Saturday, April 4, 2009

A public policy sidenote

This is why providing health care to those who do not have it is in the public interest, mine and yours:
AUSTIN, Texas – Just nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 of the emergency room visits in the Austin area during the past six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others, according to a report. The patients went to hospital emergency rooms 2,678 times from 2003 through 2008, said the report from the nonprofit Integrated Care Collaboration, a group of health care providers who care for low-income and uninsured patients.
Ridiculous. Unless we were to turn people away at emergency rooms (which we should not), under the current health care system, this will keep happening. The system is broken.

Some simple math: this care cost an average of $55,556 per person per year, on the public dime. These nine patients were each going an average of once per week. There has got to be a way to provide better care to these nine and the thousands upon thousands they represent nationwide in a way that would be more cost effective and cheaper to the taxpayer. I'm not dumb enough to suggest I know what the solution is, but we can't afford the status quo.

1 comment:

Butch Roy said...

I did a show for a group of Dr's and the head of their organization and a prominent GOP senator both addressed the group with a lengthy explanation of why the current system is killing itself (I can explain sometime, if you really, really want me to - I've sat through dozens of these talks) and even how the ideas proposed in the past by people such as Hillary Clinton have been killed for all the wrong reasons, which is why the problem continues -- and for continues profits for several entire industries that have sprung up around it.

then they went on say that the only way to ACTUALLY fix it would be to have docs work for salary.

you have never heard gasps like that room produced. it was as if they just told these 400 people that their families had all been killed.

one younger doc stood up and loudly asked "If we're removing any chance of making the kind of money there is in medicine now - why in the world would anyone become a doctor?!?" - clearly he thought he had found the weak point in this ridiculous idea that would surely doom health care as we know it.

the head of their organization stood at the podium, waited for the uproar of agreement to die down and then said
"I don't know. To make people better??"

He then went on to say "Salary does not equal 'poverty' - baseball players make salary for god sake and I think we can agree that they are making a pretty decent living"

to no avail.

Managed Health Care, my friend.
You choose your insurance, they have their own hospitals and offices with their own, salary paid doctors - and if you don't like the service you get you can exercise your power as a consumer, take your money somewhere else and switch to a new provider.
Market forces would actually encourage providers to compete for customers in areas important to them, such as care and time with doctors and the level of care we receive would actually improve - while saving billions of dollars a year.

and hearing it out the mouth of a GOP senator made it seem like a rather crazy, but possible, scenario.