and foremost, I do not believe that the Federal Government should be funding these hospitals at all.  Only hospitals that are run by the Federal Government, like the VA Hospitals, should get Washington money.  There is no point in my tax dollars going to support some private hospital in New York.  Local and regional hospitals should get their funding from local and state sources.  This will never happen though, until the Fed funds get cut off.

I also have no problem with doctors recommending or denying treatments based on their beliefs.  However, if it is in the emergency room or in a life or death situation, the doctor should put their beliefs aside and put saving the life first.

The decisions on treatments though, including abortions, life support or euthinasia, should be between the doctor and the patient and maybe the patient’s family.  If you have the same beliefs as your doctor, it should be an easy decision.  If you conflict with your doctor, you should find a new one.  The government should not get involved at all.  Why should politicians in Washington dictate the kind of care you get?

This can be hard though, because of our broken, HMO based healthcare system.  It is not easy to just find a new doctor.  Most of the time, you’re just assigned a name and number of a doctor’s office and off you go.  The doctor patient relationship is not about building a personal relationship anymore, instead it is a business partnership.

While treatment or denying treatment based on religious beliefs is a very touchy issue, we should realize that government has no say in the issue.  This is between the patient and doctor, not bureaucrats and politicians.  The sooner we get the Federal Government out of these decisions, the better for all involved.  Patients will get the treatments they want, and doctors can operate freely without the fear of government intervention.

It’s Health Insurance Time Again

September 25, 2008

My employer offers coverage for me, and I can add my wife and child onto the plan through my work.  I knew already that I was paying a lot, but I was taken by surprise when the policy jumped almost 10% last year.  I went from paying about $550 a month to $610 a month.

I was caught off guard last year, so this year I’ve already started shopping around to see if I can get a better price for my wife and kid to get insured through another small group plan.  Anything off of that $7,200 a year I can save would be awesome.

Every year, our health care representative comes in and shows us how much it has gone up and explains that it’s because we want the best technology and the best drugs and that is what drives the cost.  Doesn’t it seem strange that technology makes the costs go up?  Most of the time, better technology lowers costs and raises efficiency.

Why then, in health care, is the opposite true?

First, we have to look at the difference between health insurance and health coverage.  While most people think they’re synonymous, they aren’t.  Insurance should only be for catastrophes, not fore every day doctor visits.  Today, we all have “coverage” through our HMOs where we can’t even go see a doctor unless we are covered.

Since HMOs and other health care companies are for-profit, they are in the business of controlling costs.  So as they try to pressure doctors to keep costs down, the doctors push back by charging the maximum they can to the insurance company.

We need to take back control of our health care system.  We need to stop the drug, medical companies, and insurance companies from dictating prices.  There is no competition for pricing, and there is no incentive to bring costs down.  Also, there are no real alternatives offered.

If individuals and not big companies or government entities were responsible for footing the bill, the costs would come down.  Instead of paying huge premiums to health care companies, we should be able to put our money into medical savings account using pre tax dollars.  That can cover our routine medical care, and we could pay for catastrophe insurance with that money as well.

Think about if we paid cash for every day doctor visits and paid a small amount for our insurance.  If every doctor visit was $100 and my family went 12 times, that would be $1200.  If I paid $200 a month for insurance (not coverage), that’s $2400.  That total is half of what I pay now, and probably another $3,000 or so that my company pays for me.  The savings could be close to $6,000 a year.  That is an extra $500 a month in my pocket.

Also, for malpractice, I agree with Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.  He says that patients should have the option to pay for malpractice insurance before every major procedure.  It would be very affordable and would cover a certain dollar amount in case something goes wrong.  It doesn’t make sense that malpractice insurance is added into the costs of everyone.  It should be offered when you need it.

Government mandated that all companies had to offer HMOs in the HMO Act of 1973, and government runs medicare.  So government intervention in the health care industry has created a system where it pays for everyone to charge the most they can get.  In a free society, it would make sense to compete for your business and keep costs down.

I am not a proponent of “health care for all.”  I do not think that the Federal Government should be involved in the health care of a nation.  Costs would spiral out of control and the quality of the care would decline.  Imagine your doctor being like going to the DMV.  Yikes!

Government had good intentions with Medicare and I’m sure there are ways to solve the problems it is facing.  I just think that government running a huge insurance company creates so much bureaucracy, leads to fraud, and encourages doctors and drug and device companies to charge more.

Maybe these ideas are naive and too radical for most people.  It is just that the only alternatives we are presented are along the lines of cheaper drugs or lower co-pays.  There is never discussion about the entire health care system.

We need to wake up and realize that the system we have creates inefficiencies, stifles competition, and encourages charging the highest amount possible.  There has to be something better, right?