Why are Americans so worked up about health care reform? Statements such as “don’t touch my Medicare” or “everyone should have access to state of the art health care irrespective of cost” are in my cardioxyl opinie opinion inexperienced and visceral responses that indicate a poor understanding of our health care system’s history, its current and future resources and the funding challenges that America faces going forward. While we all wonder how the health care system has reached what some refer to as a crisis stage. Let’s try to take some of the emotion out of the debate by briefly examining how health care in this country emerged and how that has formed our thinking and culture about health care. With that as a foundation let’s look at the pros and cons of the Obama administration health care reform recommendations and let’s look at the concepts put forth by the Republicans?
Access to state of the art health care services is something we can all agree would be a good thing for this country. Experiencing a serious illness is one of life’s major challenges and to face it without the means to pay for it is positively frightening. But even as shall see, once we know what exactly is it, we will find that achieving this goal will not be easy without our individual contribution.
These are the themes I will touch on to try to make some sense out of what is happening to American health care and the steps we can personally take to make things better.
A recent history of American health care – what has driven the costs so high?
Important components of the Obama health care plan
The Republican view of health care – free market competition
General access to state of the art health care – a worthy goal but not easy to achieve
what can we do?
First, let’s get a little historical perspective on American health care. This is not designed to be an exhausted look into that history but it will give us an appreciation of how the health care system and our expectations for it developed. What drove costs higher and higher?
To begin, let’s turn to the American civil war. In that war, dated tactics and the carnage ınduced by modern pistols of the era combined to cause ghastly results. Not generally known is that most of the deaths on both sides of the particular war were not the result of actual combat but to what happened after a battlefield wound was ınduced. To begin with, evacuation of the hurt moved at a snail’s pace and this caused severe delays in treating the hurt. Secondly, many wounds were subjected to wound care, related surgical practices and/or amputations of the affected limbs and this often resulted in the starting point of massive infection. So you might survive a battle wound in order to die at the hands of health care bills providers who although well-intentioned, their interventions were often quite fatal. High death tolls can also be ascribed to everyday sicknesses and diseases in a time when no antibiotics existed. In total a product like 600, 000 deaths occurred from all causes, over 2% of the You. S. population at the time!
Let’s skip to the first half of the the twentieth century for some additional perspective and to bring us up to more modern times. After the civil war there were steady improvements in American medicine in the understanding and treatment of certain diseases, new surgical techniques and in physician education and training. But for the most part the best that doctors could offer their patients was a “wait and see” approach. Medicine could handle bone fractures and increasingly attempt risky surgical practices (now largely performed in sterile and clean surgical environments) but medicines were not yet available to handle serious illnesses. The majority of deaths stayed at the result of untreatable conditions such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, scarlet feeling sick and measles and/or related complications. Doctors were increasingly aware of heart and vascular conditions, and cancer but they had almost nothing with which to treat these conditions.
This very basic review of American history helps us to understand that until quite recently (around the 1950’s) we had virtually no technologies with which to treat serious or even minor ailments. Here is a critical point we need to understand; “nothing to treat you with means that visits to the doctor if at all were relegated to emergencies so usual scenario costs are curtailed. The simple simple truth is that there was little for doctors to offer and therefore virtually nothing to drive health care spending. A second factor holding down costs was that procedures that were provided were paid for out-of-pocket, meaning by way of an individuals personal resources. There was no such thing as health insurance and certainly not health insurance paid by an employer. Excepting the very destitute who have been lucky to find their way into a charity hospital, health care costs were the responsibility of the individual.