I’ve been watching the debate over socialized, government run and paid for Health Care with a great deal of interest. This is not the first time the government has talked about nationalizing Health care, and after the massive changes that were made in anticipation of HillaryCare . . . well, that’s something I’m not looking forward to doing again.
I’m noticing, though, that as a Healthcare worker and the former proprietor of my own business, there are a few items that don’t seem to make it into the refular news about the Healthcare Plan the government is pushing.
So let’s talk about those for a second, shall we?
1. Seventy Percent (70%) of any business is personnel costs. When the Obama Administration wants to “cut healthcare costs”, they want to cut the salaries of every Physician, Nurse, and Nurse’s aide. Most people think we make pretty good money, so giving healthcare workers a pay cut isn’t a big deal, right?
Unfortunately, it is. As an LVN nurse I make less than a McDonald’s assistant manager. An RN nurse makes significantly less than a McDonald’s manager. Nurse”s Aide’s are paid less than bus drivers — about 2/3rds of a bus driver’s salary, in fact. While physicians make more, they also pay outrageous rates for malpractice insurance. One obstetrician I knew paid over $125,000 a year for malpractice insurance — and that was 20 years ago.
In fact, malpractice is one of the driving costs of health care — but more on that in a bit. Suffice it to say doctor’s are not paid nearly as well as you think they are, after student loans and malpractice insurance.
And most healthcare workers I know haven’t had any raises in 6 years or more. Doesn’t look like they’re likely soon, either, at this rate.
2. Medicare is not just an EXAMPLE of Socialized Health care; it sets the standard. You want to know what Socialized (or “Single-Payer” as they’re calling it) health care will be like? I guarantee it won’t be any better than Medicare is now. How could it be — that’s the only working model the federal government has, besides the Veterans Administration.
And if you think your ‘Single-Payer” Health Care Plan is going to be any better than Medicare or the VA, you’ve got another think coming, brother.
And while President Obama is promising to pay for this plan with “savings”, there just aren’t enough savins to fund the plan anymore. Let
s take dialysis, because I’m a dialysis nurse. Medicare pays $660 for a dialysis treatment. Private insurance pays more than that, but only for 6 months – after that they can legally drop you. Medicatre pays for treatments after six months, and pays for better than 95% of all dialysis in the USA.
How much does it actually cost for a dialysis treatment? It costs about $200.00 to set up a dialysis machine; the tubing costs $125.00 approximately, and the dialyzer (the artificial kidney) costs a minimuj of $50-$75. The personnel cost for a 4 hour treatmentplus 1 hour setup and breakdown/cleaning time (for a mandated 2 nurses) is another $300. Costs of the facility (water purification, rent, heating/cooling, medical supplies) are around another $150.00.
That’s a total of approximately $650.00 — and Medicare only pays $660 for a dialysis treatment, remember?
Now, there’s a problem: when you pump someone’s blood out of their body, it tends to want to clot up. About one treatment in 20 does that — that means another $200.00 to re-string and set up the machine again. Does Medicare pay for that? No,no they don’t.
So where does that money come from?
From cutting corners. No one wants to do it, but you have to in order to keep the hospital in business. Sometimes there’s not two nurse’s available. Sometimes you split a package of gauze sponges between two patients. Sometimes the patient doesn’t need two liters of saline; only one.
Is that safe? Usually, yes. Nobody wants to lose their license; believe me.
But do youwant to be the patient they cut services on?
3. The next time you see some ‘Professor of Medicine” talking head on the news talking about how great One-Payer will be, just tune him right out. He Has No Clue how it is now!
For one thing,I personally carry a copy of the Texas Department of Health regulation on dialysis. I would carry a copy of the Medicare regulations too, but they’re too large to fit on a Blackberry, and they constantly change. We are in almost constant violation of one regulation or another – because the rules change constantly, and it’s impossible to keep up.
For another, in excess of 60-70% of your healthcare dollar is spent on the last six months of life or on people with disabilities. (In the elderly we call this the “million-dollar workup” – accomplishes nothing other than covering the doctor’s and hospital’s liability. Without Tort reform, costs will continue to spiral as liability insurance continues to increase. There is no damned reason in the world that any physician or healthcare worker found guilty of negligence or malpractice should pay anything other than (a) medical costs for the patient until they are healed, however long that takes – or (b) a standard amount for damages (say $200,000 or so.) These multi-million dollar damages for medical malpractice are not in any way fair compensation — they’re legalized revenge against people with more money than the victims.
4. Peter Orsazg – Abortion funding is “something we’re open to.” and “we can’t rule it out.”
This will not be about Healthcare. It will be about Politically correct medicine. Forced Cholesterol Control. Forced weight loss. Forced Tobacco Cessation. Abortion on demand. I can’t wait until somebody decides nose-picking causes sinus damages, and we outlaw that, too. Drinking while pregnant will no longer be socially unacceptable; it will be a felony.
5. My buddy Marcus Wilder (Twitter’s @NaiveAbroad), who sold insurance for many years, has noted that “there is no such thing as Health ‘Insurance’”. Car, Auto, and Life Insurance is where they collect money and establish a Reserve of cash to pay out claims. Premiums are designed to cover the estimated costs in a year’s time, and to add samll amount to replenish the reserves for inflation and unanticipated losses.
In Health Care it;s completely different. Health ‘Insurance’ is actually cash flow management, where the monies coming in are always (hopefully) equal to the monies going out. In many ways the same thing as Social Security; sort of a legalized Ponzi Scheme.
Think Bernie Madoff in Senator’s clothing. Or, rather, think of it in real world terms; do you want Al Franken in charge of whether you get well or not?
Is he smart enough?
Is he good enough?
Does anyone actually like him?
Don’t forget — this is the guy who debated an episode of Perry Mason with the supreme Court nominee during the confirmation hearings.
So despite the facts that:
- The Health Care Reform will be presided over by failed comedians, unindicted co-conspirators, politically correct thugs, and was designed by a guy who left his secretary to drown;
- There are only two ways to cut costs in Health insurance: cut personnel (as I mentioned before) or cut services;
- They will never be able to provide all things to all people as the Obama Administration is promising without denying something to someone else;
- The best attempts the government has made previously at Health Care resulted in Medicare and the Veterans Administration, and
- There is no guarantee to control the real driving cost of health care, which is malpractice insurance (which is driven by Tort costs)
. . . the Obama administration isstill hell-bent for leather to drive the nationalization of 17% of our national economy anyway.
I do not think it is an understatement — and i base this on man, many conversations with other nurses and doctors — that a lot of us — a lot of us — will get out of healthcare and do something else rather than work for this monstrosity.