Monday, September 07, 2009


I've been looking at all these different arguments for and against the public option in the forthcoming Health Care bill. Frankly, I don't get all the drama. The details have been pointed out to us in numerous articles and the whole document is available online.

I guess the point is, you'll see what you want to see. If you're looking for the evil that the insurance companies told you was there, you'll look until you find something that fits your needs. Pretty simple really.

Health-care reform may be defeated this year because people have no faith in the government achieving anything. As if our American government has yet to prove itself worthy of running a program such as healthcare.

And yet more than 60 percent of people in [government-run] Medicare rate it a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. Quite astonishing really. And those with private policies? Less than 40% gave theirs such high numbers. So someone's not happy.

Truth is, we already have what the private insurance lobby calls socialist programs. Our Police, Fire and Public School systems are all single payer. Just the concept that frightens the bejesus out of the Tea Party folks. But the system works. Just don't point it out when someone is yelling at you about the "death panels".

The truth is that government, for all its flaws, manages to do some things right, so that today few people doubt the wisdom of public police or firefighters. And the government has a particularly
good record in medical care.

One article in the NY Times mentioned "The track record of the government with the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more "socialized medicine" than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effective elements in the American medical establishment."

Now if only Congress took notice of this success story, it would be a major step toward improving the quality of care across the U.S. health care system. But as I stated before, you have to want to change the system for the better. When you are beholden to the Insurance and Pharma Industries due to decades of campaign contributions, you tend to block reform that would diminish their profits.

The President is expected to have an impact on the Health Care debacle this Wednesday night when he addresses the joint houses of Congress. Let's hope there are more answers than questions.


bus said...

Nice post. health care is a gigantic subject.

Anonymous said...

First, nice comments about Kathy. That was very thoughtful.
Second, I think it's good to have this conversation on the local level but with a more informed electorate. I have seen the angry mobs on TV. I dont want to be anywhere near such events, so I wont get to see or hear any of my elected officials speak on this issue because I am concerned that there will be yelling over my head.

7:15 mentions it is a gigantic subject. That is correct. But if something doesn't change, the current system, is destined to fail in just a few years. The VA treated my uncle very well. I would like to see that level of care when I get sick. If that's the government run option they speak of, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

Every one points to Medicare as a successful public program. One thing to remember is Medicare pays 80% of a medical bill, the patient pays the rest. Medicare controls what service you can have and what doctor or facility you can go to for the service. The one good thing about it is workers pay into the system all their working days until they retire at 65 or now 67. Also don't forget the $98 a month retiress pay for Medicare part B and the cost keeps escalating. Just some info. By the way the reason people are up in arms over health care reform is because no one, including the President, have been able to explain the PLAN???????????

Anonymous said...

If the VA system is so great, how do you explain the debacle of care for our returning vets from Iraq and Afghanistan? In some cases they get basic care after discharge and then are left to fend for themselves in communities that have no VA hospital or clinic near them. Worse yet, they downplay the Vets diagnosis. Remember the mildew and mold rooms that soldiers were relegated to in a VA hospital? I believe it was Walter Reid?? Also,it is distressing to hear in the case of VA officials stating that they underestimated the amount of medical needs of returning Vets and they are still playing catch up to address their physical and mental health needs. Is this the type of system you want to have your medical care needs addressed? Always trying to catch up? Is this when they start to prioritize care? And the last statement out of the mouths of politicians in Washington was that the Medicare was in serious trouble going into the future in that it might run out of funds.These are all government run programs.
I personally want a better clarification of how EXACTLY a healthcare program will be run(no legalese) and have it explained in every day language before I will let my government officials decide on my medical future. I also want to see how they will address Mental health issues when it comes to hospitalization and outpatient clinics.
Also the statment by 9:06 is correct in medicare reimbursment and in authorizing surgical procedures. If the surgery you need is not on the list of Medicare approved surgery you are denied. There is no appeal. In a private insurance company you can make an appeal if you are initially denied and speak with a human. No human involved with medicare. Only procedure codes(CPT) and diagnosis codes(ICDM-9). You are only a number.

Anonymous said...

Since the President is finally going to address this issue tonight, I will reserve my judgement until I hear more.
With all the frenzy chatter about socialism, death panels, and quotes from Sarah Palin, I think calm review is the better plan. Lets listen tonight.

Anonymous said...


Walter Reede Medical Center is an Army hospital, and is not part of the VA system! It's a completly different agency.

The VA hospital in Albany saved my father's life, and is a wonderful example of what the healthcare system in the United States could be if only we had the political will.

Brian J. Woltman

Anonymous said...

No mention of the million dollar plus bailout of Jordan - he has a illegal not up to code street and you vote for the City (who can't take care of what we have)to take it over?

Anonymous said...

6:26, aren't there other Blogs running stories on "Good Ol Boy" dealings in Kingston? I'm surprised Mike publishes comments so off subject.

I didn't see your comments on Andi Turco's Blog when she featured the Westbrook Lane take over. What gives?

Anonymous said...

4:36 The last I heard, the Army was part of the American government. So I made a mistake stating that it was in the VA system. My bad, but it doesn't excuse the deplorable conditions in the WAlter Reid Hospital under the government's watch. And if I heard the President correctly last night the government is going to play a role in the healthcare of American citizens.

Still the VA has not fully recognized the many medical & mental health issues of returning Vets from the wars.(iraq & afghanistan) That concerns me since the government will be overseeing many aspects of the healthcare and if they don't have a handle on the Veterans Administration how can we expect them to handle a larger population.