By Bob Flynn
“Once again I am astonished by the degree the RINO Republican Establishment remains deaf to the desires of its core constituency.”
They still do not understand that if they do not deliver on healthcare, they are doomed. While the Democrats shoved it down our throats and were dishonest about it, it seems that they may have been more honest on the issue of Healthcare than the Republican Party Establishment.
Therefore, allow me to assist these so-called conservatives regarding healthcare.
First of all, the problem is not healthcare, it is healthcare access.
When I was growing up there were many free health clinics in and around NYC where the homeless, indigent, illegal alien, uninsured, etc. could go for their healthcare. Doctors and nurses donated their time and equipment, pharmaceuticals were donated as well and while the wait may have been long, someone would be seen and without financial burden.
“Then in 1986, with the firm support of Senator Ted Kennedy, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was passed, which forbade a hospital from turning away anyone from an emergency room regardless of illness and incrementally moved the country further down the road to the system of Obamacare, which is basically Socialized Medicine in all but name.
“Very simply, prior to the implementation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986, a patient coming into a hospital emergency department often had no right to treatment or even evaluation, no matter how dire his or her condition. If patients could not prove that they had the resources to pay for care, they could be turned away or sent elsewhere—sometimes in a taxi, sometimes on foot. They often suffered adverse health consequences as a result of delayed care. And sometimes they died.
Did all hospitals engage in this practice? Of course, not. Indeed, as Rick Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, puts it, “Because of the mission of so many of our hospitals, they didn’t need EMTALA to make them do the right thing in this area. Unfortunately, there were indefensible situations that led to passage of the law.”
Such a law encouraged all to go to the ER for whatever ailed them rather than sit in a free clinic. The result was that the free clinic disappeared and hospitals became over burdened with non paying customers.
The resultant moral hazards were predictable: ”David C. Seaberg, M.D., president-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians, says that for his membership, “It’s a double-edged sword. The good side is that patients with emergency conditions are being taken care of; they must have an evaluation exam and they have to be stabilized. The negative side is that EMTALA is the largest unfunded mandate [on providers] that the government has ever instituted.”
…James Hinsdale, M.D., a trauma surgeon and president of the California Medical Association, adds that it can be frustrating for a physician to treat patients who seek care in an ED under EMTALA, but who could pay something for their treatment. “Many of the people who show up at a facility that is obligated to care for them have some ability to pay. They come in the door, and there are some incongruous things accompanying them: a large chromed-out SUV that gets two miles a gallon, iPhones, GPS, other things. Yet we don’t ask them for so much as five dollars. But they seem to be able to find money for these other things. I think we need to modify that.”
Twenty-five years ago, EMTALA was signed into law, transforming health care in ways that are still being felt to…
Exacerbating the problem was the HMO system in which the doctors now went to work for the insurance company.
The cherry on top is insurance companies buying hospitals, putting the insurance company directly in charge of your health care rather than the health care professional. Finally health insurance company mergers limit competition, thereby further driving premiums up in the name of cutting expense costs.
Without understanding the past it is impossible to rectify a situation in the future. Therefore we must go back in order to go forward.
1) Repeal Obamacare completely, without a replacement. Set a sunset date 24 months out to protect those that are caught up in the quagmire. Allow any state that wants the current system, to keep it, at their own expense, without any federal assistance.
2) Ban insurance companies from employing health care professionals that deliver care to patients as well as from owning hospitals and clinics.
3) Allow all persons to have a Health Savings Account and possibly a family HSA. These accounts should not have a time limit on spending the deposits, so a young person can start saving while he/she is at low risk for medical expenses and all unused funds can be rolled over every year, thus building an HSA for their elder years when they are greater risk for higher medical expenses.
4) Allow interstate competition. I can purchase every other type of insurance across state lines, why not health insurance? And if there is no interstate commerce of the healthcare system, how does the federal government justify any federal healthcare laws?
5) The only federal mandate regarding health insurance is that the insurance company must offer ala-carte coverage. When insuring my home, business life, auto, boat, etc., I get to pick the coverage and deductible. I should be able to purchase catastrophic coverage only, electing to pay the doctor directly if I go see him in his office. My auto insurance is full coverage, but does not cover tune-ups, oil changes, or even inspections. My homeowner’s insurance may cover zombie apocalypses, but will not cover my major (or minor) appliances. A person seeking the doctor due to a scratchy throat, should pay out of pocket, thus limiting the abuse in the healthcare system.
6) In order to expedite healthcare reforms and ensure the world’s best system in the US, I propose that all Americans including all government employees and officials, whether politicians or not, be covered by the same system and that no other healthcare system be available for additional coverage. This will no doubt bring the self-styled aristocrats who run two parties together in a panic, forcing them to come up with a viable option to being treated like everyone else… perhaps by moving to Switzerland.
7) Finally, bring back the free healthcare clinic. The can be staffed mostly with healthcare students and retired professions, returning military personal and volunteers, paid for mostly by charities. Pharmaceutical companies would donate prescriptions as well as have a pool for medical studies; same for medical equipment manufacturers.
State and local municipalities may decide to use buildings that are currently abandoned or offer tax incentives to building owners that use their structures for this purpose. Further, free clinics would ensure access to those that cannot afford it as well as ease the burden on the medicaid system, while eradicating at least some of the fraud and abuse.
One word of caution: please don’t hold your breath for any of this, as Rynocare will not cover it.
Cartoon courtesy of Antonio Branco at Net Right Daily