Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Obamacare and a Broken Medical System

When I was contracting aircraft work, none of the contract houses offered any health insurance. I checked into getting a private plan, but the price was so high, and I was young and healthy so I didn't bother with it. I figured by the time I got sick, I could save the money to pay cash for any medical care I needed.

I guess I pretty much think the medical system here in the U.S. sucks. I know people have to make a living, that means making a profit in business. The U.S. medical system is a business who's primary purpose has become to make a profit. Human suffering has little to do with it.

When I see cities place $150 a day hospital bed tax, and laws being made that force medical facilities into providing at lease a bare minimum care to save a life, I see a system with purpose gone crazy. People who are in pain, and without insurance going to an ER, and signing any document agreeing to anything in order to stop the pain. Then never paying a single dime on the astronomical bill. Because the hospital needs to get their money, shifting the burden of debt to them who can pay with $25 a piece aspirins.

Then all the fraud that runs rampant. When Medicare and Medicaid came out, the sharks came out in droves. An insurance system administered by a poorly watched system of government agencies becomes a feeding ground. Costs skyrocket as the system is milked by crooks, and insurance paid for by tax dollars charge ever more in an effort to make a profit despite crooked doctors charging for procedures never preformed or needed. Drug costs skyrocketing too because of that same thing, and overbearing government regulations.

I know by my own personal experience that hospitals end up doing unnecessary procedures that end up costing the medical insurance system and the patient many thousands of dollars. Just recently I had an ER visit due to diverticulitis. I went to a local learning hospital Ball Memorial. At first they suspected my prostate was the problem, so they did an ultrasound on my bladder to see how much urine was there. 200 milliliters was the reading. They asked me if I thought I could pee, I said I would give it a try. They gave me a container to use and even though there was discomfort I provided 200 milliliters. It didn't strike me until later, but there were 4 students in the room. Before I provided pee, they wanted to catheterize me. After I provided pee they wanted to catheterize me. Now I'm convinced they wanted to do that not out of medical necessity, but rather out of a desire to learn. They were hopeful of doing the procedure because they would get that experience. Who would of paid for it? Medicare would of footed the bill for an unnecessary medical procedure. I'm just thankful for the doctor who intervened.

That goes on all the time too. I was in a lot of pain, and had no other choice but to trust the doctors. One of them mentioned that I can refuse any procedure. I told them I had to trust their expertise. Making good decisions is a damn hard thing to do when your in excruciating pain. So you trust the medical staff.

Who cares though? Medicare insurance will pay for it. That is an old refrain I've heard with different cloths on. I've worked for many government aircraft projects. Many times I've seen the attitude of the bottomless bucket of government money that can be tapped. Why do you think there are multi-million dollar cost overruns? Who cares, Uncle Sam will pick it up.

I think a lot of the problem with medical cost inflation outpacing just about every other sector of the economy is greed and crime. The medical system was seriously broken before the advent of Obamacare.  As far as I can tell, Obamacare is not going to fix anything. People in the end will continue to pay through the nose for medical care, only the costs will be shifted around. I don't mean from one person to the other either. At least not in a real visible, or readily apparent way.

Maybe Obamacare is just as broken as the previous system. Maybe it is better. It gets really hard to tell when there are people on each side of the isle exaggerating the truth and the lies, looking out for hidden special interests, and news agencies trying to make a buck offering entertaining conflict. Insurance industries wanting to protect their bottom line. Well meaning people wanting to end the suffering of humans. Small business owners being squeezed by inflation and government regulation. All of these things and more conspiring to confound high minded ideas.

There is a way for all people to have medical care. There is a way for people to make a living and profit by offering medical service. There is always an answer for any problem under the sun and moon. The problem lays in the ignorance, avarice, greed and uncaring attitude caused by them. When business sees a suffering person as only an opportunity to make a dollar, we have a problem of conscious.