Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 April 2012 Fatten the health insurance executives

“March 27, 2012 - As the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the president's health care law, Senator Corker said the law is going to drive up health care costs and will have to be replaced with "common sense" legislation that "fits these times, fits the American people, allows the freedom and choice that American people are accustomed to" and is "fiscally sound."
Cassi Creek:
          I began working in a medical laboratory at the age of 14.  My exposure to medical care in America began at an even earlier age.  I listened to the tales my mother brought home from her jobs at local hospitals; and later, from her stint as a public health nurse.  She leavened these bits of reality with her schooling experiences and her earliest jobs in rural and small town hospitals. 
          Hospitals were for the rich and for the poor.  The rich were provided nice rooms – by the standards of the day – and often had private duty nursing care independently of the hospital’s staff.  The poor were poured into charity wards and were expected to be grateful for what they received in the way of care.  Physicians provided minimal care to charity patients unless the facility happened to be a teaching hospital.  Hospital stays could be lengthy and expensive.
          Medications, diagnostic procedures, and treatments differed greatly from those of today.  There were no oncology drugs, surgery and radiation were the only treatments for cancer. 
          We’ve advanced tremendously  in our ability to provide health care, to diagnose and treat.   One or two night stays may cost more for today’s patients than a week or two as an inpatient prior to Medicare. 
          In those post WWII days, when  science, technology, engineering, and medicine made immense leaps toward modern medical practices, we still had a multi-tiered delivery system.  The rich got all they could pay for, the middle class paid for all they could, and the poor lived and died outside the system unless they could be admitted to a teaching hospital. 
          I entered health care full time in 1968 and worked  in health care, full-time until I was injured on the job in 1998.  I then switched between employee and patient status until 2001.  After that, I was no longer cleared to work and no longer insurable.  My experiences with health insurance companies were highly informative and highly unsatisfactory.
          With the advent of Medicare, and with the health insurance benefit becoming the goal of employees, the multi-tiered system became more a two-tiered system.  But as the high tech aspects of medicine became more and more prevalent, and as the standards of practice pushed more and more doctors into treating the chart instead of the patient, the price of health care sky-rocketed.  And as the price of care increased the insurance carriers found their selves sitting on a gold mine.  They could add to their corporate and personal profits by rejecting any applicants but the most healthy and the most wealthy.  They could collect premiums for decades and then refuse to pay for treatement.  They could even buy Senators and Congressmen to write laws guaranteeing their corporate and private revenue streams by refusing to review and modernize the delivery of health care in the high-tech, high quality hospitals of the modern U.S. 
          We’ve returned to that two tiered system.  We ration health care by affordability.  The GOP/teavangelists have allowed the health insurance companies to refuse to insure about 30% of all Americans.  That’s 30%, perhaps more, who can’t buy insurance even if they are employed.  They fall into the box of patients marked “GET SICK – DIE QUICK!.  How very third world our health care system has become. 
          This is the problem that the Affordable Care Act was intended to eliminate.   The hoped for solution was universal single-payer insurance for all American Citizens.  What actually was passed by Congress was another windfall for the health insurance companies that handed them millions of new people to expand their pool of healthy insurance consumers. 
          The GOP has proposed this solution for decades.  Once Obama’s name appeared at the bottom of the page they wanted nothing to do with it.  Now they want to abolish anything resembling what most modern nations have enacted. 
          The solutions Senator Corker claims the American tax payer will want are not anything at all to th e benefit of our citizens.  What Corker, Congressman Roe, and the rest of the insurance industry’s pocket puppets want to foist off on the American citizen is a return to that three-tiered system where no one gets in without money and no one leaves with any money left.
          To insure that no patient gets expensive treatment the insurance companies have batteries of clerks – read that “corporate bureaucrats” whose job  is to refuse, reject, delay, and deny the health care the insured paid for.  To convince the average voter that such practices are justifiable, that the insurance execs are entitled to millions of dollars in  bonuses, they throw up a propaganda smoke screen about “socialized medicine” 
          Don’t believe that insurance companies should be able to take money in premiums and then refuse treatment for patients?  Don’t think insurance companies should write laws and hand them to Congress to rubberstamp? 
Bob Corker believes in insurance companies rather than citizens.  Park Overall believes that the citizens of Tennessee and of the United States should have access to real health insurance and that health care decisions should be made by patients in concert with the patient’s doctors. I plan to vote for Park Overall for Senate.  You should too!

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