In the last week, a few patients (and a Spo fan or two) asked what I feel about health care reform.  Well, I will tell you.

I’ll start my blog entry with this: A few times each month a patient comes in with ‘that look’ on his or her face to suggest their mother died. What is wrong? They are losing their health insurance; what are they to do? They won’t be able to afford treatment, stay on their medications etc.

A few months ago a woman came to clinic, greatly upset as her fiancee died in his sleep. He hit his head, but he wouldn’t go to the ER as he had no money; he didn’t want a large bill he couldn’t pay. So he went to sleep, and never woke up. She woke up to find him thus.

I am tired of seeing cases like this.  The American Health System can’t go on like this; and it will only worsen unless something is done.

The only patients who have voiced fears or complaints about reform are ‘The Haves’. They have resources. In their view this makes them preferable and a priority, sort of like first class passengers on an airplane. They defend their views as “I earned it/I work/I don’t have to pay for another”. As for the current system? They never say it is actually OK. Instead they threaten with ‘what-ifs’ if it should change.

As an aside, I think Americans are a nasty lot – they claim, nay they demand! – to be a Christian nation, yet show no Christian charity towards their fellow man.

This approach is somewhat based on the American belief if you are destitute, it is due to the wages of sin and you deserve no better.

I recall a certain passage from Matthew about separating the sheep from the goats “But when did we ever see you hungry?…”

The bureaucracy that has evolved over time to maneuver present health care is truly amazing in its amount and waste.

We all allow insurance companies to run the show. They tell me what/what not to do. Few patients fight lest they are dropped.

We spend a lot on health care, yet we rank very low in overall quality of health. Health care in other countries have their faults – but I have never heard anyone in Canada or the UK wish they had our health care system. (Indeed I have heard folks from other countries annoyed they are being used to frighten “See how terrible and backwards it is in Canada?”)  As for the alleged waiting periods to see a doctor in their countries?  Well, at last count you must wait 3 months to see me.

America is an ailing patient, slowly dying. We will not cooperate to resucitate it – indeed, some would rather blow things up than allow ‘the other’ to claim victory they did something.

I am pessimistic about health reform becoming a reality. There are too many people determined to make health care fail. The GOP will not do anything themselves ( for they are too much in the pay of insurance companies and at the call of radical Right)  Besides, they don’t see anything is the matter.

All of this has been said before, and more eloquently than I can.  I don’t know what to do. I am willing – as a doctor and as an American to work with others to try to make changes.

I don’t ever want to say to another patient “I’m sorry to hear you won’t be able to afford any more care”.

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