Cao Steps Up

Screen shot 2009-11-08 at 7.37.48 AMIt’s about freakin’ time the health care bill passed on to the next stage in the process.  I like health care, I bet you like health care too.  Everyone needs it and we all need it to be inexpensive and accessible, to me making that happen as fast as possible is a no brainer but evidently to a lot of congressmen and women it just isn’t.  I didn’t vote for Anh “Joseph” Cao, why?  Because he is a Republican (I’m a Dem) and I was a bad voter who didn’t do any research before hitting the polls. As of last night I have had a change of opinion, I like this guy.

Cao was the one and only Republican Congressman who crossed over and voted to pass the health care bill last night.  Knowing he represents me puts a smile on my face. Here are a few things he said about his vote:

“Tonight, I voted to keep taxpayer dollars from funding abortion and to deliver access to affordable health care to the people of Louisiana.”

“I read the versions of the House [health reform] bill. I listened to the countless stories of Orleans and Jefferson Parish citizens whose health care costs are exploding – if they are able to obtain health care at all. Louisianans needs real options for primary care, for mental health care, and for expanded health care for seniors and children. [...]

“Today, I obtained a commitment from President Obama that he and I will work together to address the critical health care issues of Louisiana including the FMAP crisis and community disaster loan forgiveness, as well as issues related to Charity and Methodist Hospitals. And, I call on my constituents to support me as I work with him on these issues.

“I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents.”

I could do without the anti-abortion part but otherwise I couldn’t agree more. He negotiated to get us the best deal, rather than voting down party lines and not really listening to his people.  House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called him “The Future” of the GOP, I hope he is right.

(Quotes taken from huffingtonpost.com)

13 Comments so far

  1. Photon (unregistered) on November 12th, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

    Rayna,
    I like health care too. One of the problems I have with the debate over “reform” is that many people (yourself included) seem to use the term “health care” in place of “healthcare insurance”. In referencing “health care” you said “Everyone needs it and we all need it to be inexpensive and accessible”. Well, everyone needs “health care” but I would disagree that everyone needs “health care insurance”. Someone who is healthy and young, say 18 to 25 or maybe even 30, certainly does not “need” healthcare insurance. It is generally less expensive for these people to use a “pay for services” method for their healthcare.
    I also want health care to be accessible, but do I really want it to be inexpensive? I am of the opinion that, most of the time, you get what you pay for. I do not want outrageous healthcare costs, but I don’t want bargain basement either. I am willing to pay for quality care. I don’t know of any reasonable person that does not think the “health care” that we have available in this country is among the finest, if not the finest in the world. I realize that the system we are currently using to pay for this excellent care (i.e. healthcare insurance) is not allowing the same care to be available to everyone. And I am also aware that the level of care available varies and that the level is dependent on how much the consumer is willing to pay or can pay.
    Why is healthcare different than any other purchase we make? I would love a Porsche, a Ferrari, or an Infinity, but, alas, all I can afford is a Dodge. I am not asking anyone else to pay for or somehow supply me with a Ferrari. Please do not say “We need health care or we will die.” We need food, clothing, and shelter or we will also die. Yet, I know of no one that advocates making everyone purchase a home with so many square feet of living space per occupant or the consequence is a fine or jail time. Nor do I know of anyone who is suggesting that we require, by law, people to spend a certain amount of money per week or per month on food. I think most people would look at those two suggestions as being ridiculous or, dare I say it, tyrannical.
    And why is it that we are proposing to require purchasing healthcare insurance? Why are the proposals that we not allow the individual to determine if they “need” it? They get no privilege issued by the government with the stipulation that they will get that privilege only if they purchase the associated insurance. The government is not giving them the privilege of living or of being healthy. The privilege to drive on our roads is why we require auto insurance. If you want to drive on government built and owned roads, you must meet the requirements the government sets up. A couple of these requirements is to have a driver’s license and purchase auto insurance. These are not necessary if you want to drive only on your own lands. Why then should the government require an individual to purchase healthcare insurance? From where does the federal government or, for that matter any government, get that power?
    Insurance works like this: A group of people join a plan to share a risk. It is determined (by using actuarial tables, i.e. statistics) how many people within the group will suffer from the adverse effect of the risk you are insuring. It is then determined (again using actuarial tables or statistics) what the total costs of the risks will probably be. The total cost is then divided by the number of people in the group. Added to this number is a small percentage for profit, expansion, unforeseen occurrences, taxes, etc. This number then becomes the premium or the cost of the insurance. Everyone pays the same premium for the same coverage. This is how auto, life, homeowners, business, flood, and any other kind of insurance I can think of works. (Remember, if your home is larger than mine, your homeowner’s insurance will cost more, if my car costs more to repair than your car, my auto insurance will cost more. Please remember, though, I have a Dodge.)
    Insurance is, by definition, the spreading or sharing of the risk by many people, knowing that only a small percentage of the total will actually incur the adverse event. For everyone in the group who does not suffer the insured loss, they lose. They get nothing for their money other than the peace of mind of knowing they are protected by having the insurance. But for those who do suffer the loss they are “made whole” with the rebuilding of the house or the repair of the automobile. And they are made whole for much less than they would have had to pay had they not had the insurance. This is the risk we all take when we buy insurance. (Of course in the case of life insurance, they cannot be “made whole” their beneficiaries get a certain amount of money instead, and this is known at the time of the insurance purchase.)
    With all of these other kinds of insurance, no one really wants to collect. Who wants a fire in their home so they can collect the insurance money? (OK there are some people, but we generally think of those as arsonists.) Who wants to die so they can collect on their life insurance? (I know, I know… no one who dies collects, their beneficiaries do.) Why then do we look upon health care insurance as a method to pay for our health care?
    To make anything cost less, there are two methods. (Three if you include an attempt by government intervention… More on that later.) 1 – Increase the supply of the item, or 2 – reduce the demand. Now some may say that there are other methods, such as improve manufacturing techniques, increased competition, etc, but these only add to the supply. That is to say that improvements in a product increase the supply by adding greater quality and increased competition adds to the quantity.
    That said, how is the government going to increase the demand of health care (insuring additional people, i.e. the “uninsured” [the numbers are anywhere from 2 to 47 million uninsured]) without increasing the supply, (nothing in the bill adds to the supply, i.e. the number of health care providers) and at the same time reduce the costs?
    I would argue that the bill Congressman Cao voted for will effectively reduce the number of health care providers by increasing the cost of doing business in the healthcare field (the tax on medical devices, reducing Medicare payments to doctors and facilities, taxing so called “Cadillac plans”, etc.). Who will want to go to school for 12 plus years of very difficult training to become a doctor so that they can make a whopping $50,000 a year after malpractice insurance, school loan repayments, etc (Just an example, I have no studies that that will be the salary of a doctor if the bill becomes law.) and at the same time open themselves to huge lawsuits (read malpractice)?
    Proponents of the plan say “Choice and Competition”. If they wanted choice and competition they should remove the federal restrictions on purchasing “Healthcare Insurance” across state lines. This is a way to increase supply. If they want to reduce the overall cost of healthcare, place some limits on malpractice. I am not advocating making a family who loses someone near and dear to them accept a tiny payment for their loss. I am talking about getting rid of the frivolous lawsuits brought to the courts in the knowledge that it will be cheaper to pay an out of court settlement than to take the risk of paying outrageous awards. (By the way, you can purchase insurance for lawsuit outcomes, too.)
    Take the case of the woman in California who sued the hospital, the doctor, the pharmaceutical company, and the medical imaging device manufacturer and was awarded $6 million dollars by a jury. Her case was that since the time she had a CT scan with a contrast injection (hence the medical imaging device manufacturer and the pharmaceutical company), she suffered terrible headaches. $6 million dollar headaches? I think the amount of the award is too high, but then I’m not the one with the headaches. I can understand the position of someone who would argue that it doesn’t sound so frivolous. I disagree, but that is why we have trials. Here’s the catch, she would only get these headaches when she tried to use her psychic powers. (Ouija, anyone….ouch!)
    Luckily, the legal system sort of worked and the case was thrown out on appeal. I say sort of worked because ask yourself “How much did this lawsuit cost the defendants?”, even though, in the end, a reasonable (my opinion) judge threw the case out. Better yet, how much did this case add to the cost for all of the patients who now have to go get the same CT scan? How much did this case add to the cost of malpractice and business insurance the doctor, the hospital, the pharmaceutical company, and the medical imaging device company now have to pay. And that increase in insurance will be forever. Also ask yourself, “What are the consequences for the plaintiff who files a lawsuit such as this?” Usually, nothing more than lost time as most attorneys will take this type of case on contingency. OK, the lawyer loses some filing fees, lost time that he or she could be making money elsewhere, but put that up against the one third that he or she “could” collect and it ends up being more like a lottery than a legal system. I wouldn’t mind taking the chance of some filing fees, a couple hundred hours work for the possible payout of, in the above mentioned case, a $2 million dollar jackpot.
    Now on the that previously hinted at third method of reducing costs; government intervention. If you are placing your trust in the government of the United States to anything better than private enterprise, good luck. OK, not better, how about just as good, or even almost as good, for less money, or even just slighter more money. Again, I say good luck. The truth of the matter is that anything, and I mean anything, the federal government has ever done is more expensive, usually not as high a quality, slower, more aggravating, more frustrating, more bureaucratic, (I could give negative adjectives ad infinitum) than can be or is done by private enterprise. If you absolutely, positively have to have something delivered overnight,(please don’t sue me FedEx) do you go to the local Post Office? Is that cheaper or better than FedEx or UPS? How is the line at the Post Office? Most patrons usually figure the line is not too bad if they can mail a letter faster than… oh, I don’t know, let’s say get a driver’s license renewed.
    I’ll go one step further, I cannot think of any government of any country that can do anything better (read less expensive, and / or of higher quality) than private enterprise. That is not to say that we do not government. We do. There are certain things that private enterprise should not do. Law enforcement, for instance. Things like that should not be left to “for profit” institutions.
    I’ll end by saying two more things. First, I think Congressman Cao voted the way he did so that he would get re-elected. I think he wasted his vote. No matter how he voted up until now, and how he votes from now on, he will not be re-elected for the simple reason that he is a republican. The only reason he got elected in the first place was that his constituents, those people he seems to hold in such high regard, simply got tired of voting and the third and final vote for the Louisiana 2nd Congressional District was really the only thing on the ballot. I back up this statement by asking you to look at the percentage of people who voted in the runoff. I’ll wager that when Congressman Cao comes up for re-election, the other party will mount quite the campaign.
    Secondly, remember the old Chinese proverb – Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. I think one of the best sound bites I have heard about the “healthcare reform debate” is – “If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free.”


  2. Rayna (rayna) on November 13th, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

    Wow, that was long. First I “need” quality health care to be provided to me and my family at a low cost. Whether this is accomplished by providing me with health insurance that allows me to visit the Dr. and shares the burden of the cost with me or by lowering the amount Dr.’s are allowed to charge makes no difference to me as long as I get the same quality low cost health care.
    You say : “I don’t know of any reasonable person that does not think the “health care” that we have available in this country is among the finest, if not the finest in the world.” And to that I say you are right but they are wrong. The USA comes in at # 37 on the WHO list of World Health Systems, #14 on the List of Mortality Amenable to Health Care and we come in at # 24 in Healthy Life Expectancy. Sure there are lots of countries below us on all of these lists, but they don’t go around thinking they have the best health care in the world. We do.
    Though we don’t force people to purchase a certain square footage home or a certain amount of food per week, we do offer ways to help people on the lower end of the income spectrum find those things and in my opinion those programs should be better managed and expanded. One of the great things about the health care bill is that you can opt out. They aren’t forcing you to get it, but if you want it, it’s there for you. In everything I have read this is the case, so no one is forcing you or anyone else to purchase health insurance it is simply made available to you in a way it never has been before.
    The Health care bill may not add health care providers (I’m not sure if it does or not) but the idea of the plan is to reduce health care costs over time by giving everyone the access to preventative care. Trust me a cleaning at the Dentist every 6 months is a lot cheaper than not going for a couple years then having a mouth full of cavities to fill and the time spent by the Dr. is the same or less (at least from my point-of-view (the patient)).
    Want to reduce malpractice lawsuits? How about making your money from regular preventative visits rather than invasive surgeries and pharmaceuticals? I don’t know it’s just an idea. Another thing, when did people stop becoming Doctors because they want to help people and start becoming them to make money? I mean everybody wants enough money to live but as you say all you really “need” is food, shelter and clothing and I can tell you first hand you can have all of that for much less than the average Doctor’s salary.
    Getting into the amounts of money paid for lawsuits medical or otherwise is opening a whole other can of worms. Talk about another system that needs an overhaul… Anyway I agree that some limits should be put on the amounts that can be asked for or rewarded in cases such as the one you mention about the woman in California.
    Have you ever lived in a country that has a “good” health system lets say one of the top 10 on the WHO list? Let’s go further to pick one how about Japan, The USA spends near 17% GDP on health care, Japan spends near 7%. How is it that a country that is 27 spots above us on the above mentioned WHO list spends 10% (GDP) less on their system? I will venture to say “because it works.”
    The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not ensure that all its citizens have health care coverage. Bottom line is that needs to change. We have to make little changes now so we can all have a better future. I would rather pay a little more in taxes to know that if my son gets leukemia (or some other disease I don’t like to think about) he will be cared for and that care will not be contingent on how much money is in my bank account. Some may live in the castle but just because I live in the village with the peasants doesn’t mean my son deserves to die. The country he lives in should care for all of it’s people.
    I have to stop now because I am getting angry but I will leave you with a couple thoughts. 1. I am between the ages of 18 and 30 and in those years I have had a baby and my husband (during those years) had multiple health issues, which could not have been foreseen (no time to hurry up and purchase ins. If we didn’t already have it). 2. Once, my husband was sick in Japan, he was well cared for and never received a bill but because our health care system is so messed up we are still paying for the birth of our son (he will be 3 years old this Dec.). 3. I love USPS they are inexpensive and have never done me wrong also, lines? Not that bad here.


  3. termite (unregistered) on November 16th, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

    i’m not sure why Americans believe that health care is a given right. nothing is for free, and even if it were – then who will pay for it?

    i just don’t understand why the government isn’t focusing on the insurance companies to pressure them to lower their rates instead of trying to run health care.

    *rayna, i was in Rio on vacation and got into a nasty car accident. i went immediately to the local hospital and waited for 5 hours to be seen for a broken collarbone. you can’t imagine how furious i was when the E.R. doc who was on call that afternoon was a board certified Ophthalmologist.


  4. NO_Doc (unregistered) on November 18th, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

    rayna,

    I fully understand the desire to have quality health care at an affordable price. But what you need to look at is how you define “quality”. I have spent a time talking with physicians from other countries and visited a few of them. The WHO surveys are a bit deceiving. They seem to imply that the care delivered in other countries is better than the care deliverd in the US. On a population level, those countries are indeed outperforming us. However, on an individual level, treated patients in the US do far better than matched controls in those countries. How can there be a difference? The answer is that many people in the US choose not to be treated. They don’t “have time” to go to preventative care appointments, they “can’t afford” a $25-40 copay for an annual visit, they deny that the symptoms they are having are real or they distrust health care providers because of prior bad experiences. This is why preventative care is not a viable option in the US; it is not the doctors who make that decision, it is the patients. Since the patients will not invest the time and minimal cash in the prevention side, eventually the time comes where they have to pay hundreds of times the time and cash on the interventional side when they have their heart attack, stroke or cancer. Preventative care also includes the idea that when your doctor tells you to stop smoking or stop eating fast food, you actually listen to him and STOP. Good luck with that one! Bottom line is that wealthy Europeans and Canadians and South Americans and Japanese who have serious health problems all come to the US for treatement as opposed to staying in their home countries that so outrank us on the WHO surveys. What does that say about whose system is better for the individual?

    Another thought I would leave out there is that “quality” is highly relative, and often very linked to the price tag. If you want to pay 1950’s prices for healthcare, you’re going to get 1950’s level healthcare. That’s fine for a 30 year old. But, if you turn 65 and suddenly the only thing between you and the Grim Reaper is a four vessel bypass, all of a sudden it’s amazing how cheap the 70 grand it costs sounds. I personally cringe at the idea of the government being able to say “well, the economy is bad this year, we aren’t going to pay for heart bypasses after June of this year” (and BTW this happens in Canada, they close whole hospitals when budgets run out).

    Lastly, I know I will catch flack for saying this as a doctor, but there is no such thing as a ‘right’ to health care. Rights are abstract liberties that all humans are entitled to. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Voting. Freedom of expression. All these are rights. Healthcare is a service. Services have providers. Rights do not. There are no happiness providers (unfortunately, I’d love to have one..). But I am a healthcare provider. Now, does this mean that governments shouldn’t provide services to their populations? I am not saying that at all. But we need to stop this crap in the US about making services such as education, health care and housing ‘rights’. This all started with the civil rights movement, which was indeed about basic human rights and served a noble purpose. But now, the idea is that you start talking about certain services as ‘rights’ so that it seems to almost be unconstitutional to deny people these services when it is not. Enough on this rant, I am sure it will draw fire.

    Lastly, I am curious about your experience in the Japanese health care system, which is very tightly regulated by the government to the point it is on the verge of bankruptcy. All hospitals and clinics in Japan are privately owned and operated, but the government fixes rates they can charge. Did you have insurance coverage at that time? If so, likely the reason you had no balance billing was that the insurance most likely paid more than the Japanese government would allow the clinic to charge a native, meaning your insurance subsidized some health care for Japan. If not, then I am very curious as there are many tales of Japanese facilities going so far as to hire collection agencies in order to get some payment from people.


  5. termite (unregistered) on November 18th, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

    rayna, i was in Rio as in South America.

    secondly, you brought up a very good point. many Americans choose not to have health care. i certainly feel it should be affordable for those who can not afford it.

    i’m pretty familiar with the health care system. my deceased husband was a cardiovascular surgeon. my oldest son is attending Tulane School of Medicine and my second son will start Medical School at Tulane next fall.

    i just don’t feel the government should be running our health care system. it’s scary.


  6. Rayna (rayna) on November 20th, 2009 @ 9:31 am

    When you all mention fear about the government running health care I have to ask myself Do I want the government of the country that I live in and am supposed to love and trust running health care or do I want a big company such as Aetna (my insurance company) running it?

    Well, if I write a letter to my representative in government he listens, if I write a letter to Aetna they show no record of it (and I pay them hundreds of dollars a month). So, I am going to have to say the government doesn’t look that bad.
    I am not a Dr. and I don’t know a Dr. very closely so I will say I am a little ignorant there but I know that my Mother and Sister do not have insurance because they can not afford it and their employers do not provide it. Without it Doctors will not treat them, when they are sick they have been repeatedly turned away from Doctors and Hospitals because they don’t have insurance. This is wrong, as humans in this age we do have a RIGHT to health care, at least we do according to the United Nations as well as a RIGHT to education (http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/FactSheet33en.pdf) I do not know all the ins and outs, I do not know everything that needs to be done to fix it but I do know what we have isn’t working. I know that insurance companies as they are is not working, I know that the prices that Dr.s are charging are crazy and the ability to turn people who are sick away is outrageous. The way it has been structured for so long is not working so if the government stepping in can help with that or even fix it, I say bring it on.
    Every other industrialized nation in the world guarantees health care as a right of citizenship. You mean to tell me we could do it better than all those other countries? All those other men and women in other countries have access to health care any time they need it, I have a friend who is a Canadian citizen, she had a baby a few years ago and not only did she have wonderful care by Dr.s and nurses in the hospital she also had free access to a midwife and a doula (I couldn’t have a doula because my ins. wouldn’t pay for it) then after she returned home from the hospital there was a nurse/midwife/nanny who came to her house a few days per week for a few weeks to help take care of the baby, help her learn to breastfeed and help her do things like laundry all of which was free, then after her son was a few months old there were learning playgroups run my a registered midwife and nanny set up for the babies born around the same time as her son. All of these things were free as part of Canada’s health and education systems. I paid and am still paying for the few days I spent in the hospital having my son and as soon as I walked out the hospital door no one called to see how I was (not from the system anyway) the government didn’t send someone to my door to help me out in those hard first days at home and no one is offering me free educational playgroups to learn/grow and bond with my son. I could have really used that, so I am sorry but from where I sit they have a much better system.
    Hospitals close when money is tight now (just ask anyone in Southwest Florida) it makes no difference if the government runs them or a private company owns them when money is tight things close including Dr.’s offices and Hospitals.
    I do not think there was any insurance involved when my husband was in Japan. And even if there was it was still better than here because here there would still be a co-pay up front and probably a bill to follow after the insurance company decided they wouldn’t pay a portion of it. In Japan there was no bill at all pre or post visit.

    termite, I have a question for you and I am not trying to be inflammatory but instead I am genuinely interested. You have two son’s in or about to enter medical school, how much does the money they will make play a part in their decision to become Doctors? How much does the idea of helping people? Do you think they would still pursue that career if the money they could make was significantly lower?


  7. termite (unregistered) on November 20th, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    since when does the federal government do anything right except the military?
    and who do you really trust more with your well being? the government? Aetna? or your personal doctor?

    good question. it’s fair and not inflammatory. my sons have both entered medical school for one reason: the love of Science.

    trust me, my husband before he died told me (many times) he had hoped the boys would not choose medicine. the reason was because the insurance companies already had dictated how he practiced medicine and ran his practice and he was very frustrated. he feared because of the way medicine was headed, many of our bright young kids would not choose to go into medicine (private practice) thus we (Americans) would lose so much.

    our boys have both decided after they graduate to go into medical research.


  8. » Cao Steps Up | New Orleans Metblogs Watch My Wife With Other Men (pingback) on November 20th, 2009 @ 11:41 am

    [...] I didn’t vote for Anh “Joseph” Cao , why? Because he is a Republican (I’m a Dem) and I was a bad voter who didn’t do any research before hitting the polls. As of last night I have had a change of opinion, I like this guy. …Next Page [...]


  9. Rayna (rayna) on November 24th, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    termite,

    gov? ins? or Dr? running my health care it would be Dr.’s hands down. How can we do that and make it affordable? I am not sure.

    everyone,
    that’s socialism isn’t it? and that would be bad I am guessing though if it let the Dr make the decision and made it affordable for the common man that might be what we are looking for…


  10. termite (unregistered) on November 24th, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

    rayna, socialism is certainly not good, especially when you don’t have the right to choose your own doctor. (being told by the insurance company who to go to.. remember HMO’s??)

    just as doctors in private practice have guidelines as to what they can and can not charge you, why can’t the same rules apply with the insurance companies across the board? and hospitals, and drug companies. the list goes on and on. make it affordable so everyone can be covered if they so choose.

    the common man wants good medicine, rayna. most want to be treated fairly and to be able to afford it. i just can’t imagine the government knowing what’s best for me over my own personal doctor. and that’s socialism everyone.


  11. NO_Doc (unregistered) on November 24th, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

    “When you all mention fear about the government running health care I have to ask myself Do I want the government of the country that I live in and am supposed to love and trust running health care or do I want a big company such as Aetna (my insurance company) running it?”

    Interesting. Does that mean that you do love and trust the government? Most people will tell you you’re crazy if you do. Here’s a few historical figures’ perspectives…

    “But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.” — Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

    “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”– Thomas Jefferson

    OK, that being said, I am not necessarily a fan of insurance companies either. They skim billions of dollars from healthcare every year to fuel their profits and insane salaries for their top tier management. I spend at LEAST an hour a day filling out paperwork (and no, I don’t get paid to do that paperwork, unlike a lawyer; but if I don’t my patients will be denied appropriate care). They play games with their payments to providers, hoping that we will not keep hounding them to pay and that they’ll get to keep what they owe us. However, the problems they cause are drops in the bucket compared to the problems with Medicare/the VA system. I can at least take the insurance companies and hold them over the fire at the state Dept of Insurance. There are no mechanisms to check the powers that be at Medicare or the VA other than direct Congressional intervention. Medicare decided a few years ago that every provider that bills them has to do it electronically in order to save them from having to process claims sent on paper in the mail. So, if you wanted them to pay you you bought a computer system ($25,0000 minimum), pay a monthly fee ranging from $50-350 per doctor, and gave them your bank account number (so that if they ever think you owe them money, they just take it straight out of your account). How much extra did Medicare pay doctors to compensate them for spending all that just to save Medicare time and money? Zero. Bottom line is that the only thing that will happen if the government runs health care is that you can count on living shorter and being much more miserable if you have to use the system.

    Also, I am interested in your quote “…but I know that my Mother and Sister do not have insurance because they can not afford it and their employers do not provide it. Without it Doctors will not treat them, when they are sick they have been repeatedly turned away from Doctors and Hospitals because they don’t have insurance.” Hospitals cannot turn away acutely ill patients. No, they do not have to treat your hangnail. But, if you have a real medical emergency you cannot be turned away from a hospital. If either of them had a real medical emergency, they can report the hospital they were denied care at for a COBRA violation. They can also sue their pants off. You also said “I know that the prices that Dr.s are charging are crazy and the ability to turn people who are sick away is outrageous”. First off, anyone who went into clinical medicine for the money has long since left. It is far easier to make $80-250,0000/year as a pharmaceutical rep, investment/retirement account manager or politician. Hell, there are private school principals making more than some doctors. While the prices you see are indeed high, the majority (at least 40% and I have heard as high as 65%) of what we get paid goes out in overhead. Receptionists, nurses, taxes, malpractice insurance, medical equipment from the thing we look in your ear with to ultrasound machines….and the list goes on. For every dollar you pay your doctor, he MAY take home 25 cents after taxes. I also will see people without insurance, but Medicare limits what I can do for them in terms of charging less, so a number can still not afford to come see me.

    I work in the US health care system every day. It is far from perfect. But I do not believe that it will get any better with a government takeover based on my experiences with government provided healthcare at the VA and with Medicare.


  12. termite (unregistered) on November 24th, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

    just one more thing..
    you said:

    “termite, I have a question for you and I am not trying to be inflammatory but instead I am genuinely interested. You have two son’s in or about to enter medical school, how much does the money they will make play a part in their decision to become Doctors? How much does the idea of helping people? Do you think they would still pursue that career if the money they could make was significantly lower?”

    while the question was not inflammatory, it does lead me to believe you don’t really understand the income of our current doc’s. the days of doc’s making big bucks is a thing of the past. (ask any practicing physician)
    any young student going into medicine to make large amounts is misinformed. and rayna, for the BS they have to put up with (ie. insurance companies) not to mention the cost of malpractice insurance, it certainly has to be for the love of medicine.
    i promise you, do the research. you’ll see.

    *if our youth wants to make money, they need to go into engineering. :)


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