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It’s time for a shake-up

July 27, 2009

by Ivan Raconteur

Even a subject as important as health care reform gets caught up in the political cesspool in Washington.

It would be amusing, if it weren’t so depressing, that some people are criticizing President Obama for imposing a deadline for health care reform.

They ask what the rush is, and say congress should take its time studying the issue.

One wonders how much time they need.

The deplorable state of the health care industry in this country did not start when Obama took office, it has been disintegrating for years.

Why do we need a deadline?

The president is right. Nothing happens without a deadline, and that is true everywhere, not just in Washington.

If it weren’t for deadlines, newspapers would never be printed. Stories would never be written, ads would never be approved, and submitted content would never quite be ready.

This is probably true in a lot of other industries, too. It is human nature.

It is no surprise that congress, the biggest herd of procrastinators around, would try to delay any action.

There are times, however, when we need our elected officials to take time out from worrying about how they are going to be reelected, and focus instead on leadership and doing what is right for their constituents.

The problem with health care in this country has nothing to do with the doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals. They are the best in the world.

Neither is it a problem with our health care facilities.

The problem with health care in this country is in the system itself.

We spend a fortune on health care, but too much of the cost goes to things that have nothing to do with making patients healthier.

To say that the system is inefficient would be a gross understatement of the facts.

The president has said that two-thirds of the cost of health care reform can be drawn from money that is already in the system, but which is not being used effectively.

This may be a conservative estimate.

A single visit to the clinic results in about a ream of paper flying around between providers, insurance companies, and patients.

We get statements, bills, “not-a-bills,” and explanations of benefits.

One needs an attorney and an accountant on staff just to decipher the mountain of paperwork and figure out what needs to be paid.

I am sure that the folks who work for insurance companies are fine people, as are the legions of men and women who work in health care administration, and I would hate to see them out of work, but it seems that we would be better off if more of our health care dollars were actually going toward health care, and not employing people to push paper around.

Maybe these people could be hired to plant trees to replace all those that have died to provide paper for the health care industry.

The really sad thing is that, even with all this paper floating back and forth, communication is not that great, and if one goes from a primary care physician to a specialist or specialists, one can’t necessarily count on everyone having the same information.

There has got to be a better way, and improving electronic medical records may be a start.

There is no excuse for anyone in a country such as ours not to have access to affordable health care.

Not only do we spend a fortune on health care at home, we send huge piles of money overseas in the form of aid to other countries.

Congress should step up and cut off all foreign aid until everyone at home has been taken care of.

Health care reform is not just about providing health care to those who do not have coverage.

It is about making health care affordable and accessible to all Americans.

More and more people are losing their insurance, either because they lose or change jobs, or because their employer can no longer afford to provide coverage.

For others, deductibles have risen so much that even those who have health insurance cannot afford to use it.

It seems that health care costs have been going up every year for decades, often by double digits.

Wages have by no means kept pace, meaning that health insurance premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses are eating up more and more of our income, and reducing our standard of living.

We don’t need debates over how many billion dollars are being wasted. We need reform now.

The time has come to put our health care system in a box and shake the box.

Whatever comes out has got to be better than the status quo.