Universal Health

Aside from the fact that the term ‘universal’ when applied to health care is cloying, hyperbolic and generally disingenuous, I have to admit that I’m strongly in favor of a national healthcare system.  If this system needs to be called ‘universal’ to exist, then so be it.

All 1 of you who read this blog may note the new link I’ve added as a website I support:  Blah, blah docs for national health care or whatever.  If it ever happens that my politically conservative friends/fam see that link, with one to the Obama rocket-train near it, they’ll think I’ve sold out hyper-liberal. 

Maybe I have become a liberal.  Maybe not.  I still like to think of myself as an independent with views on various topics alternating between libertarian and liberal.  Basically, I’m into…’lib’.  Strictly, I suppose that makes me a, uhhh, Libian.  I’m a Libian?  Maybe aa…Libyan?  Nevermind.

Here’s my point about the health care system in the U.S.  Like it or not, I have to admit that I’ve been tainted by living and using another health system (Israel).  Without getting into details, here are a few facts:

1.) We’re in 1st place when it comes to health care spending.  We spend more than double what the next country in the world spends.

2.) We average around 18th place in the world when we rank all important health care markers such as infant mortality, maternal mortality, infectious diseases, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc.

3.) 1 + 2 equals RIP OFF!  It’s like paying for a Ferrari and getting a Jetta.  Most industrialized countries are paying for Beemers…and getting them.  Some get a 3-series, some are getting the 7’s or M’s (France), but at least they’re getting pretty close to what they pay for.

I know there is a better way to run a health care system.  I’ve seen it.  I’ve used it.  2 of our kids were born in that system, and I’ve used it myself.  It really does work, people. 

The system would involve:

– negligibly higher taxes
– less than “the best” of every test and procedure (you’ll get “good enough”…you can pay for “the best” yourself)
– a central database with your personal medical information on it.  Maybe even a card…issued by Orwell himself
– less dying, less sickness, less exposed American moral backside
– limits on litigation
– serious job re-training for private insurance people

Eventually the system would require government-funding of medical education, which would lead to little or no physician debt and more modest doc salaries…especially for specialists.  I’m a fan of the 6-year undergrad/med school process everybody in their right minds all over the REST of the planet employ.  Our doctors are over-educated, over-indebted and thus overly focused on making money.

Some things don’t lend themselves to free market economics.  Medical care just isn’t the same as a Dell laptop.  Competition and market-rationing aren’t very ethical when it comes to keeping a 12 year old girl’s A1C well-managed.

3 thoughts on “Universal Health

  1. Way too many $$$ go to administration of the machine now- with health care execs making millions and primary docs struggling to keep an office open something has to give.

    -Dr. B

    drtombibey.wordpress.com

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  2. KB

    I must disagree with the shortened education point. I think that the requirement for college first gives greater depth to the medical profession. In the Quality Assurance work that I do, there does seem to be a pattern of less depth of understanding of ethical issues among the lessor educated physicians many of whom re just protocol monkeys and technicians. Not consistently, but a trend.

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  3. secretwave101

    I can’t disagree entirely with your point, KB. I have a photography degree from my years prior to pre-med undergrad, and I truly enjoyed those years.

    But the cost – especially when interest on loans is calculated – is nearly overwhelming. Now that I’m about to start practice, I’m looking at paying back school debt well into my 50’s unless I adopt a very aggressive financial plan.

    More humanistic and thoughtful doctors is a wonderful ideal, but I’m not sure many people are willing to pay for it. I’d do a 6-year program (like the rest of the world) if I could do it over again.

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