Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What the Healthcare Bill Missed

A historic moment indeed! If you are able to see through the thick cloud of misconceptions, propaganda, and hate speech that has hovered over the Healthcare bill, if you are able to look passed your own self interests and understand that millions of people financially struggle to care for themselves or their loved ones old and young, and if you are able to recognize the drastic differences in the social/cultural/economic make up of this country compared to 50 years ago, then and only then will you begin to see that the Affordable Health Care for America Act was needed and needed now!

But in no way was this bill perfect, far from it indeed. Its a shame that the politics behind this bill resorted to backscratching and secret deals. But again, which bill isn't. The politically dividing lines are more than etched into our social fabric today. They are carved. And the opinion of our population is diverse This bill is a perfect example of what happens when you try to accomodate everyone, even the people on the other side of the carved line of ideology.

So today I do applaud the democrats for their success with this imperfect bill. It has been a long time coming for this political victory and many people have waited, filed bankrupcy, and died waiting for this reform to happen. But there are some key elements that the lawmakers missed.

1. Tort Reform. It just seems so obvious. Doctor diagnoses patient. Patient doesn't like diagnosis. Patient find lawyer. Lawyer finds that doctor didn't provide some menial test. Patient sues doctor. Patient wins. Doctor pays. Patient dies anyway. Doctor has to raise costs of healthcare to pay damages to patients family and malpractice insurance costs. We need to protect doctors from this abuse. Democratic legislators would be wise to allow tort reform to be a part of any revisions which are sure to follow.

2. Health and Wellness. The United States is home to the largest portion of unhealthy human beings on the planet. We live stagnant lives and the western diet is not balanced. We eat food from boxes that are preserved in toxic chemicals like high fructose corn syrup. We have record breaking statistics of obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. We should not be allowed to continue living unhealthy lifstyles. If you want to decrease Healthcare costs, start living healthy lives. Very easily could some parameters be defined regarding an individuals lifestyle that would determine the amount of coverage they deserve.

3. Business Incentives for Healthy Employees. Which costs more a gym membership for 200 employees or healthcare for 200 employees? Let me guess. Why not provide tax credits and benefits for businesses that provide opportunities for healthy lifestyles within their workforce. Being physically active makes people happier, healthier, and more positive. This in turn would create better work environments and lower healthcare costs.

So, I will leave you with this question as we continue dappling in the controversy surrounding Healthcare in America. Do insurance companies take advantage of us because the government allows it, or is it because we have come to rely on healthcare to provide the patchwork for our unhealthy lifestyles? Don't expect insurance companies to do the right thing and don't expect the government to pass a perfect bill. One is driven by profit, the other is driven by a complex collage of interests we call the people of the United States.

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