April 3, 2009

Did you know Duke Medical system has one billing clerk per bed?

Posted in health care tagged , , , , , at 3:11 am by realitytax

Single-payer national health insurance isn’t socialized medicine (and if it was you can bet most doctors in the U.S. wouldn’t support it.) Single-payer is simply a streamlined system in which a single agency organizes health-care financing and payments: delivery of medical care remains essentially as it in in the U.S. today – largely privateEnd red tape!. All that’s lost is the red-tape and restrictions.

Who’s against it then? Insurance companies, because they profit enormously from the current system – even though they add no value.  In fact, many people will tell you that insurance companies make it hard to get what they deserve and pay for with the premiums. That’s why it was such a major focus of Obama’s campaign in 2008:  he proposed that modern health care should include giving everybody in the U.S. coverage.

To get there we need the freedom to choose between keeping private insurance—for those lucky enough to have any—and opting into a universally available public health insurance option (something like Medicare.) Ultimately, by reducing the number of agencies handling the payments we simplify the task for hospitals and clinics – less of the time and money goes to red tape, and more goes to actual medical services.

Ultimately that also means diminishing the power and profits of the private insurance companies currently siphoning their lavish earnings off your health care payemnts.  They make money off the red tape, and by letting non-medical personnel decide what should and should not be prescribed to treat patients, and that’s a large part of what has caused costs to soar while coverage just shrinks.

It’s time for a reality check. Insurance companies profit from the current system, so naturally they’re opposed to changes that hurt their bottom line and their corporate bonuses. What value do they add to the process?

Money Talks

Gov. Howard DeanFormer Vermont Governor Howard Dean, a physician and the “chairman emeritus” of the DNC, is now on the pointy end of the stick in this battle against the entrenched big money interests trying to preserve our utterly inadequate for-profit insurance system. Big money is lobbying hard inside the D.C. beltway, and money talks.

One way to talk back is by showing D.C.  many are watching the fight. If you haven’t already done so, click here to stand with Dean.  Add your name, then spread the word to your friends, family, and co-workers.

Send email with the link; use your Facebook status to tell people about the campaign; write a blog post, twitter, do whatever you do to rattle your network of friends – we have seen that when D.C. realizes they’re in the limelight the roaches scatter and politicians realize that self-preservation means answering to the electorate, not the lobbyists.

“The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

That’s not just my opinion. It’s not Dean’s rhetoric or President Obama’s take on it either. That quote is drawn from the Physicians for a National Health Care Program. They want you to urge Congress and the President to enact a single-payer system –  a comprehensive National Health Insurance (NHI) Program – now. I know it’s fashionable in certain circles to say government can’t get things done – but insurance companies aren’t getting it done right. Let’s put an end to insurance companies deciding what’s best in terms of medication and treatment now, those decisions should be left to doctors and nurses, not accountants and CEOs.

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