Friday, July 24, 2009

Health Care Reform?

There's been a lot of controversy regarding the health care reform situation. While I agree that the health care system is SERIOUSLY flawed; and I've had a front row seat for almost 16 years, going to a national Socialism-based system will be a horrible mistake. I've been watching the town meetings, speeches and difference options on TV and if you pay attention the goal of the current administration is to have a Single Option, Fed controlled health plan for everybody. The money has got to come from somewhere and guess where...everyone who makes middle income and above will have higher taxes to support themselves and those who make at and below poverty income.

Don't get me wrong...I'm all for programs to assist those who need assistance. I firmly believe that everyone has the Right (morally not constitutionally) to receive life or limb saving care regardless of race, religion, income, etc. As a paramedic , and personally, I could no more NOT help someone (even if I knew them and didn't like them) then I could deliberate cause someone malicious harm.

However, I don't believe that everyone has the Right to all levels of all medical care. Since when did any health care become an entitlement and not a privilege? Should someone who can't pay receive cosmetic surgery just because they have the right? Should someone who doesn't have a job because they don't want to work (not because they can't) have the right to expect the rest of society to support their medical financial needs or wants because they have the right to any level of medical care?

Daily I transport patients who call for an ambulance (that they medically do not need) to transport them to the emergency room because they want:

1- to be seen faster and don't want to wait in the waiting room at all - nevermind that patients are seen by level of severity regardless of how they arrive. Showing up in an ambulance does not get you to the front of the line but it does get you a large bill and takes that ambulance out of service for patients who do need it.

2- to travel in 'luxury' because they can 'lie down' in the ambulance. It's a 350 truck chassis and thin, plastic mattress; very, very not comfortable and very, very bumpy and nauseating.

3- a free taxi ride because they have medicaid/medicare - but medicaid and medicare will only pay for medically NECESSARY transports which means you'd better be dead, dying or at serious risk of dying or losing a limb

4- to be catered to and spoiled - had a patient asked me if they could get something to drink and where the bathroom was ON THE AMBULANCE! Hello - it's a truck not a bus. Would you like an in-flight movie with that?

Why the rant? If you think that's bad; with socialized medicine it will only get worse. People will realize that they can get a free ride and start calling for even more ridiculous reasons. What does that mean for the serious, law abiding, rational citizens? That means that there will be fewer ambulances available for your heart attack or your grand child drowning or any number of serious life threatening emergencies.

BTW- did you know that there's a national shortage of paramedics. Why? Because they are generally underpaid, overworked, under appreciated and seriously abused by the general public. With the new plan it will be more difficult to get transports paid for which means local taxes will increase to make up the difference to pay for the medics and supplies. You pile on less pay for a career which is already short staffed and more insane public abuse of the system which equals more psychological stress on the medics. (Trust me on this, you try to keep distance from the emotions and frustrations but you can't maintain it)

More medics will quit or not join which means less ambulances for everyone. And this is just EMS. The snowball will definitely roll downhill throughout the entire medical system. Top notch care and staff costs money and if there isn't enough people paying their fair share then there isn't enough money for everybody. Which means higher taxed on those with money.

Ethically it's nice to think we can provide top notch care for everyone regardless of income but it's just not feasible. It will bankrupt an already flawed system. Ideals aside - money makes the world go round and experts in any field need to make a real paycheck. And the more education you have usually the more school loan debt hence the need for a large paycheck. Most doctors spend decades paying off their loans and don't forget the malpractice insurance premiums. There just isn't enough money for socialism medicine.

Bottom line: America offers an unique opportunity to work your ass off and pull yourself up through society. I joined the military to pay for my degree. My parents couldn't afford to pay for my education but they still made just a bit too much money for social assistance. So I got a GI Bill and worked up to three jobs to make my life they way I wanted it. I researched hundreds of programs for minorities to obtain free or low cost education but my low middle income parents disqualified me for them all and I still made it. There are tons of assistance options but the reality is one still has to earn their own way and do the work. If you don't or won't contribute to help yourself then why should anyone else work their ass off to help you?

Remember - God helps those who help themselves.

1 comment:

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