Thursday, July 26, 2007
SICKO -laugh and cry
I saw "Sicko" last night...Michael Moore's latest documentary about the health care industry in the U.S. Let me tell you..he got it right! The movie was chuckle out loud (col) funny and at the same time, left the viewer with a feeling of outrage. For every outrageous insurance denial story, every doctor I know could supply 100 more. See my prior post on one such denial and how it affected a young family.
If you see Sicko, you can't be in denial anymore. We don't have the best healthcare in the world. We don't take good care of our population and we don't have a compassionate society. We need to admit the brutal truth and move on.
We Americans need to quit making excuses about how hard it will be to cover every man, woman and child with health insurance. It isn't that hard...it just takes a groundswell of outrage. We need to quit being afraid of "government" controlled medicine and expand Medicare for everyone. I never hear a patient complain about Medicare. Old folks love Medicare. It needs to be revamped and remodeled anyway and this would be the time to do it. Keep it possible for folks to buy private insurance to supplement the benefits. Stop the cost shifting of 47 million uninsured (and millions more underinsured who are paying their own way ). Get rid of Medicaid and roll those dollars into Medicare. Get rid of the costly Part D pharmacy benefits that simply shift billions of dollars to big Pharma, their pharmacy benefit subsidiaries and the insurance companies. Make sure everyone has a "medical home" that can focus on preventive medicine and disease management. Reorganize medical training and reimbursement to "save" primary care as it is gasping its last breath.
Couple healthcare reform with healthy life reform. Get rid of soda in schools, build playgrounds, community gardens and re institute sports. Have carrot snack breaks in preschool and tax the #@*& out of cigarettes.
Who is going to pay for all of this? We are! But we are paying for it anyway in huge insurance bills, state and federal taxes, lower wages, staying at dead end jobs to keep insurance benefits and anxiety about growing old.
See Sicko and don't believe it can't be done. We start by making sure everyone is covered with health benefits and has good access to medical care.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:12 PM