December 20, 2014
Fishin' for thoughts

Studies show U.S. healthcare system responsible for many people’s troubles

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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Posted 6/17/09

Much has been discussed lately with the health care system in this country. Whether it’s been the sky rocketing costs for any and all drugs and treatments, the availability of any kind of insurance or just the absolute lack of healthcare professionals giving a damn, the system isn’t just broken…it’s in complete shambles.

A new study performed by Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal that 60-percent of ALL bankruptcies in the United States were caused by medical bills. Even more stunning, the report says 75-percent of those people **had health insurance.

A quote from an article on Reuters.com about the report illustrates just how difficult it’s becoming to afford insurance.

"Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement.

"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection," he added.

The cost of getting sick these days is far too expensive for the average person. A trip to the emergency room will run you about $1,500, just for walking through the door. A 4-day stay at the nearest St. (insert biblical name here) Hospital will cost you as much as buying a couple brand-new four wheelers. If you have a chronic illness, forget trying to find affordable coverage…you’ll have to mortgage your home…that is if you still have a home. And hey, even if you don’t have to worry about the first two problems, you still have to worry if your doctor will give you an honest thorough exam. He (or she) may have a headache that day and could be going through the “in-and-out as fast as possible” routine. By the way, don’t try to offer any kind of past history of your own or any kind of tips as to how previous treatments have affected you, you’ll get the old smile and head nod like you’d do to a 4-year-old followed by a less-than-reassuring “I’m the doctor; let me do the work” comment of sorts.

This type of healthcare system worked in 1920, but isn’t close to being acceptable in this age of information and technology. It’s 2009. We have satellites that can track penguins’ poo from space (true). The age of technology and the Internet has made information readily available and leads to more advances by the day. People aren’t as dumb as they once were when it comes to medicine. People don’t think cough syrup is a miracle cure like they did in the early 1900s. With Internet Web sites like WebMD and EMedicine, the general public can research symptoms and disease before they even think of going to a doctor’s office. It’s ridiculous that a doctor would dismiss any information or questions a person has because they think it’s a waste of time.

A reader’s digest article entitled “41 secrets your doctor would never share” sheds light on healthcare professionals’ true feelings about certain everyday situations. It was a gross and criminal finding. Most complained about whiny, needy patients who wanted some quality time with their doctor to make absolutely sure of all possibilities they had. Here are a few quotes pulled from the article:

• “I used to have my secretary page me after I had spent five minutes in the room with a difficult or overly chatty patient. Then I’d run out, saying, “Oh, I have an emergency.” - oncologist, Santa Cruz, California

• “Hospitals want physicians to send patients home faster, so some doctors are given bonuses for getting their patients out of the hospital quickly.” - Evan S. Levine, MD, cardiologist, New York City

• “At least a third of what doctors decide is fairly arbitrary.” - Heart surgeon, New York City

• “Doctors are only interested in whether they are inconvenienced — most don’t care if you have to wait for them.” - Family physician, Washington, D.C.

Obviously, most doctors and health professionals do truly care or they wouldn’t be in the business, but taking some extra time to run a test or sit down and discuss matters with a patient could go a long way. How many times have you heard of a situation, or had it happen yourself, in which a person has something wrong with them, they go seek treatment, it gets diagnosed as something minor by a doctor or two and several months later, after the diseases complicates several times, they find out its cancer or another disease that could have been determined earlier with thorough testing. Now the odds are terrible and the doctor tells them, “If only we caught it sooner.”

One argument is that too many tests are harmful and unnecessary. That’s a lame excuse for not wanting to do extra work. Is a test truly more harmful to the body than cancer would be?

Surely doctors aren’t the only reason tests aren’t performed either. Cost is a huge factor with many tests, especially if you’re uninsured. An MRI will run you $1,000. But of course, this is another product of healthcare being entrusted to the private sector! Aren’t you all so happy healthcare is not nationalized, especially those of you with chronic disease?

Here is another statistic from the report as posted on Reuters.

“Patients with multiple sclerosis paid a mean of $34,167 out of pocket in 2007, diabetics paid $26,971, and those with injuries paid $25,096, the researchers found.”

Every time you turn on a T.V. anymore you hear the rising number of persons in the country without healthcare. If Obama is serious when he talks about healthcare reform, we need it to start from within — with policy, practice, strict oversight and legislation. So if Americans can get serious and stop enslaving themselves with worthless bickering over things that don’t matter, like: Obama’s birth certificate; his religion; Dick Cheney; the War on Drugs; Judge Sotomayor’s selection; Republicans vs. Democrats; and celebrities problems, and collectively focus their thoughts and efforts on things that do matter, like: the auto industry; the banking industry; any industry; healthcare; two foreign wars; unemployment; homicides; kidnappings; poverty; and recidivism of prisoners.

From what we’ve seen in the past, probably not. Which is a real shame.

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