Something must be done

August 31, 2009

by Kristen Miller

Since I have such a high health insurance deductible, I knew my recent trip to the doctor was going to cost me a pretty penny – never did I guess, upon opening the bill, it would bring me to tears (on my birthday, no less).

The health care debate is just that – a debate. No one really knows what the proposed plan will do, other than raise taxes. What I wonder is, do people really want to know?

It was announced on CBS Evening News that the nation’s debt is now more than 50 percent of the country’s economic output, which is the first time since World War II.

Big surprise! Did we forget we’ve been fighting two wars for the past eight years and there is a mortgage crisis that has helped lead the economy on an economic down swing?

The proposed health care reform will undoubtedly need to be paid for somehow.

What I’m wondering is, where are the other ideas? People complain about things they hardly understand, yet they can’t come up with a better alternative.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know something needs to change.

Going to the doctor, I had no idea what that visit was going to cost me.

Sure, I was told they were going to run some tests, but as far as how many and how much they would cost me, I was not informed.

After recieving my bill, I called the clinic about the tests and the cost of my visit. The billing clerk told me it was what the doctor felt was necessary.

Isn’t that what we do when we walk into the doctor’s office, leave our bodies in their hands? Along with our pocket books, apparently.

In a way, I feel slighted because I was blind-sided as to what that one visit was going to cost me.

Since it is my body and my money, shouldn’t I know what the doctor will be doing and how much it will cost me?

It’s like bringing my car to the mechanic.

Before they do work on it, they tell me what the damage is and how much I will have to pay for it. Then, if I choose to fix it, I will give them the go-ahead.

Maybe something health care reform should include is a cost analysis with each doctor’s visit.

Now I know why people don’t go to the doctor unless they feel death is at their door. I guess this is a lesson I will keep in mind, unless there is some serious health care reform.

The Star Tribune also announced Wednesday Tim Pawlenty’s idea to give a $47 million state grant to help reduce obesity and smoking.

According to the Star Tribune, “the grant will help finance such projects as replacing pop with healthier drinks in public park vending machines, encouraging apartment buildings to voluntarily go smoke-free, figuring out how schools can open gyms to the public in off hours, and helping businesses promote walking and biking for employees.”

The grant – which is paid for through fees paid to the state by doctors, dentists, health plans and providers – is expected to reduce health care spending by $1.9 billion by 2015.

I’m all about advocating healthy living, but I think the governor’s forgotten that it’s a lifestyle people choose, and grant money isn’t likely to change that.

For those people who would like to be informed before making an opinion on the proposed health care reform, visit www.healthreform.gov.