Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Health Care Reform

Had a meeting at Trinity today. Sen. Kent Conrad was there, as well as Mary Wakefield, formly of UND and now appointed by Pres. Obama to head up the section on rural health. Media was there and many other big wigs including several state senators. Sen. Conrad is putting forth an idea on COOP in health care. It would have very little government involvement. I agree that our current health care system is broken. Some say we should scrap it and start over, others think it just needs some tweeking. Everyone is talking about improving health and promoting healthy lifestyles, as a way to help decrease health costs. Yes, it is an admirable goal. However, human psychology steps in every time. They don't want to give up their cigarettes. It is hard to change habits as far as weight is concerned. Yes, there are stories of successful people. The reality is most do not and at best have only modest success. Next, is the psychology of those that control the dollars do not or will not easily give up their money sources. That may sound like doctors and that is true to some extent, but the actual slice of the pie for doctors out of all dollars spent is relatively small. If I wanted to get rich I would not have gone into primary care. I am talking about the business that make money selling insurance. That is going to be the toughest nut to crack. The problem is that it always comes down to money. Next, if there is going to be health care reform it has got to include malpractice reform. True most lawsuites are won by physicians. However, the number of suites and the potential of making it big drives the malpractice insurance industry. Many lawyers get rich, ie. John Edward for example, by specializing in malpractice cases. They get a third if they win. So the more they sue for the more they stand to win. What about the people that are harmed in true malpractice cases? They actually receive only a portion, most goes to the legal battles. Isn't the chance of getting rich a conflict of interest on the part of the lawyers? Nebraska has a unique way of handling it. By state constitution one can sue for punitive damages. If they win the punitive damages go into the state coffers. In other words punitive damages are meant to be punishment to the one who caused harm, not as a reward to plantif and his or her lawyer. In short there is a lot of real hurdles in the way of health care reform. I hope that it can be fixed. But my skeptical self questions it based on human psychology, history and greed.

Skeptical DoDo

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