Health *insert suffix here* Reform… really?

Alright, time to hit the hot topic on everybody’s plate: Health Care/Insurance Reform.  So, which is it Washington?

I’ve heard each term, “Health Care Reform” and “Health Insurance Reform” used nearly interchangeably lately.  It’s no wonder the nation’s confused.  To top it off, the media can’t seem to pick one and stick with it either, even the President and his advisors can’t seem to decide on a phrase to use.

Now, this isn’t going to go in-depth into the subject; in fact, it’s barely going to scratch the surface.  I simply want to put my point of view out there, and get it off my chest.

I recently read a little anecdote from a friend of mine.  He had checked the source at Snopes, and as far as I can tell, it’s legit.

The story pertains to a Dr. from Mississippi, who works in the Emergency room.  One evening, he was tasked to assist an individual.  Here is the letter he wrote:

“Dear  Sirs:

During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with an expensive shiny gold tooth, multiple elaborate expensive tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone. Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: ‘Medicaid’. She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow, still has money to buy beer.  

And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a ‘crisis of culture’, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. A culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of  me”.  Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow Don’t you agree?”

This is what needs to change.  It’s not that we currently can’t afford the assistance that our country provides, because believe me I know that we can’t.  But it is the people who take advantage of this assistance, and don’t expect any repercussions.  Even if the letter is a fake, it still points out truths that exist in today’s society.  Some people not all people, simply feel that the world/everyone else owes them something.  As long as they get what they want, and somebody else is watching their back, whether it be by Medicaid/Medicare or Food Stamps, then they shouldn’t have to pay a cent.

Now, I’m not against government assistance for those who need it.  I know people, and have family who appropriately take advantage of these systems; however, it should be the choice and responsibility of the person and not the government as to what should be used.

In addition, people should be held accountable for their actions; simply put, if you are going to use these programs, then you are also going to have to be held responsible for some of the cost.  Just because you get “free” health insurance through the government doesn’t mean that you can take that money left over and blow it on non-necessities.

Now, on a slightly different note, the corporate side needs to be monitored as well. Capitalism is a great thing.  It inspires competition and innovation.  Frauds and scams are not, and that is what I feel some of the current insurance companies, and in addition to that Doctors and Hospitals, are doing.  To inflate the cost of an appointment or procedure, just so that Medicare or an insurance company will pay more to the doctor or hospital is practically “legalized fraud”.  There needs to be a limitation on how things are priced and a standard put in place.  Plus the fact that hospitals can turn down payment, so that they don’t have to claim that they “accepted it” and in turn can turn people into collection agencies should be stopped, plain and simple.

To conclude this I simply want to note that responsibility, and accountability, both personal and corporate/medical should be a focus of our government.

Update: The bill got passed… not on through the next phase and to the Pres’s hands.  We’ll see how this all works. out.

Knowledge is power, and though the cliché may state it, ignorance is not bliss.

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