About Health Care
By Jerome Grossman
Dr. Marc Sklar, an endocrinologist in Washington, DC was quoted in the Wall Street Journal, “If we could prevent even a small percentage of people from becoming obese and developing these conditions (diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic problems) the cost of healthcare could go down far enough to cover everyone's insurance.”
Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and now at Harvard Medical School, wrote in the Boston Globe, “The reason our health system is in such trouble is that it is set up to generate profits, not to provide care. We rely on hundreds of investor-owned insurance companies that profit by refusing coverage to high-risk patients and limiting services to others. They also cream off about 20% of the premiums for profits and overhead.”
Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate in Economics, wrote in the New York Times, “The insurance industry is busily lobbying Congress to block one crucial element of healthcare reform, the public option - that is, offering the right to buy insurance directly from the government as well as from private insurance companies.”
The United States spent more on health care than any other country as a share of gross domestic product in 2006, the most recent year for which totals are available. But the survival rates for American patients on infant mortality and population longevity lag behind other countries.
United States 15.2%
New Zealand (2003) 8%
Between 2000 and 2007, the 10 largest publicly traded insurance companies increased their profits 428%, from $2.4 billion to $12.9 billion, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings
Since its founding, Mayo Clinic has paid physicians with salaries to avoid financial conflicts of interest in clinical decision-making, and to promote multi-disciplinary coordination of care. Less well known, was its principle of billing based on patient’s means.
Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, says,” Democrats always blame the insurance companies, and Republicans always blame the trial lawyers….. A new system also requires tough malpractice reforms….. Cost containment is the Achilles heel of the Massachusetts Universal Coverage plan.”
President Obama said on June 18, “There are already a bunch of liberals who are disappointed because I didn't propose a single payer plan….”
Former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D.-S.D.), Bob Dole (R-KS.) and Howard Baker (R-TN) on June 17 unveiled a bi-partisan blueprint for health-care reform that includes a public plan compromise and a requirement that all Americans must purchase insurance. All three men represent private-sector clients in the health-care debate.
The Washington Post wrote about health care holdings of federal legislators: “Nearly 30 lawmakers on committees drafting health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling at least $10.8 million dollars and as much as $26.8 million.”
Dr. Abraham Varghese, professor at Stanford University, has written, “All the marvels of science, all the advances of medicine don't replace what patients want of their doctors and what most of us wanted to offer when we felt the calling to medicine: The opportunity to be fully present at the bedside, to bring the human comfort that only the presence of an attentive physician can bring, to convey to patient and family the unspoken promise, I will stay with you through thick and thin.”
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