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How the Health Care Revolution Will Play Out

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Right now, you’ve been brainwashed by the Republican onslaught of claims about death panels and the government takeover of health care. Regardless that those claims are pure malarkey designed by a buzzword/brainwash consultant, there will be a change in health care in America and it won’t come from the Republicans or the Democrats. It will come because you can’t afford the health care we get and you are being screwed with poor resultants. Remember that we spend 17% of all of our money on health care. That’s right. When you add in what we spend on the Pentagon and Social Security, if you can find some places to cut spending, you will see it makes no difference at all in the greater scheme of things.

There will be a tax increase. Period. There will be cuts to the Pentagon budget, and that means places like Virginia, Pennsylvania, Texas, and California will take big hits. (The termination of the Joint Force Services Command is a right first step in this direction. Sorry, Virginia, there is no pot of gold we can rob.) It means there will need to be cuts in health care costs — and, if you let the noisemakers cut the proposed health care plan, our debt will escalate dramatically. We need to get everyone covered and treated in a routine fashion, cutting out emergency care, which is among the most expensive modalities in our system. You want more care, pay for it yourself. We need to get the most care for the most people for the least dollars. And, that is the job for our government.

If you check to see where the Chamber of Commerce — trying to claim it’s for the little guys — got the bulk of its money, it was from the Association of Health Insurance Plans. Yep, that’s small business. I do know the local chamber is generally comprised of small firms, but the national version is into big things, the little guy be damned. And, they are really on your side they are the owners of the real death panels. “I’m sorry, that operation is too expensive. No can do…I’m sorry Matilda that you have had leukemia under remission for the past twenty-two years, but that breast cancer problem just put you over your $ 1 million lifetime benefit. We don’t pay anything more than that ever.”

The doctors’ fees have to drop. Medicare has made the first step in this deal, cutting the pay for specialists. The pay scale has been determined for years by specialists to the detriment of our GP’s and family physicians. Yes, there are more years of study and practice to be a surgeon. But, not enough to merit the thrice compensation they receive. Yes, good people will get paid more — that’s a fact that needs to be encouraged. But, not when an anesthesiologist can make four times the salary of an internist — that’s a heck of a multiple for waking up early. Just like corporate America has balked at the fees lawyers have been siphoning from the till — and finally winning — we need to do the same for doctors.

We will have more visits with nurse practitioners (NP). These highly qualified individuals are as good as physicians in diagnosis and management. At 1/3 the cost! Don’t believe me? There are plenty of studies. The newest one is in this month’s (OK, December’s) Journal of Advanced Nursing. Sure, this study is from Canada, where one may wait months to see an orthopedic surgeon (orthopod). (But, before you knee jerk your answer, consider this: how long have you waited to see a specialist in America? My friend just waited four months to see a specialist, and she has great insurance. So, it happens everywhere. Back to the facts.) The NP provided the same diagnosis as the orthopod in 100% of the 177 patients assessed. Moreover, 74% were happy to see the NP instead of the orthopod, and 96% were satisfied with the treatment modality and assessment. I could go on — 91% understood the NP’s assessment more clearly than when the orthopod explained the issues. The fact of the matter is that this is one of the proper ways to treat more people with quicker care at lower costs.

Join THAT bandwagon, please.

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