Health care reform: A Start?

The events of the past few weeks have made it very hard for me to be a proud American. But not for the reasons you may think!

I’m still not sure how I feel about the health care reform. I know I was for the original draft. I’m still one of those guys who believe that just as our schools, fire and police departments and libraries function on a “universal” way of paying them – i.e., taxes. Our health care system would survive just fine if we adopted a plan similar to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Canada or Great Britain.

These do not all function on a “universal” platform, but what they all have in common is that they have stopped trying to make a profit off of someone else’s illness.

All of these countries have fared well on the World Health Organization rankings for health care systems. We are a dismal 37 on that list. Is there no one else bothered by the fact that as great a country as this is, there are 36 other places in the world that have a better health care system than ours?

When you compare a country’s health care system to ours – let’s use Greece for example – Greece has about as many doctors as we have pastors and priests. Medical school is free in Greece and of course you know that not only is medical school costly in America, but lobbyists have even sought to control the enrollment and federal funding for it here. Those in Greece live longer, have better access to preventative medication and don’t suffer the insurance “fights” we have to for coverage.

It should be a crime in our country for someone to die only because our health care system failed them. It should be a crime that someone dies because we allowed an insurance company to refuse payment. And no one should die in our country because they couldn’t afford the cure.

It seems that we have taken a hands off approach to health care in that, “if it doesn’t affect my family – oh well!”

I was watching a local newscast in Detroit a few weeks ago and a Republican member of Congress mentioned that he was against the health care reform bill and later in the same conversation bragged of being a cancer survivor. The reporter conducting the interview challenged the congressman on his stance with the health care bill by saying, “It seems that you are one of the lucky ones. What if you couldn’t afford the cancer treatments? I guess then I’d be talking with someone else …”

As I said earlier, I thought that I was for this bill. It started to change and even after reading and searching through the entire proposed reform bill – something we independents like to call research – it dawned on me that most of this bill doesn’t even go into affect until 2015!

That’s a problem!

It seems that there are many items that will “pop up” or take effect down the road long after we’ve forgotten about it. No explanation was given for this.

And then, the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield endorsed this bill.

That’s a huge problem.

Insurance companies (HMOs in particular) created this problem and have been the enemies since the 70’s. For Blue Cross and Blue Shield to give it the thumbs up, means something is wrong.

And finally, the passage of this bill exposed the “ugliest” part of our capitalistic society. It showed that the men and women placed in Congress – by our votes – could be bought.

Congress said things, did things and wasted many tax dollars to only get paid for their services through donations from the private sector. No one (Republicans or Democrats) has written any legislation to stop this madness. Why is it just “OK” for a senator to waste tax player money filibustering on a subject he really is out of touch with? Then after all is said and done, we find that said senator has received a generous donation from the industry he filibustered for.

All in all, I believe that the health care reform bill is better than what we had. More Americans will receive health care coverage and the denials for preexisting conditions should eventually go away.

With that said, before we can really make strides in our health care system, we must all first CARE.