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Obamacare

I stopped by the grocery store tonight on the way home from clinic. I usually don’t take off my white coat until I get home. But I’m not about to wear my white coat and stethoscope around in the grocery store. So I got out of my car, took of the coat and scope, and tossed it back in the car.

Perhaps he didn’t see the white coat. But as I walked towards the door the man at the table yelled out to me, “Sir, petition to repeal Obamacare!.”

I walked over to see what it was all about. I’m not posting for or against the healthcare policies that were just put into place. What I am writing about is this guy’s reasons for the petition.

He summed it up this way (paraphrased):

What it comes down to is this: We weren’t allowed to vote on it. It was just shoved down our throats. They just shoved healthcare at us whether we want it or not.

 
I couldn’t help but smile. THAT is what it all comes down to?!? I looked at this obese man, likely a smoker, who would be old enough for medicare in 10-15 years. Clearly he hasn’t taken good care of himself. And he doesn’t want healthcare shoved down his throat? Who has to deal with all the chronic conditions due to his poor life choices and lack of preventive care when it all comes crashing down in his older years?

To be honest, I don’t know the details of the massive healthcare bill that was passed. And I probably disagree with many parts and agree with others.

But one thing it does push is preventive care at the primary care level. And I’m all for that.

Why are people against being given healthcare? I don’t get it.

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Celebs Speak Out: Protect American Insurance Companies

If you live in America and haven’t been a hermit for the past few months you will surely have heard about this whole healthcare debate. Here are some celebrities who are speaking out urging us to protect insurance companies (satire). The celebrities include Jon Hamm, Will Ferrel, and Olivia Wilde who have all joined to collaborate with Funny Or Die.

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On a side note, I had a lecture today where the lecturer said that he doesn’t believe there is an answer to our healthcare problems. Government’s solution is to try something we aren’t doing and see if it works. He noted that in the UK, there is also a healthcare debate with the National Health Service (NHS) and the British government is inviting American insurance companies to discuss ways to try something different (more like the American system) which will allow people to opt out of NHS coverage. Food for thought…

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Medical Tourism? Insurance may pay — MSNBC.com

Reference: MSNBC.com: Hip surgery in India? Insurance may pay

In the past few months I’ve been hearing about this medical tourism thing. It sounds really cool — maybe even exotic, doesn’t it? You go see the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, and stop by the local medical center for a tummy tuck, face lift, and skin peel. It gives the notion of someone coming back with that “vacation look” a whole new meaning.

If you read the article, the American medical experts warn that this isn’t the safest option. They feel that the United States is the place to receive some of the top healthcare in the world (in terms of quality, not price). And I’m inclined to believe them.

It’s rather sad that so many Americans are forced to seek healthcare outside our borders. It just illustrates how badly things have become.

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Wal-Mart and Healthcare

I’ve been hearing a lot about these quick-stop clinics staffed by nurse practitioners. I hear about them in the news or read about them online. They seem to be on the east coast or midwest. Or maybe I’m just not paying any attention to them here locally.

As someone going into a medical career, this is somewhat discouraging. I don’t see how a family physician can compete against an NP based solely on costs. It seems like the scope of nursing just keeps getting expanded more and more. I’m sure the nurses are elated about this. And their paychecks continue to rise as they get more specialized.

I don’t think we need to go back to the days were the doctors were kings of their wards and nurses stood whenever one came in the room. But I do think that scope of practice of nurses and doctors cannot overlap too much. Because let’s face it, the nurses will always be able to offer their services at lower costs. And, more often than not, they (nurses) have less debt coming out of school.

Amy from RNCentral.com sent me this post titled 20 Surprising Ways Wal-Mart Clinics Will Affect US Healthcare. It’s a good read discussing the pros and cons of Wal-Mart entering the health service industry by opening up clinics at their stores.

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Healthcare Comparisons

Well it looks like the Democratic nomination just keeps getting more complicated by the minute. Last night Clinton pulled off some victories in Texas, Rhode Island, and Ohio. A while back (in a post titled Hillary Healthcare 2.0)I wrote about the healthcare plan proposed by Hillary. My intention was to highlight the plan so that others who are interested in medicine might get a clearer picture of this. I had hoped to do a comparison of all the major candidates.

Well it looks like some other people have done the work for me. I found this site: Health08.org. It had all the candidates and what the proposed (as far as healthcare is concerned). Now, they only list McCain, Clinton, and Obama since they are the only ones left in the race. So just keep in mind that the site changes as the political landscape does. So if you’re reading this 10 years from now, they probably won’t have anything left.

Hope it helps for everyone getting ready for the November elections.

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It Left Me Feeling… SICKO

SICKO
Courtesy of MichaelMoore.com

I guess I’m slow. I’ve heard that before. But I finally got to see Michael Moore’s documentary on the American Healthcare System. This was my very first Michael Moore documentary. I didn’t watch bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11.

Prior to watching this film I thought that Michael Moore was pretty obnoxious. Not that I’ve ever met the guy. He just came across that way to me. He seemed confrontational. But maybe you need to be that way to produce an effective documentary.

Throughout the film, Michael Moore introduces the audience to various Americans. We get to meet them and find out about their difficulties in the system of medicine that Americans seem to have accepted.

As a documentary about the atrocities of the American healthcare system, one would expect to see the negatives. And Mr. Moore does not fail to deliver. He presents one tear-jerking story after another and with his sarcasm points out how broken our system really is.

At one point he brings a group of Americans who have health problems resulting from their work at Ground Zero of on 9/11. These rescue workers had many problems that they just could not afford to deal with back home. Moore took them to Cuba where they were treated free of charge.

I consider this film to be an argument for Universal Healthcare. As an argument, I didn’t expect an unbiased view. Even so, Michael Moore did point out some of his critics. And one can easily find the opposing viewpoints with a quick Google search.

Without getting into a debate about the merits or pitfalls of universal medicine, I previously wrote that there are two entities that keep America from going the route of universal healthcare. Those two are (1) doctors and (2) Big Pharma. (see my post: Reforming the U.S. Healthcare System for more).

Overall, I think it was an excellent film for anyone interested in healthcare in America. Is it a good generalization of the state of things in this country? I don’t know. My mother had cancer a couple years ago and was very well taken care of by her insurance (not going to name them, but the founder is briefly mentioned in the film). Maybe my mom was the exception and not the norm? I just haven’t been in and around the hospital system to know. Nevertheless, the film does offer one viewpoint and its probably that we should take a look at.

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Hillary Healthcare 2.0

Related Posts: Reforming the U.S. Healthcare System

In the January 8, 2008 New Hampshire Primary, Sen. Clinton edged her opponent Sen. Obama by just 3 percent. With Clinton’s recent New Hampshire win following Obama’s strong showing in Iowa, the race is anything but decided.

How will the 2008 Presidential Elections affect the American healthcare scene? Should Hillary win the November Presidential Election, what can we expect?

According to Hillary Clinton’s own website, her plan, which she calls the American Health Choices Plan, would cover each and every single American and will improve “healthcare by lowering costs and improving quality.”

So far, it sounds like an excellent idea.

The Hillary Plan is has five objectives. Again, from her website, they are:

  1. Offer New Coverage Choices for the Insured and Uninsured.
  2. Lower Premiums and Increase Security
  3. Promote Shared Responsibility
  4. Ensure Affordable Health Coverage For All
  5. [Be] A Fiscally Responsible Plan That Honors Our Priorities.

Who could be against such a plan? It’s definitely an ambitious plan. Is it too ambitious? From what I’ve heard, it has been toned down a lot since HillaryCare, the plan Senator Clinton was pushing for in 1992.

One of the things she hopes to do is to guarantee access to healthcare coverage. Under this plan “insurers must offer coverage to anyone who applies and pays their premium” and furthermore, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Fabulous, no?

I just wonder how she intends to do this. Ask nicely? I doubt it. This would have to be mandated by federal law. And will the industry kindly step back without sending their lobbyists in?

Usually, a tipping point must be reached before significant change can happen. If Americans are fed up with the current situation, and their congressional representative are in tune with their constituents, maybe this is possible. I hope that is the case. I also worry that I’m just being optimistic or that I am underestimating the resolve of corporations to keep making money.

The objectives are noble. Coverage for all. Budget savings for the federal government. Tax breaks that will help the working person afford healthcare. Guaranteed coverage.

But HillaryCare 2.0, as some have started to call it, is not without its critics. They claim that this is just socialized medicine repackaged for an American audience.

If, come Inauguration Day, we begin to say Madame President, Hillary Clinton can begin trying to implement her plan.

Details of the plan can be found at HillaryClinton.com.