Apply competition, fairness to health careWe’ve come to a critical phase in the health care debate, and though, one small voice, I feel compelled to speak.
By: Kathryn M. Asp, Red Wing,
We’ve come to a critical phase in the health care debate, and though, one small voice, I feel compelled to speak.
I have worked in the health care field just shy of 40 years. There have been amazing advances in medical science over these years. However, we know the delivery system falls far short of achievement.
The status quo is no longer sustainable. It is an economic issue and a moral imperative.
Our ailing health system needs a fix; a majority of Americans desire reform.
The debate has survived many years. The first legislative bill was introduced in 1914 — 95 years ago. Failure to pass a measure continued throughout the 20th.
In 1945, Truman attempted to pass health care reform, stating “a healthy nation is a strengthened nation.” It was again defeated 15 years ago and now has spiraled out of control.
The discussion is complex and personal. The major components of reform include: an ideal health care delivery model, access, cost, oversight, and payment reform.
A number of national medical leaders have been discussing the principles of reform for several years. Representatives are in the Capitol attempting to influence leaders on core principles of delivering patient centered health care reform.
Health care delivery model
The concepts of patient centered care include high quality, high value and universal access.
Value care results in better clinical outcomes, safety, coordination of care, patient satisfaction and lower costs.
The bottom line is to achieve better results for the health care dollars spent.
As a component of lower cost and value care, one needs to emphasize the importance of wellness and prevention. Reducing the number of “preventable” chronic illnesses will favorably impact individuals and the health care system.
Individuals need to take responsibility for their health.
Being aware of important risk factors, health measurements, age specific screenings and lifestyle choices will ensure better outcomes.
We need universal access for several reasons. We are all paying for the uninsured as a hidden tax. There is also a moral imperative.
It is part of the American character to care for our neighbors, and fellow citizens. 46-plus million remain uninsured.
This includes 13 million Americans under 30 years. What becomes of these citizens when serious illness or tragedy strikes?
Cost of plan
It is “amusing” to hear the price tag used as a scare tactic. $800-plus billion over 10 years ... .
Why was cost not emphasized in discussions regarding the mishandled Iraq War and current debate regarding Afghanistan?
The thrust of “selling wars” is in the name of national security. Iraq continues to cost $10 billion per month.
Therefore, amount spent in Iraq alone equals proposed costs of an improved health system for American citizens.
I postulate that a healthier nation is a more secure nation.
Another component of reform will include an independent health commission.
This Federal Health Board will provide a framework to oversee the operations of the health care system. The board will be accountable to the government, and citizenry.
It is obvious to note that only true competition will assure cost control.
The American Health Insurance Plan has spent $32 million on ads and $1.5 million daily on lobbyists to derail this current reform measure. How did we arrive at a private “for profit” system responsible for deciding that gets care?
The irony of the distorted facts and scare tactics is that this industry actually “pulls the plug,” drops participants because of existing conditions or age, and decides who your health care provider will be by network design.
Care is already rationed. They “threaten” to increase costs over 10 years by 111 percent regardless of health care reform measures. If 80 percent of Americans are pleased with their plan, they may keep it and the insurance business will remain strong.
A small sliver of the entire plan is the public health insurance option. It however has received the most press and debate. It is already a negotiated option. If well managed it will offer an opportunity for the 46-plus million uninsured to purchase a care package.
We do need to shift the Medicare model of payment to a more value-based system. If successful, this formula can be applied to the new public option system. Competition and fairness is needed when dealing with the delicate matters of personal health care.
Please be informed. Be part of the discussion and solution. If one is not part of the solution, one is part of the problem. We must do better; we must “get better,” individually and nationally.
As Andy Rooney said, “We need to reform health care because the current system makes one sick.”
Kathryn Asp is a registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner.