In the past few months, I have spent a lot of time visiting doctors, hospitals and pharmacies; following up on prescriptions for myself, as well as others.
It is easy to tell a lot about a country and its people by the way they treat their elderly, infirm, and disabled. My own experiences were mixed. Some have been very happy, others very frustrating. Our care system fails to provide timely care for patients all too often.
* Payment of the Bill Redundancy. My case has 2 insurances, which I pay for. These are not free. These include Medicare as well as a supplemental plan I carried over from my pension. I have to pay out-of-pocket for many services, even though I have 2 insurances. This is 3 billing/record keeping efforts: Medicare, United Healthcare, and my own record keeping. Follow-up calls and money forwarded are also included. It would be much easier to just have one fee that covers all medical costs. This would eliminate the need to keep track of 3 billing/record-keeping efforts, saving hundreds of millions each year.
* Payment before treatment. When you visit your doctor, the first thing they ask is for your insurance card and details about how you will pay. Instead of treating the patient first, this is where you go to see them.
* What is covered? Because my insurance won’t cover them, I can’t get certain lab tests, medicines or ancillary treatment. I must pay out-of-pocket, which means that I will have to pay thousands for 2 expensive insurances. Sometimes I spend hours waiting at the lab due to insufficient staffing. I must go to this provider because they accept my insurance.
* Insurance companies dictate care. Patients with life-threatening conditions are often denied follow-up tests such as MRIs and Pet- Scans. This is because doctors know that they will not be able to prescribe them, or because insurance companies won’t pay for them. Physicians know that they are needed more often, especially in the case cancer. Insurance companies don’t want to pay more than necessary, so people’s lives are in danger.
* Talk is not enough. All of this has been going for decades and very little has been done to change it. These problems have been discussed a lot, but little has been done. It is clear that we are a nation where the wealthy get richer at the expense their brothers and sisters.
* Medical Champions. While many medical professionals are honest and work hard to help patients, our medical system is often lacking in quality. Too many people see it as a matter of making money rather than making healthy people. Unfortunately, many people have fallen to the Dark Side, and there are very few Luke Skywalkers who can use The Force/Light.
Many will speak out about our self-destruction when they write the nation’s obituary. Our promise of much was fulfilled over the years, and it was our greed that destroyed us. In time, we didn’t realize that only a nation with heart can endure. Those medical and corporate entities that made money/power their God were on the wrong path. America’s capitalistic religion has replaced love and care with a dollar sign over the years.
Yes, it is true that the balance has been lost. There is not much time to recover it.
Personally, I believe we should move to a one-fee system. All medical expenses are covered by an enrollment fee. This system is partly monitored by a series patientreview boards.
This system should ultimately be managed by consumers and their families, not government, insurance, drug, medical, or pharmaceutical companies. It is possible that then decisions will be made only by the most directly affected people, and we can all return to helping one another reach higher.
A nation founded on spiritual principles, personal freedoms, will again heal and return its spiritual center, recapturing it’s heart and soul.