Saturday, March 20, 2010

And If It Passes Today - Some Thoughts...

Before the article, let me make a couple things plain:

The United States has what I believe to be the finest health care delivery system in the world.  With my nearly 25 years in and around the health care world I have seen this first hand.  As the son of a Marine, Grandson of a WW1 Infantryman, and myself a US Army soldier, I have traveled the world and seen what other countries offer their citizens, and I have seen nothing better anywhere.

This is not to say there is not some fixing to be done.  There is.

In this man's opinion:
* The financial arm of health care delivery is seriously flawed.
* I believe there should be some tweaking in the areas of continuity of care and care management.
* I also believe costs involved in bringing medication and therapies to those who need them (meaning the products themselves) is excessive.

I also believe that Government itself is ultimately to blame for many of these shortcomings. Onerous over-regulation and persistently tattering the industry for political gain waste billions of dollars and depresses real progress in many areas . It is nearly criminal that it costs nearly 8 times as much to bring a successful drug to market in the US than other western countries. More importantly, this prevents promising therapies from ever reaching our shores.  I know this first hand.

While stationed in Germany, my wife suffered a near miscarriage. The US doctors, with nothing left to offer her, told us to go home and expect the worst.  I took her immediately to a doctor I knew of at the German city hospital and begged for his assistance. The drug therapies they offered her were not, and never have been, FDA approved but used with great success everywhere else in Europe.

This year, my son turns 24.  He has grown to be a healthy, strong, good hearted man who never would have known life if left to "FDA standard"s. Do I need to say more?

Kind reader, this is why I feel I have a dog in this fight. What leads me to steadfastly believe the government is the WRONG entity to fix most of what is ailing health care.  It's as if the US Government drives a framing nail into its own head, then complains that health care can't prevent the headache. Can anyone say "let the drunk tend bar?"

OK, on then to the Washington Post article here.  They discuss the importance of the legislation and what it supposedly addresses.  To me, the real attention getter is the degree of bipartisan support for both Social Security and Medicare enactment.  A tidbit to whet your appetite:

But there is a major difference between this health-care battle and the debates that preceded passage of Social Security and Medicare. Although there was opposition to those measures -- conservative opponents called Medicare socialized medicine -- in the end they passed with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities.

The House approved the Medicare bill on a vote of 313 to 115, including 65 Republicans -- nearly half the GOP caucus at the time. The Senate approved the measure by 68 to 21, including 13 of the 27 Republicans.

Social Security passed the House in 1935 by 372 to 77. On that vote, 77 Republicans joined the majority and 18 Republicans opposed it. In the Senate, the vote was 77 to 6, with five of 19 Republicans in opposition.

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