OK, what’s a mom to do when she is so proud of her daughters accomplishments. A daughter who was born a preemie at 28 wks, spent the 1st 3 months of her life in the NICU then the next 19 years struggling to keep up. With dad & mom’s help with extra home schooling and forking out for a personal paid tutor, thanks to the wonderful federally run educational system that mainstreamed her too early and left her fending on her own, she is a vibrant young woman embarking in a new journey to become one of our nations best and brightest health care professionals.
What makes her preemie story so special and so relevant to a universal/nationalized health care reform you ask?
Well, it all started back in 1982, we were(still are) self employed and thus only carried major medical insurance. Our policy did not carry coverage for normal births, so we did the responsible thing and enrolled in the (govt subsidized)birthing program at the local hospital for those like us and for those with low income and no health coverage. The cost was $900 including all prenatal care. The catch, most of the care was done by interns and nursing students with a minimum of higher qualified staff available if need be. We’ll revisit this in just a bit.
Fast forward to 5 months into the pregnancy, it is Christmas eve and I am rushed to the hospital with terrible cramping & bleeding. They put me in bed, hook up a monitor and the next day when the cramps had subsided and bleeding no longer visible, they send me home just in time to spend Christmas evening at home. No orders for bed rest, no limits on lifting( we have a 2 yr old at home), just rest more often. Well, that lasted less than 72 hours. Back to the hospital, go home the next evening, yada yada and still no explanation as to what the problem may be and not once yet as anyone other than an intern been into my hospital room to see me.
This time I made it a week before returning and with still no answer as to what the problem may be, they didn’t take any more chances, it was in the hospital on bed rest. Two weeks later came the phone call to my husband to get to the hospital immediately. (we’re in long haul trucking and it was purely by the grace of God he was in town) But before he could head up top the maternity ward, he had to make a stop and pay-off the remainder of what we owed on the $900 fee. I didn’t see him until I came out of the recovery room after a much hurried c-section. He said we have a girl, 2lbs 13oz and they are not giving us any hope at this time and “NO” I can’t go see her yet.
So, you get the jest of this so far, I had no actual high quality care until it was too late to reverse my condition or thwart it off until I was further along. The damage had been done and since we are considered lower class since we chose to use the birthing clinic to offset our insurance (we were thinking we were being responsible adult), we were not given the best of care available. But all that changed. Remember, our insurance only covered problem pregnancies..AH HAH..suddenly we were treated like royalty and yes the hospital was reimbursed to the tune of just under $90,000. Now, since my husband had faithfully gone and made the last 2 payments to the birthing clinic, prior to heading up where he got to the surgical room just in the nick of time to see our daughter born, our insurance company was in “NO” way obligated to step up to the plate.
But that is what we Christians do, we step up when our fellow man is in need. Our insurance provider at the time was AAL currently known as Thrivent. What a wonderful company they truly are and the following is a by-product of their dedication to their customers:
General Purpose:To persuade my audience to opposed reform healthcare
Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that full reformed healthcare is not the best option for our country to correct the issues that are making the costs in healthcare increase in the United States.
19 May 2009
Healthcare is not a topic that should ever just be taken lightly or ignored. According to Tom Daschle, “Healthcare is back at the top of the national agenda. Once again, it is a dinner-table topic for millions of American families, and a looming presence in an intensifying presidential campaign”. Well the campaign is over but the debate over how the issues in healthcare should be solved still continues. Thanks to ongoing improvements in technology, medicine and treatment, people in the United States are living longer which also means healthcare costs are steadily increasing. Robert Pear states in a New York Times article that the number of American citizens without health insurance increased to 45.7 million people in 2007. There are many issues that we face in the U.S. healthcare system such as cost of insurance premiums & coverage, the many choices in medical testing and medications and the cost that insurance companies try avoid from legalities in healthcare. There may not be one single answer to solve these issues in our healthcare system but today I am going to show how going to a reformed healthcare system such as the one proposed by President Barack Obama& adapted by other nations may save some money but could have negative effects on each of us.
You may hear the terms healthcare reform used in different ways. It’s also known as socialized, nationalized or universal healthcare. Healthcare reform means to move from a multi-payer healthcare system like employer based insurance or private insurance to a single-payer system which would be government-run insurance. This is supposed to take the burden off of those who cannot afford private health insurance & do not have the option of receiving benefits through their employer. The United States would not be the first nation to adapt a government-run healthcare system. James Brooke states in a New York Times article that government-run healthcare has been in place in Canada since the 1960’s. France has also been under a reformed healthcare system for decades. It’s stated on Canadian-healthcare.org that every citizen must carry health insurance under the government-run program but private insurance is still an option. It’s also stated that basic services are covered under the Canadian health system such as cost of primary care physicians and the choice of doctor or hospital but there are things that are not covered but would be covered by private insurance. Some of these include dental care, eye doctors and prescription medications. Under the Canadian health system, Canadians are also able to visit any doctor or public clinic & hospital of their choice because all of Canada is under the same public health system. Lawrence Reed states on mackinac.org that Canada does not house nearly as many CT & MRI scanners & there are not as many doctors than there are in the U.S. This has led patients to be placed on waiting lists for even common procedures such as knee or hip replacements. The Canadian government outlaws private clinics though there are many that are still operating throughout Canada. It’s stated on Canadian-health.org that the private clinics offer a shorter waiting period vs. the public system for the same services. For example, when I started having migraine headaches on a regular basis my doctor ordered an MRI of the brain. This is a scan that looks for any abnormalities in any part of the brain. I was able to have this scan within a week of seeing my primary doctor. However, if I lived in Canada at this time & had public insurance I would have been required to go to a public hospital or clinic where my needs would be assessed. I could have then been placed on a waiting list based on how many patients were ahead of me waiting for the same test and also on emergent cases. This could have in turn led to me having to wait months for a test that ultimately could have just showed more than migraines. By patients being able to go to private clinics, the cost is out of pocket so there are fewer patients seen & in turn a faster turnaround time to see a physician, to have a test done & get results back. Canada is not the only nation to have adapted to government-run healthcare.
France has also been under reformed healthcare for decades. According to Jim Landers of the Dallas Morning News, it’s estimated that there will be $5,000 or less spent per person on healthcare this year in France. This is far less than what’s expected in the U.S. Robert Pear states in an article from the New York Times that the U.S. government predicts the nation will spend approximately $2.5 trillion or $8,160 per person on healthcare spending this year. That’s a big number and a lot of money for one individual to spend on just healthcare alone. A patient in the U.S. may pay more to cover their medical costs than in France but that doesn’t mean that the French healthcare system is home-free in paying for their own healthcare needs. Jim Landers also says because the government-run program in France offers no deductibles & their out-of-pocket costs average around $250 a year, the people in France visit their doctor twice as much as those in the United States. This is great for consumers who can go to a doctor whenever needed but actually increases the amount that government would spend on healthcare per person. Unlike the healthcare system in Canada, France has no outlaws on private clinics but if a patient decides to go to a private clinic, the cost is completely out of pocket. So how do the healthcare systems in Canada and France compare with the plan that President Barack Obama is proposing?
The United States definitely needs improvement when it comes to the cost of healthcare. The difference between the health systems in Canada and France and the one here in the U.S. is that government-run insurance is paid for by the government and in the United States it’s mainly paid for privately. Jim Landers states that U.S. citizens pay 46% in taxes that go to Medicare, Medicaid and military benefits and the rest is covered through employer insurance and out-of-pocket expenses. Like the health programs in Canada and France, President Obama is proposing the American Health Security Act of 2009. House.gov states that this would be a government-run system and would require every citizen in the U.S. to carry some form of health insurance. So how would the government pay for these programs? According to Robert E. Mofit, Nina Owcharenko & Dennis G. Smith, all of the Heritage Foundation, President Obamahas set aside $634 billion in a reserve fund for healthcare. Approximately $318 billion or half of the reserve fund would come from an increase in taxes to those who make $250,000 or more per year. House.gov states that these government health plans would be based off income and U.S. citizens would have the option to pay for additional coverage through private plans. Taxes are not the only thing that would be affected by going to a reformed healthcare system.
Medicare would also be affected. Medicare Advantage plans havehelped not only those abovethe age of 65 but also others who are low income or are disabled. These plans give a person more choices of benefit packages than regular Medicare. The Heritage Foundation states that these types of plans are steadily increasing in popularity and that every 1 out of 5 senior citizens are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. By going to a socialized healthcare plan like Obama is proposing, this could harm recipients currently under Medicare. Private options under Medicare may be taken away and this would essentially take away a person’s right to choose their Medicare health plan. It would decrease options and depending on a patient’s situation they may only have one choice. Medicaid prescription plans are also affected. According to the Heritage Foundation, prescription price plans would be based off income, so those making more money would pay higher premiums for their prescription drugs. At first glance this doesn’t sound like a bad deal but just because someone that may make more money per year than the person standing next to them doesn’t mean they may have more money to go around due to their own personal expenses and obligations. This would then put this person in even greater a bind to meet their monthly expenses and keep themselves healthy. Going to a reformed healthcare system doesn’t only affect prescription drugs, Medicare & taxes. It also could have a large impact on how the United States moves ahead with medical intervention and provider participation.
Another provision outlined in the American Health Security Act of 2009 is provider participation. In the bill outlined on House.gov, if an individual who decides to receive insurance under the government must see a provider that has been approved by the health board. Under this bill, all providers choosing to participate under the government-run program must be approved by the health board by signing an agreement that would state that the provider could not treat any patient not covered under the government plan. This could possibly put a burden on a patient’s shoulders, especially the elderly. This is because if a patient has been seeing a certain doctor for many years & then the patient chooses government healthcare but their doctor decided to run privately, this patient would not be able to see that doctor without paying completely out of pocket. This could make for an uneasy transition for the patient.
Reformed healthcare also could affect how we grow as a nation in medical intervention. According to House.gov, President Obama is proposing to regulate costs and the success of medical equipment such as MRI & CT scanners. Like I said earlier, Canada has far less access to certain medical equipment such as MRI & CT scanners than we do here in the United States. Tom Daschle states that some medical interventions, including some machines used to predict diseases, trauma and prevention are unnecessary once costs are brought into the picture. He states that “Americans are imbued with a can-do spirit, and an abiding faith in technological innovation. More so than in other countries, they just aren’t inclined to fatalistically accept a hopeless diagnosis or forgo experimental interventions even if there is the slightest chance for success.” Congressman J. Randy Forbes states that there are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today. This is because of the technology that is available to doctors and patients to detect this disease in its early stages. In my earlier speech, I talked about being a premature infant. I spent 3 months in the NICU and was diagnosed with scoliosis in my back, which is curvature of your spine and with mild cerebral palsy. There were doctors that were trying to convince my parents to have surgery on my back which would have led me to be in a body brace until I was 6 years old. Thanks to the availability of the technology & to detect the severity of my health problems & the options of doctors that could help them, my parents were able to decide against surgery ultimately giving me a better quality of life. I couldn’t imagine how my life today would be if they had made different decisions.
What I have talked about today just outlines some of the provisions that could take place if the United States were to go into a full reformed healthcare system. Tom Daschle states that “Some people warn that covering everybody will lead to waiting lists and health care “rationing”. But the United States has their own type of rationing –rationing based on income, insurance status, and illness”. How is this different from other countries that have gone to a reformed healthcare system? If the United States government, private insurance companies and drug companies can come to an agreement that is based on the essentials for fair treatment of all U.S. citizens then I believe we can show how our healthcare system is top-rate like the different medical interventions that havehelped save so many lives. Moving to a full reformed healthcare system where patients may have to choose from a doctor that they’ve seen their whole life to someone new because of a government decision would be taking away a part of what America is about. America is about freedom and about being able to make one’s own choices. If a system like Canada or France is adapted, patients would see a longer waiting period just to see a doctor for a routine checkup or for a test that’s needed to detect an illness. This is unless the patient can pay for the service completely out of pocket to go to a private clinic. A patient shouldn’t have to accept a diagnosis of any serious disease. If they’re willing to fight, let them fight. Isn’t the United States supposed to be about freedom? Tom Daschlesays, “But ultimately, it’s up to each one of us to take ownership of our own health and well-being.” This statement couldn’t be truer today. It’s not only up to each one of us to take responsibility for our own care, but it’s also in the hands of the government, drug companies and private insurers to come up with a solution that’s not only cost effective but is what’s ultimately best for the patient which could be any one of us.
Yes, this persuasive rated an “A” from the most liberal, Obama supporting professor my daughter has. Now that is saying something…she got it right and “NOT” all liberal professors are jerks to conservative students.