William Thien

Posts Tagged ‘Medicare

Being a veteran I am acutely aware of the staffing shortage some of the VA Hospitals have been facing and the problems with scheduling that have been brought to the fore recently, scheduling problems resulting in delays that then resulted in the deaths of veterans.

I think the solution to the problem is rather simple. Instead of forcing veterans to attend a Veterans Administration Hospital for treatment, we as a country should pay for veterans to obtain treatment on the open market at a local hospital in their community instead of having to travel to a V.A. Hospital.

Paying for veterans to obtain medical care on the open market makes huge financial sense, for one thing. Some veterans have to be transported great lengths to receive treatment since they live hundreds of miles from the nearest VA Hospital. When scheduling exceeds capability to provide medical care, give the veteran the option of visiting another medical facility on the open market. Why let a medical problem exacerbate itself and become more expensive because we are making the veteran wait for care? Medical issues generally become more expensive to treat the longer into the condition or malady, any doctor will tell you that. Since we use tax payer dollars to pay for the treatment, why make it more expensive?

Our elderly who have not offered up their lives for their country or served in the military are eligible for free medical care and we do not make them go to a special hospitals for “the elderly” like we make our veterans attend VA Medical facilities. Could you imagine what would happen if we made our elderly visit special hospitals for the elderly? Could you imagine the political cacophony of screams coming from the retired? They are making us go to “death hospitals!” It is a valid fear really. So why do we force our veterans to do just that, visit special, overcrowded hospitals?

Let me add that I am not saying we should dismantle the current VA Hospital system, quite the contrary. We should enhance it. Certain war related catastrophic wounds are best treated by specialists who see that type of injury all of the time. But not all such battlefield injuries require those types of specialists. Therefore, I believe we can fund enhancements to our VA Hospital system through properly managing care for our veterans by providing choices.

My local VA hospital is an excellent facility and has not had any of the problems we have been hearing about in the news. But veterans who live in the northern part of the state have to travel hundreds of miles to receive advanced medical care and their families often have to stay several nights away from their homes when there are local hospitals right there in their own community offering the same care. Why do we put them through that? Again, could you imagine the raucous cries if we made the elderly do that, travel half way across the country for care? And most of them haven’t even served in the military.

I think this is a better way of dealing with the problem of overburdened VA facilities. Use of the facilities is slated to increase as The US draws down in Afghanistan completely so the problems are likely to get worse.

It’s time to give our veterans a choice option when it comes to care.

It is an indication of the failure of our country’s entitlement culture when we pay for our elderly to use whatever hospital they choose and they have not even served in the military while we force our veterans, many of them elderly themselves in to crowded VA Hospitals. It is just plain wrong. Veterans pay taxes too AND have served their country. So why are they being treated like second class citizens?

It’s time to give veterans a choice when it comes to receiving medical care. Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes huge financial sense.

Contact your Senators and Congressmen and tell them you think veterans should have a choice to receive care on the open market by clicking here Find Your Elected Representatives and send them an email.

You will be doing every veteran in America a big favor and saving yourself some money at the same time. And that’s what America is really all about. It ain’t about entitlements.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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There has been a lot of negative hype about the Obama Administration’s Health Care Law which has been going gradually into effect. In fact some believe Obamacare was one of the driving forces behind the formation of The Tea Party.

There is one provision in Obamacare which I find entirely acceptable, though.

There is one crucial element of Obamacare that I believe is so significant that were it not for the other equally unacceptable aspects of the law (the requirement to purchase health insurance, for example), I would not change a thing, and that one crucial element is the prohibition of “pre-existing conditions” clause, that health insurance companies cannot avoid paying for treatment because someone has a “pre-existing condition.”

I have no way of knowing but I’d be willing to wager that it is the very reason The Tea Party is getting so much support from the health insurance industry (not to mention what I call the “Big Business Robot Frontmen,” so-called conservatives lining up at the Health Insurance Industry trough), that the health insurance industry wants to create political discord in relation to Obamacare because that very provision, “the no pre-existing conditions” clause in the law, is not “in the profit plan.” Nothing wrong with making a profit, as I’ve said many times before. In fact, it’s great! Unless of course it is making everyone sick.

And when all is said and done, when this thing makes it to The Supreme Court, I doubt it will be determined that you can refuse someone because they have a pre-existing condition in the same way that say an auto insurance company can turn someone down because they are a repeat OWI offender. There is a big difference. People generally don’t have a choice with regard to pre-existing conditions.

If there is one thing that comes from Obamacare in the “no pre-existing conditions” clause in the law is that it seems to me to be the beginning, it signifies a new, sensible form of regulation that the government hasn’t been able to induce from within for a long time. All to often there is an over abundant, all-encompassing agency of regulation to the point of stifling manufacturing and industry in general, which the conservative side of the aisle makes known to good standing. But the “no pre-existing conditions” clause within Obamacare seems like a healthy regulatory maneuver on its own merits.

It is yet to be determined if The Supreme Court will throw the entire law out or if they will find parts of it unconstitutional. Let’s just hope they get to it before this entire episode in American History makes everyone sick.

Copyright © William Thien 2011

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The premise of my most recent essay on health care is that our current system of medicine in The United States is more expensive and less efficient than many socialized systems in other countries because their people live longer and pay less for the services. That’s pretty significant. They don’t want you to know that here in The United States.

I concluded that the reason our system is less efficient and more expensive is that we pay into many systems, our own private health insurance, as well as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The administrative costs to maintain those systems and administer medicine is enormous. In contrast, in a country with socialized medicine, or perhaps theoretically a single, privatized system, they pay into only one system which is much less complicated, much less expensive, and often more efficient due to its simplified design.

The problem many conservatives have with government-run health care, or socialized medicine, is that it means more government. But I’ve proven that our current system of medicine in The United States, which is really a contrivance of a number of systems, is actually more government than in many of those countries with socialized medicine. Why? Because we have several systems all working at once with redundancies and multiple administrative costs to accomplish one goal, America’s health.

This raises the question, then, with conservatives believing in less government, and a one system form of socialized medicine which exists in other countries being less government than the system we currently have composed of many complicated systems, it raises the question, would conservatives go for such a single, socialized system (or privatized) of health care if it means less government, less cost, and more efficiency, or, would conservatives simply have an ideological difference which prevents them from accepting such a system of medicine even if it meant a substantial cost savings and that citizens subject to such a system of medicine lived longer, or, is there another factor in the equation that we don’t know about, that of the health insurance lobbyist that likes things this complicated because it is more profitable?

That’s a long question. That’s a good question. It’s the question they don’t want anyone to ask of the general public, I guarantee.

As a conservative myself I can honestly say that if it meant substantially less government and less cost and I got more out of such a health care system, my answer would be a definitive “YES!”

But America is not those other countries. Our social makeup is far more complex. We speak many languages and have many customs whereas in other countries, they have a more homogenous population, all speaking one language, perhaps all eating very similar foods and having similar behaviors. It stands to reason that it would be less complicated to treat such a population.

Yet, it still doesn’t negate the fact that our system of medicine in The United States is very complicated and as a result more expensive and probably less efficient, even though many trumpet our advances in medical science and diagnosis. The fact remains that people often live longer in countries with socialized medicine and if you ask me, longevity is really the final word on whether a system of medicine is effective or not.

And, as a country desperately looking to trim the budget, maybe we should look into it, even if it means less cost and better services.

I think the question at the back of everyone’s mind is, “has anyone done the math, yet?”

Copyright © William Thien 2011

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I really don’t know what to make of this story except that it is an indication how haywire the social safety net has become in this country.

I was chatting recently with a friend of mine on the telephone and he tells me this story about someone he used to work with that was laid off. The guy who was laid off owns cats and likes his cats very much. One day when he gets up in the morning he notices there is something wrong with one of his favorite cats and so he takes the animal in to the veterinarian.

After a few minutes the vet comes out and says his cat is going to need a $4500 operation. Luckily, the guy says, he’d saved some money before he was laid off and he can pay for it. Go ahead, he tells the vet, let’s do it.

Two months later the guy himself finds out that he himself needs to have some medical work done and it turns out the doctor’s bills approach thirty-five hundred dollars. But since he was laid off, he lost his health insurance. And since he spent the money on his cat’s surgery two months prior, he can’t cover the cost of his own health care anymore. He didn’t buy his own private insurance plan. Now he doesn’t know what to do.

So, he files with the government that he is unable to pay for the doctor’s bills. Now you and I are paying for his doctor’s bills when, had he not paid to have $4500 dollars of veterinarian work done on his cat, he would have had the money.

I like animals as much as the next guy. But this seems to me to be a little insane and is a clear indication of how haywire the social safety net has become in this country. And I’d be willing to bet many of those cat women out there, you know, the ones that have three or more cats, and there are a lot of them, have done just what that guy has done. It’s not just the money, it’s the cost to administer the money as well.

And it’s the insanity of it all.

It’s Not My Cat. Why Do I have to Pay to Have it Cured? Because that’s effectively what has happened, make no mistake. And it probably happens all the time.

Copyright © William Thien 2011

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