Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Understanding the Healthcare Debate

Seems like nobody really understands the healthcare debate. The United States has undisputed the best healthcare in the world. We contribute to more advances in medicine then any other country with the exception of Israel.
With that said, we also have our problems. The key to "We Don't Get It" comes in statements like "if the rest of the world can have universal healthcare, why can't we?" It is foolish logic such as this that dooms healthcare in America.
Simple logic say that if you already have the best, doing what others are doing will make it like theirs and by definition worst then what we have. As long as this sentiment is foisted on the American people we will continue to spiral in a pit of do nothing. We need original ideas or better definition to the problem at hand.

I have laid this problem out very clearly a couple of years ago in an post I wrote titled,
The Key Points Covered:
Cost of Illegal Immigration to our healthcare system
Tort Reform - Frivolous and Record Breaking Awards
Education and Personal Health Responsibility
Freeing up Health Professionals to Deal with actual Health issues
Doctor Availability and the lack of new doctors entering the market
3rd party payer healthcare places incentives in the wrong area (HMOs and the real cost)

One of the other talking points that keeps log jamming progress is prescription drugs. I constantly hear people complaining about pharmaceutical companies making a killing on our backs. They usually go on to give the following as testimony, "I can order drugs online from outside the US and get them for half the cost as I can get them here."
Let me first be real clear -- I don't work for any drug company nor do I currently hold any stocks from said companies. Nobody is paying me to write this.
The difference in cost of drugs in and out of country comes down to a blackmail scheme that we allow to continue. Let me explain.
It takes untold years of research to develop a new drug, costing millions of dollars. That is followed by years of testing and proving to the standards of the FDA and to the standards of practice. Once again millions of dollars are spent in the hope of approval so the new drug can be marketed. Copyrighting is a small expense but only gives the company a small window to recoup the vast expense of bringing the drug to market. This window is generally seven to ten years.
The pharmaceutical company has to recover the vast expense and replenish the capital in order to develop new drugs.
Now here is where the blackmail scheme comes in. Foreign nations learn of this new drug and want it for there population as well. They threaten the company who has invested so much with ignoring the copyright and making it themselves if they don't supply it at a suggested cut throat price. The company has a choice of complying with the demand and making some money or loosing everything. They then boost the price in any markets they can to redeem the vast expense.
People like the one mentioned above help to perpetuate this theft and cast blame on the company who has provided them with the medical benefit. Our government does nothing to penalize these nations for their acts and then allows our companies to be verbally abused.

We have some real issues that need addressing in healthcare. Unfortunately, our government pretends not to recognize any of them. Let's not wreck our healthcare system with a government take over. Tell them what the problems are so we can have real solutions for incredible healthcare. We don't want anything less.

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Blogger Joe said...

I think your points are clear and correct!

The answer certainly is not government controlled health care.

1:43 PM, July 22, 2009  
Blogger TAO said...

It could be argued that to claim we have the best healthcare system in the world because of the advances in medicine we have achieved is like comparing apples to oranges.

We have some fine institutes that have achieved tremendous advances in medicine but that is not the healthcare system that 99% of most Americans experience and or have access to.

Thus, that is comparing apples to oranges.

Then in regards to drug companies and their issues with foreign countries....why can't we expect for other governments to respect our copyright laws? If they do not then we retaliate..

Why should Americans be forced to pay the true expense of a drug so that others can enjoy the same benefit at a cheaper price?

Why are Americans required to pay up because drug companies are being blackmailed overseas?

Looks to me like the American citizen is being used to help the drug companies from dealing with the real issue...

Looks to me like we need to quit worrying about using our military to protect democracy around the world and we might be better off using our military to enforce respect for our creative endeavors...

If companies are allowed to price their products anyway they need to to compete then I should be able to buy drugs from the cheapest source.

3:55 PM, July 22, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never realized the situation regarding pharmaceutical companies and drugs. If government wants to solve the health care issue, they should start here. It is absurd that we are being blackmailed by other countries and nothing is being done about it.

9:31 PM, July 22, 2009  
Blogger HeavyHanded said...

ablur - you might be interested in this new post:

This is what's in store for us if we get ObamaCare.

8:40 PM, July 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your argument is flawed on its face. Th US does NOT have the best health care system in the world. We rank well behind France, UK, Canada and some smaller and less technologically advanced countries. Leave the jingoism behind and face facts.

We we do have are talented and well trained providers who are hamstrung in their efforts to practice medicine effectively because medicine has become big business. Not for profit hospitals are anything but and work in tandem with insurers to cherry pick cases/clients.

If the free market were the answer and more competition were the answer then we should have solved this problem of skyrocketting costs, high numbers of uninsured and multitudes being prescribed medications with ever increasing costs.

Looking to the insurers and providers of health care is not the answer. You will not find reform there as they will not allow it to happen.

The only way to have meaningful change is to "blow up" the current system. A single payer model is that solution. No other will have any impact.

11:21 AM, August 10, 2009  
Blogger ablur said...

Anon fm Redwood City Calif. - I have friends and family that live in the UK and Canada and I can assure you from the man on the street perspective our healthcare in the US is far better. The government payer system looks wonderful from the outside but special maneuvering and long wait lists are very common. You will also find that the older you get the more limited are your options under their system.
I can tell by your writing that you are very excited about what is being offered by the way you left words out in your typing.
I have clearly articulated what the key issues are that need to be fixed in our healthcare system. Burning down the whole house to solve a bug problem isn't the answer.
People seem to forget that state government is the most limiting body on insurance and competition in the market place. States purposefully limit and impose limitations on insurance providers who operate in their state. These limitations both effect price and availability. Mandates that require specific coverages and how much coverage are all under the direction of the state.
The HMO system is the only true corporate program that needs some overhauling to restore quality into some areas of healthcare.
Perhaps the vast Lawyer Block of the Democratic Party is the next biggest road block to real cost savings. Perhaps if some energy was spent on this group of false accusers and robber barons we could see a substantial cost savings.
Both of those were covered in my outline of what needs fixing.

I suggest you look past the partisan bickering and read the bill. Look at all the limitations and undefined care to be decided by a future head. We don't even know what all we are getting and what we do know is pretty horrible. I know it is 1018 pages but if you are going to make such a bold change, you could at least read it.

Don't forget to take special notes on the paying system for doctors and other healthcare providers. It has already been estimated that 25% would retire before this bill comes to fruition. How then will we achieve any quality in care when we have reduced those who provide it.
The prestigious Mayo Clinic has taken a stand against it. They found one good proposal in the bill and dozens of bad ones. Funny how the media only talks about the one good line item.
There is much to be learned about this travesty of a healthcare bill. I am glad to see so many taking an active part in their government at a time like this. We need people to stand up and be heard.

3:16 PM, August 10, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Advances in medical technology have nothing to do with the healthcare system itself. And if it is undispudtedly the best, how come 75 percent of americans agree that it needs to be overhauled? dosen't sound very undisputed to me, yet you accuse others of foolish logic when clearly your logic has big holes in it.

5:21 PM, September 24, 2009  
Blogger ablur said...

Attn: Anon from Texas

Just because something is best doesn't mean it can't improved. Your assumptions have no logical base.

What this shows is that the rest of the world is really bad and we are best at just mediocre. Why not fix what is wrong with the system and strive for great.

5:46 PM, September 24, 2009  

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