Monday, August 17, 2009
Real health care reform
Let's start this whole conversation over.
First, let's focus on a huge health problem that virtually no federal money is spent on.
The common cold.
This is an issue dear to my heart cause I caught it two days ago and have felt like a deveined shrimp ever since.
The stuffed head, the snot, the aches, the chills, the fatigue, all caused by something so small it is hard to comprehend.
Most colds are are a result of a Rhinovirus. That's a picture of one up above.
If a human were the size of a Rhinovirus, the head of a pin would be about the size of France.
And we have no cure for it.
Per Wikipedia, in the United States alone the common cold leads to 75 to 100 million physician visits annually at a conservative cost estimate of $7.7 billion per year. Americans spend $2.9 billion on over-the-counter drugs and another $400 million on prescription medicines for symptomatic relief.
More than one-third of patients who saw a doctor received an antibiotic prescription, which has implications for antibiotic resistance from overuse of such drugs.
An estimated 22 to 189 million school days are missed annually due to a cold. As a result, parents missed 126 million workdays to stay home to care for their children. When added to the 150 million workdays missed by employees suffering from a cold, the total economic impact of cold-related work loss exceeds $20 billion per year.
Not to mention how much soggy Kleenex would be kept out of our landfills.
This could be a two for oner, Big O. Save on health care costs and provide a stimulus to the economy.
The other topic we need to discuss is the cost of lawyering in health care. Malpractice. Ambulance chasing.
We have obstetricians across the country that have stopped delivering babies for the cost of malpractice insurance.
The cost of everything medical is greatly inflated due to the cost of legal insurance.
We need a discussion of tort reform. Meaning, limits on what people can recover in lawsuits. Not suggesting for a minute that the medical community shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. Just suggesting that the willy-nilly judgements of juries giving $100 million awards ought to be considered as we discuss the cost of health care.
I haven't heard it come up once in all the talk, and there has been alot, on the health care topic. Could it be that since we are governed by lawyers who are friends of lawyers who get insanely rich suing the medical industry that they don't want it to come up?
Health care does cost too much in this country. Let's just make sure we are identifying the real culprits.