I SAW ON tv “news” this morning (6/20/17) Sen. Chas. Schumer pressing Sen. Mitch McConnell for more than 10 hours to review the latest GOP health care plan.
McConnell’s only reply was “There will be ample time to review the plan.”
That was NOT the case then President Trump’s predecessor dumped HIS plan on congress, all 2,000-plus pages of it and demanded the Democrat-packed congress pass it “right now.”
I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY Schumer wants ample time to study the GOP plan … past GOP efforts have fallen woefully short. Even many Republicans found fault with the earlier plans, assuring the plans would fail to garner the votes needed to become law (until overturned by the courts).
Trump promised many things for his first days in office. Most have failed to occur, and a cobbled together healthcare plan without being well thought out and lacking Democrat support is one of those things.
But why the rush?
Those covered under the current slight-of-hand health care plan will remain covered until the replacement plan is in place (and allowed by the courts). No one covered today will be left uncovered tomorrow.
This scrivener is of the opinion that the U.S. needs national healthcare of some type. It will not prevent indigents showing up at emergency rooms for treatment of both minor and major issues; it will not prevent the local government from being “stuck” with the bill for indigent care. The in-place plan allegedly penalizes people who lack any type insurance by slapping a surtax on their federal income tax. But indigents, by definition, don’t have incomes to pay taxes, so the threat is empty.
There ARE good things about the current plan, but there also are many things that need to be improved upon. Drug costs, for example. Access to practitioners. While there are many good practitioners who accept the current plan, there are many who refuse to accept patients covered by the plan.
Similar to Medicare, some practitioners fail to see the huge consumer base, preferring to charge more for patients covered by private insurance or who pay from their own pocket.
As I understand it, a national health plan — regardless of who gets credit — or blame — is designed to (a) move non-emergency care out of emergency rooms and into a physician’s office (or urgent care center) and (b) to assure that citizens receive ongoing attention from a medical practitioner, preferably the same practitioner each time they visit. Preventive care is (a) less expensive and (b) offers better results than emergency care, especially by a practitioner who has zero history with the patient and who, in almost all cases, will not see the patient again — at least for the same complaint.
Perhaps, rather than insist all citizens have health insurance it would be acceptable to all political points of view if the government opened clinics in impoverished areas or on BRAC-closed military installations — most of which have at least a Class A infirmary (clinic with a few beds). The clinics could be staffed by newly minted practitioners (nurses, doctors) whose education was partially funded by the government. A similar situation exists that sends doctors to regions otherwise without physicians.
Indigents would need to show photo IDs (provided gratis –reducing the chance of fraud) to receive no charge care, while others (e.g., low income) would pay on a sliding scale. Common medicines would be dispensed at no cost or minimal cost to the patient (as is done in a number of countries).
While I believe everyone should pay something for health care, if a person has nothing, what can they pay? (Perhaps in-kind services to the clinic, assuming the courts would permit that.)
There is no question that emergency rooms should be for emergencies — only.
Likewise there is no question that people should have a long-term relationship with the same practitioner.
Finally, there is no question that indigents can’t pay (the regular rate) for healthcare even if there is a tax penalty.
It might be necessary to pair a clinic with a police sub-station; the clinics would probably NOT be located in the classist sections of town and any drugs on a clinic’s shelves would be tempting to criminals, even non-narcotics.
As a long-ago Air Force medic, I have some experience with clinics and hospitals emergency rooms. I later briefly worked at a civilian hospital.
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Comments: In my opinion