Pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions
Dooce has written a post about what health care reform means for her family. In short, she, her husband, and her daughter Leta have been been denied coverage by private insurance companies for “pre-existing conditions.” They have had to buy expensive state-run high-risk cover. This bill means that they will actually be able to get OFF the public option and into the private system. Excellent. (Also note: John’s pre-existing condition is HAYFEVER. You’ve gotta be kidding me, right? If I lived in the U.S., that’d be me. WTF?!)

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  1. Nice to have insurance and have things paid for but now there’s going to be rationing of care….which is the lesser of 2 evils here- no money in your pocket or having to wait for a procedure/medicine that you need RIGHT NOW? Mortality rates will increase unless the focus is on disease prevention. Let me add that even though people have insurance, it doesn’t mean they are going to use it for preventative medicine, thus, increasing the demand of goods and services that are more expensive b/c the focus of care after disease sets in and becomes a chronic issue is long term care, including medications, costly xray and CT scans, surgeries, home medical equipment, home health care, nursing home care, extended hospitalizations etc. The list goes on. Unless you can mandate and monitor the health habits of this Big Mac/supersize nation, people will not change the way they are caring for themselves at home. Not a sustainable system for the long run. Medicare and Social Security are 2 great ideas but they are proving unsustainable in the long run. I am for healthcare reform, not entitlements, b/c government run programs are a bandaid for larger issues. People should never be denied healthcare. Unfortunately, healthcare is a business and will remain that way b/c it involves goods and services that are not free and never will be. It needs reform in many ways but I am fearful for the future of this particular bill. People genuinely believe this is THE simple fix and I think there is some blindness to some major issues. Not saying everything in that bill is bad- it’s not. In principle, it’s fine but in practice….time will tell.

  2. I understand your fears, and I can appreciate that as someone who works in the healthcare industry you’ve got a unique perspective on this. But I live in a country with government provided insurance and I have never once not received the care I needed when I needed it. When my foot started bothering me during a run a few weeks ago – hardly an emergency, really – my doctor referred me for a bone scan. I had the appointment within days, and it didn’t cost me a cent. I just don’t understand why the U.S. can’t have a similar system, or why it would be a bad thing. The bill isn’t perfect by any means, and it will cost money to implement. But in my experience over the past 10 years (in the UK and Aus), it’s worth it not to worry about losing everything if you get sick.

  3. There are a couple of graphs out there that plot health care spend vs life expectancy for around 40 countries. It’s remarkable how much of an outlier the USA is – they spend way more than anyone else on health care and have a lower life expectancy than many other developed countries. Some may argue that it’s the huge amount that is spent on “preventative” medicine that is part of the problem….

  4. Julie, I know what you’re talking about and I agree with you to a point-we do spend more and our dollars spent don’t correlate with life expectancy, however, you cannot argue that too much is spent on preventative medicine. People aren’t getting routine tests done to identify disease processes early, requiring a full ancillary of services when those diseases are finally discovered. Additionally, b/c we have no torte reform, doctors order TONS of unecessary tests so that they don’t get sued b/c they missed something. A “just in case” mentality really really hurts our system. Rather than practicing good, scienctifically based medicine, doctors are picturing themselves in the courtroom.
    Kris, I’m happy to hear about your good experiences and can only hope we don’t have glitches in our system that cost people their health or their lives. Our care system isn’t good enough the way it is for the wealth and resources we have in this country and to add this could be risky…time will tell.

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