From the opening post:
It means that if you are a struggling parent who is uninsured or under-insured, you will no longer be able to count on at least your kids getting the routine medical and dental care they need under the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). The Senate GOP voted that CHIP is not required to be protected by an eventual ACA replacement.
I, for one, am not a bit surprised... just don't give me your Bull**** how You CARE about every American and their plight...you sitting there in the top 10% with your Golden health care plans.
Originally Posted by lifeistooshort View Post
Not so with healthcare.... people generally don't forego care because they can't pay, they just go to the ER when things get out of control and end up costing more.
If I managed my risk by refusing to deal with risks we're going to pay for anyway and just ignored them until they got many times more expensive I'd get fired.
Actuarial pricing is a combination of appropriate pricing where possible and loss management. When you know darn good and well you're going to have to pay one way or another you look for ways to mitigate as much as possible. People will just go to the ER when they have no options and we'll all pay anyway.
We have to mitigate our damages within the confines of what is reasonable to ask of people.
So true....I read this story yesterday, one of MANY (in blue below)...it just shouldn't be this way... Is healthcare a fundamental human right? Should it be?
Germany and the United States are two developed countries with radically different approaches to healthcare access. I worked in hospitals in both countries and will address the questions based on my experiences, both as provider and recipient of healthcare.
As a patient in the United States, long before I worked in a German hospital, I never questioned the notion of postponing healthcare due to insurance reasons or financial reseasons. If I needed surgery, a medical procedure or even a visit to the dentist, I would first ask myself how much I expected my insurance to cover, how much I would have to pay out of pocket, and if I would have to pay too much for medication or a procedure, I would postpone it (if possible) until I got a new job or my student status changed. This is everyday life for Americans fortunate enough to afford health insurance. While a healthcare provider's first and foremost priority is to provide all patients with timely healthcare, the reality is that individuals without insurance are severely limited in their access to healthcare (especially preventative healthcare). The emergency department is not a substitute for a primary care provider's office, but unfortunately millions of Americans received most of their primary care in emergency departments because that's the only place where a physician can't turn them down for financial reasons. The emergency department is just that -- a department designed to address urgent and emergent (i.e. life- and limb-threatening) conditions. It is not the best place to be counseled on the importance of quitting smoking with long-term follow-up, to receive routine prenatal care or to address a child's behavioral problems.
Another problem with using the emergency department to receive primary care is that it is inefficient. Patients are triaged by acuity, there are many patients there with highly acute issues, and it's expensive. The last time I was in the ED was about 8 years ago because of a bad stomach flu. My insurance was billed $1,200 for one dose of anti-vomiting medicine and salt water. $300 Tylenols and $1000 salt water includes, of course, the emergency physicians' , nurses' and technicians' services.
Our healthcare system and laws governing access to healthcare should not penalize patients, especially the financially weakest! These access issues are not the fault of patients or providers, but of a lack of laws governing access to healthcare.
My experience with the German healthcare system made me question the US healthcare system on many levels. In Germany, the concept of delaying healthcare to "let insurance kick on", or rushing to get procedures done "before my parents' insurance expires" is a foreign one. In Germany and other developed European nations, healthcare is available whenever and wherever it is necessary. It is treated as a human right. One downfall of nationalized healthcare is the existence of a "two-class" healthcare system, to a greater or lesser extent. However both as a patient and as someone in the healthcare profession, I find it practical to decrease the luxury factor of some hospital rooms in exchange for making healthcare accessible to everyone as a human right. Hospitals in German resemble Veterans Affairs hospitals: practical, efficient and very high quality. They do not look like hotel rooms, like many private US hospitals.
I'd like to make my arguments a bit more concrete by narrating a story of a close friend of mine, a man in his mid-60s who was a role model to anyone who met him. One day he started developing abdominal pain. I told him to see his doctor, and then, when it got worse, to go to the emergency department, but he refused to let me take him because he was uninsured at the time (although he was employed full-time). A few days later, he disappeared, and I began to fear the worst. Five weeks later, thankfully, he showed up to work again -- about 30 pounds lighter, his clothes literally hanging off a frame of bones. His appendix ruptured, and he was found delirious in his apartment and nearly died fighting for his life in the intensive care unit for several weeks. His hospital bill at the end of this ordeal was about $80,000, not to mention the emotionally and physically traumatic experience of nearly dying of overwhelming infection.
This innocent man's near-death and financial demise could have been prevented had this man had access to the healthcare system, had healthcare truly been treated by the law as a human right. Instead, we have a huge population of people that can't afford to make an appointment to see a primary care physician or buy antibiotics to treat community-acquired pneumonia, and a population of patients paying cash for the cosmetic surgeries of their choosing.
In a country as great as the United States, stories like that of my friend, which are repeated millions of times each year and which result in loss of life, quality of life, and deterioriation of the healthcare system as a whole, could be remedied by adopting a nationalized healthcare system. The cost of a socially Darwinistic healthcare system falls upon those in the worst physical and financial health. I realize that this is a highly sensitive topic for many people, however I hope my personal and professional experiences in the United States as well as in Europe will help clarify the "boogie man trying to pull the plug" hysteria surrounding this subject and to highlight some advantages and disadvantages of nationalized healthcare and some reasons why I believe that healthcare should be treated as a human right.