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Old 11-15-2006, 07:49 PM
 
5,019 posts, read 12,477,901 times
Reputation: 6952

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Sorry if this has been done before (no search engine on city-data or am I just blind as a bat?).

I often get the sense that the "immigration debate" (to name one hot topic) is just smoke and shadows. An issue "designed" by the powers-that-be to keep us all from focusing on our *real* problems. Health care is just one of those problems. May we focus on that for a moment?

Here is my take: I *used* to think that healthcare was a 'liberal' concern. "Liberals" wanted universal care. Tax *everyone* and *everyone* got to see the doctor.

I would describe my self as a moderate liberal. Give to those who are truly needy. But for the love of maude, take some freakin' personal responsibility. Stop smoking. EXERCISE. Just Say NO to that second Big Mac. Geeze.

However, this is where I am truly perplexed. Very very BIG Bidnesses are now being hit by ginormously HUGE health care premium costs. And yet these very very hugenormous corporations do...NOthing. Why are the Fortune 500 Companies not banding together and ~demanding~ accountability from the Health Ins Cos (re crazy stupid ceo pay etc etc)?

Any insiders have any insight?

I'm all ears!
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:13 PM
 
1,330 posts, read 4,539,574 times
Reputation: 476
The health care system is far different than the immigration issue. IMO the immigration issue has an easier fix. The health care system is going to really need some TLC soon..

For one, it is difficult to hire and maintain registered nurses. Most RN's are 40 years old and working only part time. This is bringing out a lack of experience in a lot of fields. So nurses are being forced to work OT, or they are hiring "pool nurses" who may not be familiar with the hospital, the specialty of the floor they are on, or the policies of the organization they are working for.

Combine that with less people entering the career and you can see why this country is headed for a severe nursing shortage. (I am an RN, stay at home mom for now)

When you have overloaded, exhausted and/or inexperienced nurses working in your hospital mistakes happen. Sometimes they are minor, noone gets hurt. Others are major and people die. Same motto goes for residents and doctors, but since I am a nurse I will stick to nursing issues.

What happens next? The nurse, doctor and hospital get sued in court. Maybe they will pull in the pharmacist and a few other people for good measure. A settlement is reached, lets say 5 million for a wrongful death malpractice suit.

The hospital pays. The insurance companies pay. The hospital's premiums go up. Sometimes a good nurse who made a bad mistake gets fired.

In the end, the people that are paying for this litigation are the ones next in line to use the hospital's services.

When an orthopaedic doc pays 60K in insurance who really pays it first? his patients. So now instead of an office visit being 50 dollars it is 120. Everything he charges is going to be that much more.

Same goes for in the hospital. If they get hit with a suit and lose financially, they are going to have to charge more for beds. They have lawyers to maintain, administration, billing people, malpractice insurance, health/disability insurance on their employees, basic salaries and overhead, cost of medications is astronomical, supplies etc..it is mindboggling how expensive it is to run a hospital.

All those costs get handed down to you, the consumer. Or your health insurance company if you are one of the lucky Americans who still has coverage. And most who have "coverage" I cringe when I hear their premiums and their "benefits"

When that hospital has to pay 80 bucks an hour to hire a pool nurse because they are short staffed those costs get handed right down to you in some way. Same for the mandatory OT, which in some areas you are looking at paying each nurse 40 dollars an hour for OT, sometimes more.

I know to many people it seems like the hospitals are making out like the oil companies but indeed they are not. Many are struggling just to get by. Many are in need of upgrades or new equipment and the only way they can do that is to charge more for their services.

Interesting info: I worked for the only hospital in MA (2003) working "in the black"... there was just 1!

At the same time I worked for a charity hospital who was funded by donations of Shriners and of the community. They did not bill insurance and took no money from patients. During the 3+ years I worked there there were less errors, less nurses leaving their jobs or getting injured, FAR less errors (and none were life threatening) and overwhelmingly better patient care.

I hope this sheds some light from the other side of the fence.
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:35 PM
 
Location: N.H.
1,022 posts, read 3,149,590 times
Reputation: 453
Quote:
Originally Posted by winnie View Post
The health care system is far different than the immigration issue. IMO the immigration issue has an easier fix. The health care system is going to really need some TLC soon..

For one, it is difficult to hire and maintain registered nurses. Most RN's are 40 years old and working only part time. This is bringing out a lack of experience in a lot of fields. So nurses are being forced to work OT, or they are hiring "pool nurses" who may not be familiar with the hospital, the specialty of the floor they are on, or the policies of the organization they are working for.

Combine that with less people entering the career and you can see why this country is headed for a severe nursing shortage. (I am an RN, stay at home mom for now)

When you have overloaded, exhausted and/or inexperienced nurses working in your hospital mistakes happen. Sometimes they are minor, noone gets hurt. Others are major and people die. Same motto goes for residents and doctors, but since I am a nurse I will stick to nursing issues.

What happens next? The nurse, doctor and hospital get sued in court. Maybe they will pull in the pharmacist and a few other people for good measure. A settlement is reached, lets say 5 million for a wrongful death malpractice suit.

The hospital pays. The insurance companies pay. The hospital's premiums go up. Sometimes a good nurse who made a bad mistake gets fired.

In the end, the people that are paying for this litigation are the ones next in line to use the hospital's services.

When an orthopaedic doc pays 60K in insurance who really pays it first? his patients. So now instead of an office visit being 50 dollars it is 120. Everything he charges is going to be that much more.

Same goes for in the hospital. If they get hit with a suit and lose financially, they are going to have to charge more for beds. They have lawyers to maintain, administration, billing people, malpractice insurance, health/disability insurance on their employees, basic salaries and overhead, cost of medications is astronomical, supplies etc..it is mindboggling how expensive it is to run a hospital.

All those costs get handed down to you, the consumer. Or your health insurance company if you are one of the lucky Americans who still has coverage. And most who have "coverage" I cringe when I hear their premiums and their "benefits"

When that hospital has to pay 80 bucks an hour to hire a pool nurse because they are short staffed those costs get handed right down to you in some way. Same for the mandatory OT, which in some areas you are looking at paying each nurse 40 dollars an hour for OT, sometimes more.

I know to many people it seems like the hospitals are making out like the oil companies but indeed they are not. Many are struggling just to get by. Many are in need of upgrades or new equipment and the only way they can do that is to charge more for their services.

Interesting info: I worked for the only hospital in MA (2003) working "in the black"... there was just 1!

At the same time I worked for a charity hospital who was funded by donations of Shriners and of the community. They did not bill insurance and took no money from patients. During the 3+ years I worked there there were less errors, less nurses leaving their jobs or getting injured, FAR less errors (and none were life threatening) and overwhelmingly better patient care.

I hope this sheds some light from the other side of the fence.
Wow that's alot of info but it makes sence. Did you work in the Childrens hospital? Shriners do so much good. I never miss their circus it isn't that good but it goes to a good cause.
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Old 11-15-2006, 08:41 PM
 
5,019 posts, read 12,477,901 times
Reputation: 6952
Winnie,
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. You mention malpractice insurance...so it all goes back to the insurance industry. Very interesting.

Would love to hear form others. Especially those "in the trenches" (dr.s and nurses) those IN the health ins. industy annnd those in the HR/benefits dept of major corps.

Senario thought:
What would happen if the Fortune 500 banded together and...self-insured???
What would happen to the health ins. industry and health care in general?
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:21 PM
 
1,330 posts, read 4,539,574 times
Reputation: 476
The core of the problem really goes back to needing some tort reform. Between the lawyers and the insurance companies things have really gone awry in the health care field.

When the studies came out that linked delivery problems with Cerebral Palsy it was game over. The lawsuits in OBGYN are horrendous, now women are getting Caesarian sections left and right which is going to land us in a whole different world of hurt in the next 10 years if the defensive medicine keeps up.

We need to allow the doctors to stop playing defensive medicine, stop requiring them to do 1000 dollar tests on people who don't need them, allow them to make their own judgements free from the opressive eye of the health insurance companies, free from constant fear of a career ending suit. And we need nurses to have proper nurse to patient ratios, proper orientation to their floors and specialties! Too many times a new nurse will get thrown out there to the wolves. While some think it is an adrenaline rush to get that much responsibility, others (including myself) think it is a disservice to the patient.

This is not to say that people should have no right to seek a lawyer to try to get compensation if they have been injured by a doctor, but the frivilous lawsuits are out there big time. They are costing us money!

At the local hospital I was threatened by a patient that if I did not allow her husband to sleep IN BED with her post surgery that she was going to sue me. I was threatened by another patient that if he did not have his pain meds in 10 minutes he was going to have me fired (he was not due for any meds and was in no pain)...and the sad part is I actually believed these people. That was just in one night BTW. These were not jokes the one lady was calling home telling her family to look up a lawyer. My floor supervisor was kind enough to show her our policy that prohibited family from sleeping in the room and thankfully that changed her tune a little.

NHnut - yes I worked at the Shriner's in Springfield. They are a very special group of people - both staff and patients. If I could drive 3 hours each way to work I would still be working for them.
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 594,776 times
Reputation: 175
Hi,

I don't think there's anything "liberal" about universal health insurance. In the insurance game it's always better to have a larger covered population to distribute risk and lower the margin of error in actuarial tables. And when you consider that today the insured are absorbing all the costs of the uninsured, a universal health insurance system would provide that the uninsured are at least paying something instead of nothing.

But the health care system will never get fixed. It's a circular scheme. People are insured by their employers. Employers pay premiums to insurance companies. Insurance companies invest those premiums in the market, which -- you guessed it -- shores up the share price of employers. Employers pay more premiums....the cycle repeats.

Insurance companies and pension funds are the largest players in the market, so take the insurance cos out of the picture and what happens? The market takes a dive. That's why employers don't bleat too loud, try to take them out by self-insuring, or allow the government to compete as an insurer.

The whole sad affair is like watching a heroin addict getting his hourly fix.
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Old 11-16-2006, 11:32 AM
 
11,586 posts, read 17,526,123 times
Reputation: 17271
Actually the auto industry was talking real loud in congress this week about health care costs. Health care cost the big 3 more than any other factor in building a car - more than steel, more than electronics, more than transportation. They were begging congress for some kind of health care reform.

I don't think universal health care coverage, the creation of just another government controlled socialized welfare system, is the answer. I would rather not have to wait 6 months for someone to xray my colon as happens in Canada.

I don't think immigration has anything to do with the health care debate except of course that medical care for illegal immigrants drives up health care costs for everyone.
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Old 11-16-2006, 12:11 PM
 
5,019 posts, read 12,477,901 times
Reputation: 6952
Quote:
They were begging congress for some kind of health care reform.
Yes,and I am hoping that when some of these captains of industry stand up to our elected officials and demand a ~working~ health care system, that we will finally see some action on that front. Really, all I want is the same health plan as the guy I just elected to congress. Is that asking too much???

Quote:
I would rather not have to wait 6 months for someone to xray my colon as happens in Canada
Are you Candadian? (if not I would like to hear about the Canadian plan form some Canadians...anyone?)

Quote:
I don't think immigration has anything to do with the health care debate
Uh.....no the "immigration debate" is just one of those current *hot topic* that seem to keep us (US citizens) from focusing on *real* issues that impact everyone of us, every day.


Quote:
medical care for illegal immigrants drives up health care costs for everyone.
Got stats on that?
Here I was blaming the big insurance companies, smokers, and fat people.... ;P
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Old 11-16-2006, 01:57 PM
 
11,586 posts, read 17,526,123 times
Reputation: 17271
You ask, you get...

Very quick stats to back up my argument based on very quick yahoo searches:


ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT HEALTH CARE:
**http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/...rce=r_health**

"In California, home to possibly 40 percent of the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, taxpayers have spent an average of $957 million a year since 2001 to pay for emergency care for illegals, the state reported."

** http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/12/26/170334.shtml** (broken link)

"A study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated that in 2004 the annual uncompensated cost of medical care for illegal immigrants in California was $1.4 billion. Total uncompensated educational, health care and incarceration costs were estimated to be 10.5 billion. Care is frequently provided to illegal immigrants by emergency rooms and is provided when a crisis exists rather than as preventive practice. Both phenomena add to the high cost of health care."

CANADA WAIT TIMES
***http://canadaonline.about.com/od/healthcarecanada/a/waittimes.htm*** (broken link)
"Long wait times for access to certain surgeries and diagnostic procedures have been a growing problem of the Canadian health care system"

***http://www.canada.com/topics/news/na...8f9f&k=8964***
"Long wait times is the No. 1 barrier for those having difficulties getting health care, according to a new report by Statistics Canada released Tuesday."
Not sure if quoting articles is allowed in this forum.

By the way the "colon" example was just that, nothing wrong with my colon.
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 594,776 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I don't think universal health care coverage, the creation of just another government controlled socialized welfare system, is the answer. I would rather not have to wait 6 months for someone to xray my colon as happens in Canada.

Hi,

Where's the welfare? The government is the underwriter for the risk. The premiums are paid by citizens. If anything the current corporatized health insurance system is a welfare scheme, funded entirely by those who pay premiums on behalf of those who don't.

And making the government the underwriter doesn't mean it owns the facilities or pays the docs. Hospitals stay as they are today, docs work the way they do today. The one difference is that they actually get reimbursed for the procedures they have to absorb for the uninsured.

A subtle but important difference: universal health coverage doesn't mean socialized medicine.

Last edited by FistFightingHairdresser; 11-16-2006 at 02:36 PM..
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