Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Plot Thickens

So it seems I am going to need more time to show the wasteful spending of our tax dollars. It is not as easy as I thought to get a detailed account for the money. Funny since it is our hard earned cash that is being used. Perhaps I am looking in the wrong place and one of you can help me. It seems a lot has happened since my last post. I am sorry for the delay, but life happens. Sotomayor is officially a judge, and I wish her luck. I hope that she can help move this country in a positive way. Of course the big debate at the moment is health care reform. I am lucky enough to have insurance. It is good insurance, but they do frustrate me. I have to see a specialist and have a procedure done. Although there are doctors nearby who could do the work, my insurance does not cover these doctors, so I have to take a five hour round trip to have the work done. This costs me a lot of money in gas, and a lot of time. Other people have no insurance at all, and I feel for them. I have talked to people who have referenced the U.S. Armed Forces, and how they have government ran health care. I reply to them to go find a veteran who has used a Veterans Affairs Hospital. They will all tell you the same thing, "It is some of the worst health care I have ever had, but the price is right." If this is how we treat the people who have defended our country, then why would we want it for the entire nation? I will not debate that reform is needed. Money is wasted everyday by doctors who order unnecessary tests and surgeries, like my wife when she hurt her back, has had her tubes tied and just finished her menstrual cycle and the doctor wanted a pregnancy test anyway. People should be able to choose what doctors they want to see. Not have a private company choose for them. And if treatment is needed, they should receive it, not let some person that only cares about the money decide. I have said before that this is a country built on greed, and health care is just another example. Things that are needed for the health and safety of humanity should not be ran for profit. If it is, then you get HMO's telling you no when they should be saying yes. You get prisons paying their officers minimum wage and cramming their prisons full, and then we are left wondering how the inmates escaped. France seems to have the best program going in the world. After all, the World Health Organization ranked them #1. The good ol' U.S. came in #37. France's system is a mixture of private and public funding that is very complex, so I will only tell you the basics. The french can see any doctor and specialist they want. The doctors, many of whom are self-employed can prescribe any medical care the doctor feels is necessary. The statistics have shown that this program is working. Here are some statistics for you:

France's infant death rate is 3.9 per 1,000 live births, compared with 7 in the U.S.
The average life expectancy is 79.4 years, two years more than in the U.S.
The country has far more hospital beds and doctors per capita than America
Far lower rates of death from diabetes and heart disease
The difference in deaths from respiratory disease, an often preventable form of mortality, is particularly striking: 31.2 per 100,000 people in France, vs. 61.5 per 100,000 in the U.S.
65% of French citizens express satisfaction with their system, compared with 40% of U.S. residents
France spends just 10.7% of its gross domestic product on health care, while the U.S. lays out 16%, more than any other nation

But the system is not perfect. There has been health care inflation, resulting in the rise of taxes. This is something that we would have to deal with if wee had a government ran health care system. Prices of things will go up, and to adjust accordingly, taxes will go up too. An easy way to deal with the problem would be to put a cap on how much a doctor can charge, because different people see different prices. A person with medicare can watch the government charged almost double what a person with insurance is charged, because the doctor knows the government is not watching and will not scoff at the bill.

"To grasp how the French system works, think about Medicare for the elderly in the U.S., then expand that to encompass the entire population. French medicine is based on a widely held value that the healthy should pay for care of the sick. Everyone has access to the same basic coverage through national insurance funds, to which every employer and employee contributes. The government picks up the tab for the unemployed who cannot gain coverage through a family member.
But the french system is much more generous to its entire population than the U.S. is to its seniors. Unlike with Medicare, there are no deductibles, just modest co- payments that are dismissed for the chronically ill. Additionally, almost all French buy supplemental insurance, similar to Medigap, which reduces their out-of-pocket costs and covers extra expenses such as private hospital rooms, eyeglasses, and dental care. In France, the sicker you get, the less you pay. Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, and critical surgeries, such as a coronary bypass, are reimbursed at 100%. Cancer patients are treated free of charge. Patients suffering from colon cancer, for instance, can receive Genentech Inc.'s Avastin without charge. In the U.S., a patient may pay $48,000 a year. France particularly excels in prenatal and early childhood care. Since 1945 the country has built a widespread network of thousands of health-care facilities, called Protection Maternelle et Infantile (PMI), to ensure that every mother and child in the country receives basic preventive care. Children are evaluated by a team of private-practice pediatricians, nurses, midwives, psychologists, and social workers. When parents fail to bring their children in for regular checkups, social workers are dispatched to the family home. Mothers even receive a financial incentive for attending their pre- and post-natal visits. To make all this affordable, France reimburses its doctors at a far lower rate than U.S. physicians would accept. However, French doctors don't have to pay back their crushing student loans because medical school is paid for by the state, and malpractice insurance premiums are a tiny fraction of the $55,000 a year and up that many U.S. doctors pay. That $55,000 equals the average yearly net income for French doctors, a third of what their American counterparts earn. Then again, the French government pays two-thirds of the social security tax for most French physicians—a tax that's typically 40% of income. Specialists who have spent at least four years practicing in a hospital are free to charge what they want, and some charge upwards of $675 for a single consultation. But American-style compensation is rare. "There is an unspoken and undefined limit to what you can charge," says Dr. Paul Benfredj, a gastroenterologist in Paris."
Thanks to BusinessWeek for supplying me with the statistics and the part in quotations. without their article, I would never have learned about the French system and how good it seems to be, although like I said not perfect. So here is the Democrats choice to change the way America does it. First they need to stop pointing fingers at the Republicans. They control the White House and Congress. They can pass whatever they want without the Republicans being able to stand in their way. The problem lies in that they are not able to reach an agreement that the whole party can agree to. The Republicans on the other hand need to stop being such a hindrance and realize that change is needed in this country. If the Democrats have a good idea, and I am not saying they have one yet, try agreeing to it. This party line stuff has gone on too long, and cost the country too much. You work for us, so do something to help the American people. That comment goes for both sides. President Obama, you promised change. Give it to us in a way we can agree with. This is not just your country, this is ours. Look at the polls, letters, emails, phone calls, etc. and hear the people. See what it is that we want, and then see to it that it gets done. You work for us, not us for you.

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