Archive for the ‘Health care reform’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Nov. 3, 2007, in response to the Camera’s question: Is covering the state’s uninsured worth $1.1 billion? The state’s blue-ribbon health-care-reform commission figures it would cost $1.1 billion to implement a sweeping measure under which all Coloradans would have to buy health insurance. The commission’s work is aimed in part to address the fact that nearly 790,000 residents are uninsured. The numbers are preliminary, but the question remains: Is this the right direction for Colorado?

The Colorado Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform, or the 208 Commission as it is also called, has the legislative charge to bring a solution to the Legislature in January. A few brushes with the current health-care system through loved ones make it clear health care needs to be reformed.

One dear family with four young children lost coverage for a while when the father was between jobs. The parents worried about medical expenses eating up their savings should something terrible happen. Another young family without health insurance at the time went to the doctor’s office only on rare occasions as extreme necessity dictated and received emergency room treatments several times for true emergencies. That meant co-pays they didn’t have. Then, an older woman with limited or no health insurance lost her life, I believe in part because she didn’t even bother to see the doctor or go to the hospital until it was far too late. One of her big concerns was her ability to pay for treatment.

In contrast to the sad experiences brought on by limited or no health insurance coverage, I have also seen the joys of tiny babies born to loved ones with health insurance who do quite well in the neonatal intensive-care units of major hospitals. They received expensive, round-the-clock care and developed normally to the point where they could go home. It’s a great comfort to see the parents’ relief when their babies do well and when they know they will not need to pay for the care for the rest of their lives or lose their homes.

Today’s medicine offers miracles in many cases, but it comes with a price. Doctors order too many expensive tests routinely to protect themselves from lawsuits from unhappy patients. Also, less expensive ways to do the same thing don’t seem to be explored. I was shocked to see one bill I received several years ago for a minor surgery where a bowl in the surgery suite cost $50. You know, I still don’t think I have a bowl in my entire house that costs that much.

Real health-care reform is going to take controlling costs, not just making health-care available to those without it. The 208 Commission has done much great work but still needs to ensure the right of people to refuse health-insurance coverage, and it needs to bring down the $1.4 billion bill to taxpayers. We’re not made of money.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.

Source: Daily Camera

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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on July 18, 2009, in response to the Camera’s question: As Congress debates health care reform, tell us what — if anything — you think should be changed about the U.S. health care system.

U.S. health care definitely needs fixing. Cost and the increasing numbers of the uninsured are obvious reasons. However, President Obama and the steamrolling Democrats in Congress need to take the Hippocratic Oath, to “above all, do no harm.” Congress fixing health care before its August recess with bills of over 1,000 pages is not only sure to cause serious harm, it cannot address the magnitude of the problem or include the necessary safeguards.

We have much to protect. Because we pay much ourselves, we have an incentive for self-care and containing our own costs. We have a good number of excellent doctors (except in some rural areas). We have choice, no waiting in endless lines, and new medical innovations and drugs.

Unfortunately, the United States also has much to fix. Doctors must carry high-cost malpractice insurance and over-prescribe tests to cover themselves in lawsuits. Some don’t keep up with new medical knowledge. We have drug companies advertising on TV and in magazines. And, among other problems we have increasing numbers of American jobs going to workers overseas and unsecured borders allowing illegal aliens to enter our country, in part, for medical care.

Source: Daily Camera

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