My friend Joe Misek (www.joemisek.blogspot.com) tells me that I am very passionate about some things.
Joe is right. Health care reform is one of them. While I may not agree with a lot that is in the current plan making its way through Congress, we have ignored this problem long enough.
Of course, there are so many angles to real, effective Health Care Reform. Everyone must be involved:
1) First and foremost, the American populace. How does the "public" get involved?
We start with preventative measures: Leading healthier lifestyles, watching our over-consumption of just about everything, exercising, etc. NO amount of medical care in the world (free or otherwise--and someone will be paying for it ALWAYS) will take the place of good health habits.
2) The Medical Access Act of 1981 has turned on us. When I was a teenager, one dared not go to the Emergency Room unless said person had adequate health insurance, or adequate cash. While it wasn't always fair (and I almost died of an illness when I was 15 years old), hospitals and doctors' offices were not overwhelemed with "non-payers." Thanks to President Reagan--who meant well--every Emergency Room in the country must now treat whomever presents themselves to an emergency "facility." With or without insurance. With or without the means to pay for services rendered.
Unfortunately, far too many people living here in these United States have seriously ABUSED this well-intentioned law. Now, instead of going to their regular family physician, many just show up at the ER for whatever happens to be ailing them at the time. With or without ability/means to pay for services rendered. The Emergency Room is the least effective and most expensive form of medical care, on a long-term basis. The Emergency Room is meant for EMERGENCIES only. Aunt Sally's runny nose is NOT an emergency. Neither is the headache that you've had for the last 4 days....in most instances.
3) Physicians must be encouraged AND allowed to be the "caregivers" and "healers" for whence they have trained for many years. NOT just a paper-pusher, or a servant to the insurance bureaucracies. Too many insurance companies are calling the medical shots...and they are NOT QUALIFIED TO DO SO.
more on this later.