Wow! Today’s healthcare conundrum. In my growing-up years on our Wisconsin farm, I had chicken pox, whooping cough, measles, mumps and bad bumps. Doctor Doughty was immediately there. All medical bills were handled directly between Dad and the provider of the care. It was all handled even with our limited cash flow.
After World War II, this all changed. Healthcare has grown into an unaffordable, complicated system fueled by big-money interests. It seems that the best care is too often available only to those with the money to pay for it.
We have thousands of insurance companies who all negotiate different prices with different customers for different plans. The billing gets really messy. About 30 percent of every healthcare dollar spent in this multi-payer system goes into the administration, paperwork and profits. It is very confusing and inefficient.
Interestingly, under our “universal healthcare” banner, are “socialized medicine” and “single payer” systems. Socialized medicine means the government owns the hospitals and employs all employees and physicians. Examples of socialized medicine in the U.S. are the Veteran’s Administration; the Indian Health Services; and the Prison Health System. In the single-payer system, all the bills are paid through a single entity. Our Medicare System is a perfect example.
So, where are we today? Good question. I do know this. Last week a lady came into a local hospital with an untreated cancer. Her mother had had the same thing and ran up thousands of dollars in bills that haunted and nagged her ‘til she died. The daughter wanted to avoid all that. She chose to ignore early diagnosis and treatment. She now has just a few weeks to live.
Does this true story indicate where we are today with our big-money controlled, complicated and too often cruel healthcare system? I think it does, in spades.
— Bob McClellan, Polson