Sunday, August 12, 2012

The real truth about universal healthcare

Universal Health Care. In the United States of America, there is a (faulty) assumption that Universal Health Care does not exist here. It does. Anyone can go to a County medical facility and receive urgent and immediate care.

Why? Because as has been said over and over in developed countries: health care is a public good. Like roads, schools, parks, and government infrastructure, health care is necessary.

So the question is not “should we have health care”, but “how will health care be accessible and affordable”.

Yes, at the end of the day, you will have to pay for it. What the people of the United States do not seem to comprehend is that you are already paying for it right now.

That’s right. You are paying for health care whether you want to or not. So why not pay to have the best care at the best prices? Its a tall order to think through, but what the insurance companies want you to think about is that buying their premiums is better than paying the government. By the way, you already pay the government in taxes and are overcharged by hospitals (I’ll tell you more about this later). So you already pay. What is to be decided is what kind of control will you have about what you spend and what you get.

The costs you pay for insurance MUST now go towards health care costs you as a prescriber receive. If not, those premiums MUST be returned to you. People are now starting to receive those cheques. This is starting to give Americans the confirmation that they need: health insurance companies are not their “personal friend”. These insurance companies have been using their premiums for other purposes: investing in the stock market, paying bonuses to upper echelon CEO’s and directors.

Now insurance companies cannot deny coverage for children based on a pre-existing condition. How cool is that? Soon, they will not able to deny adults that same privilege. They cannot deny you continued coverage based on a health condition. This is not a flight of fancy. This is a fundamental right of access to health care that should be enjoyed by ALL who live in a developed country.

To do otherwise, to deny health care to someone who is already ill, is unconscionable. It is analogous to throwing someone under the bus because they are no longer useful. These are visions we have of third world countries, where the value of life is precarious at best. Is this is the vision you have of the United States of America? Is this a place where the wealth and prosperity of the country is claimed off of the backs of the sick and indigent? Where is the vision of the strongest democratic country on the planet?

Let me explain a few little known facts about the cost of universal health care. For instance: the increased cost of premiums suggested by some politicians and the media? It has NOT materialized in Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark, Germany, or other developed nations that acknowledge universal health care as a right of their citizens.

If you are already paying the highest cost for health care, why not get the best all-round health care instead of only the best health care for a few.

The insurance companies dictate what health care will be covered. The few safe-guards currently in place (vis-a-vis not being allowed to deny coverage for a pre-existing condition), are simply not enough. We need to be the ones who decide our own health care, not the insurance companies. Our agendas are not compatible with insurance companies.

Hospital over-billing is allowed because they feel that hospitals should recover their bad debts from the payers. The hospitals are treating their non-paying recipients as if they are shoplifters. No one dares challenge this! Even the insurance companies do not challenge it. Why not? The cost of a needle in a hospital is exorbitant! Who controls what the hospitals charge for services? Not you or I. We cannot bringing our own needles for our own use. Too simple a solution? No, its because the hospital is making you pay for every patient that does not pay their bill. Do you have a choice in this? Is there a way to challenge this hospital’s decision to over-bill you? They are acting like a “for-profit” corporation. Why are they both getting the benefits of a non-profit, and acting like profit is their motivation? The answer is simple: THEY ARE ALL ABOUT PROFIT, and they are taking that profit at the expense of your pocketbook AND your health!

The conservatives of the USA need to wake up. Its not “Obamacare” versus Health insurance companies. This is NOT an “us versus them” issue. We ALL want health care. Affordable health care. The ONLY way to get that to happen is to have the government involved in providing it. Period.

You already have universal healthcare. What you do not have is control over its spending. What you do not have is control over what you get for your money.

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