Posted by: mchleen | March 12, 2010

Healthcare reform is necessary. But how?

If ever there was a time to not shoot the messenger then this is that time.

As a former healthcare-subsidized employee and now a dependent of the same, I am fortunate that I’ve never really felt the pinch of the healthcare system. To the contrary it has been, for me, a quite mutually beneficial system. I find it almost impossible to formulate how it needs reform – from a personal perspective. I am not a monster though. I know that there are fellow Americans that need and deserve more than they are recieving…more than they can afford.

But truth be told and much to my shame, I live inside the DC Beltway; I feel like I should be more informed, but I almost consciously avoid all the chatter from around here or I feel that I would be consumed. How about you? Are you truly informed or only emotionaly informed? Have you read the proposed bills or only taken the Cliffs Notes offered to you by media outlets? It actually takes alot of work and time to sift through it all. And in the end our representatives often end up bargaining away alot of their platforms in compromises.

What’s our beef, really? (Good Lord, I cannot WAIT to see how I get flamed for this post!!)

I just say this: No system is ever perfect. Time and circumstances change and by association so should our culture and laws. We do need change but let’s take our time, talk it out, pinpoint the issues and come to well-thought out resolutions. Complete and immediate overhaul will only hobble us in the long run; just as any snap decision in life usually does. Our government is large, our country is even bigger and more diverse, and our collective American hearts are huge. We are unable to stand by and watch others suffer needlessly. But let’s take a breath and give this a gander… Let’s take a look around us at other systems and how they benefit and detriment their citizens.

Canada and the US at one time had very similar systems, but in the 1960’s/70’s Canada reformed. We spend approximately twice as much as they do per capita per year and the US government ultimaltely spends more on healthcare (public and private). We are the gold standard of care in the world; in treatment AND research. You want good care? Come here. But our government only finances about half of that care, while Canada finances approximately 70%. What does that mean? If you want subsidized care, you will pay for it. TAXES. Ewwww. Yeah I said it. Oh and federal rules about use, which are much tougher to modify than privatized industry.

I’m not against a slight increase in taxes for the benefit of the general good but let’s be informed. This would mean a major shift in our culture and one from which we will not be able to backtrack (Social Security, Medicare?) And with subsidization, comes HMO-like restraint. We’ve all heard the horror stories, I don’t need to tell you. And I’ve seen first hand the withholding of standards of care until advanced stages of disease in order to reduce demand on the system. Not to be cryptic, but remember: nothing in life is free.

There is much good possible out there, but let’s do it properly and not chop ourselves off at the knees in our haste to make right.


  1. Way to come out of hibernation strong and opinionated! Missed reading your thoughts.

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