NomDebPlume's 2½ Cents

Because I have an opinion about everything…

Archive for the month “August, 2009”

‘Tweaking’ our Healthcare System

 

I don’t know anything about cars, just like I am not well-versed in the intricacies of healthcare.  But… you drive, you learn.  You get sick, you learn.  You live, you learn.  You pick up little ideas here and there to save money while also keeping your engine, or your body, running optimally. 
 
It certainly wouldn’t make sense to replace my entire car if I just needed new spark plugs and an oil change, so why is the current administration proposing we start from scratch with our healthcare system?  Really, that’s more of a rhetorical question, since I think we got exactly what all the liberals, democrats and Hollywood air-heads voted for: incompetence.  But hey… what about the people who knew all along that this guy was in way over his head?  How about we only force Congress, Mr. Obama and everyone who voted for him to participate in government-run healthcare?

Those would be in my ‘Fantasy Tweaks’ category, but I can think of two realistic changes right off the top of my head.

 
What about this…
– Prohibit pharmaceutical companies from advertising to the general public. 
Think about it: how much sense does it make to advertise something that cannot be purchased without a doctor’s prescription?  Aside from raking in big profits (which are incorporated into the high prices we pay for medication), what are these companies really doing?  Are they suggesting that our doctors are too stupid to recommend the appropriate medication for us without us first approaching them with a tale of some commercial we saw that convinced us that we need it?  So, in effect, we have prescribed it for ourselves and the doctor is now an afterthought… a mere signature provider.  I’m glad I didn’t go to school for 8-10-12 years so my patients can just tell me what they need (after being educated by a 60-second television commercial).
 
And who pays all those nicely dressed sales reps I’m always seeing in my doctor’s office?  You know the ones: they leave all those samples and post-it pads, pens and stuffed toys with their logos smartly displayed?  Perhaps the same people who pay for those pharmaceutical company-sponsored, all-expenses-paid trips to luxury resorts for doctors.  That would be YOU.  And ME.  We all pay for it with every inflated price of every single pill we swallow… or medication we can’t afford.
 
Here’s my next idea:
Stop using the “Price Squared” system for medical equipment and supplies.  People who don’t need these items usually have no idea how much putting the word “medical” in front of a product raises its price.  When I cared for my mother-in-law after her stroke, I was introduced to a world I never knew existed: the world of over-charging for medical equipment and supplies – or in the patient’s case, over-PAYING. 
 
I remember when I wanted to purchase a cushion for my mother-in-law’s wheelchair.  I went to the Medical Supply Store and was charged more than $50.00 for a square piece of foam rubber covered with a cheap, thin cotton pillowcase.  If I could sew, I could have made one of these for about $7.00, but since this was a special cushion, made specifically for a wheelchair and had to be bought at a special store, it cost WAY too much.
 
Why are medications and necessary supplies more costly in the hospital?  Different people have different theories about this, but I think we can all agree that it’s out of control.  And why can’t I just take my own medication when I’m in the hospital?  You know, the stuff that’s already paid for at a rate I can afford AND understand.  I take my meds properly at home, but the hospital doesn’t “trust me” to do it correctly while there, so that charge gets added to my bill in some indecipherable terminology. 
 
See?  “Tweaks”.  I’m sure there are more, but these two could probably keep people busy for a while.  Imagine the savings!  Appreciate the logic!  Or overhaul the entire system, continue to ignore common sense and let our older, disabled and chronically ill citizens die while they wait for adequate care they may never receive in a new, government-run program. 
 
In a nutshell, have you noticed how well the out-of-touch, self-important politicians handle everything else they get their greedy hands on?
Exactly. 

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