[SeMissourian.com] Fog/Mist ~ 66°F  
High: 82°F ~ Low: 62°F
Thursday, July 31, 2014

A train wreck maybe coming

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last week in the column I said that I thought that local papers should have only local information in them, not national. One reader informed me that she likes to get national news in the local paper as this is the only paper that she reads. I appreciated the feed back since I knew she had read the column.

As result of the column last week, "Standing on thin ice," I thought that someone would chop the ice around me and let me fall in, however that did not happen. I did receive support for my thoughts.

A subject that is receiving a lot of discussion at the present time and is very controversial is the health care overhaul that is being proposed. Certainly this is a topic on the national level that will have a great effect on all citizens of this community.

Nearly everyone is in agreement that our health care system does need an overhaul. There is a general agreement that our system is broken. From that point there is a great amount of disagreement. One of the questions is health care a right? Hopefully, everyone has the opportunity for health care. Still, there are those who may abuse the system.

We have heard reports that have been sad where individuals have not been able to receive health care. There are a number of diabetics in that situation where they can not receive the care that they need. We have also heard of bad things in other countries where people do not get the care that they need with a system where all of the care is paid for by the government. Many of those people come to the states where they can get care.

The proposed legislation in the house is at least 1,000 pages in length. Is this a bill that each congressman has read and understands? The biggest problem is how is it going to be paid? The argument ranges from all the way from saving money to it will break us.

One of the biggest questions is why the proposal is trying to be pushed and rushed into law without a lot of consideration which takes time. There has been talk of transparency, where is it? Many have suggested that the most expensive health program is one that is free. If the proposals are good, why is there such a rush for getting it into law? There maybe some things that need to be taken out of the proposal or items added. One of the arguments that many pro-life people have is that the proposed law would pay for abortions.

There have been a lot of things that have been discussed that concerns me personally. The AARP is in support of the government program, but there are those who question if they are really looking after our older people or do have they another agenda?

I was not going to touch this topic until I was talking to a physician this past weekend. After talking to the physician, I became convinced that this topic needed to be covered. Most readers are aware of the difficulties that hospitals have to survive; this is especially true in the rural areas.

According to the physician, one of the items in the bill is Diagnostic Related Grouping. You may be aware of somebody that has been in the hospital and they are released because the insurance or Medicare will not pay any longer for the hospital care. This happens even though the physician considers that there is a need to remain in the hospital longer.

The way DRG is to work is that there will be a group who will determine the days required with each type of illness. This would mean for example a person with a heart condition would normally receive a certain days of care in the hospital. The hospital would receive funding for that many days of care. If it does not take that long for the person to be in the hospital, they still would receive that amount of funding. If for some reasons they had to be in the hospital longer, the hospital would still receive that amount of funds. If the patient had to return to the hospital within 30 days, the hospital would not receive any more funds. Say the patient got out and ate salt, which contributed to his heart condition, the hospital would not receive any more funds. Is that the type of funding for care that we might want for our local hospitals?

While discussing the government health care plan with a banker this week, he said that the health care overhaul is a train wreck that is about to happen. There are a great number of people who are skeptical of the proposal. Most of us do not want the government making decisions about our health. We want it made by us with the doctors.

One of the statements that were made this week is that there are more people losing their insurance at the same time that insurance companies are making more money. Responding to that statement, one veteran insurance agent said, "Insurance companies are required to keep the proper reserves. The states are requiring that if they were not making a profit the state properly would make them stop selling."

Another veteran agent who specializes in health insurance said, "Cobra premiums may be higher so more money, rates are going up but so are cost from providers to the insurance industry. Also most companies have been negatively affected the last 2 years by the economy."

There are many things that need to be discussed regarding the 1,000 pages of legislation. I have not even got started with it yet. The discussion needs to include more information including the real cost. Each citizen needs to learn as much as possible about the proposed bill and voice their opinions to the members of congress.

As more citizens are learning about the health care overhaul it is losing support. Certainly, it needs to be debated and not rushed through Congress under the radar.

It could be that if it passes the banker will be correct in his statement that a train wreck may be coming.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large