For 25 years my chosen profession has been America's health care industry. My career began as a Navy corpsman, petty officer third class. After 6 years of active duty I continued working for the Navy as a government employed civilian. During my civilian employment I attended college and received my BS in biology. I passed the required test for licensing and became a licensed government health care worker.
Ability, ambition and advice quickly steered my employment into the welcoming arms of America's private health care industry. Before I continue with the story of that experience, I must preface it by stating that at that time in my life I honestly believed private health care in America was superior to military and government run health care. Even though as an adult I had no experience with and knew absolutely nothing about how the private health care system functioned. Yet I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that private health care was infinitely superior to government health care. I knew that private physicians cared more about their patients than military doctors. I knew that privately run hospitals were more efficient, better organized and better equipped. I knew that physicians working in the private sector were superior to military physicians because everyone told me so. I was assured by everyone that any intelligent physician would have to be crazy, a complete fool or a total fag to choose to be a military doctor.
And I drank it up like it was ice cold kool-aid on a hot summer's day.
I was wrong. I have never been so wrong about anything in my life as I was about my initial ideas regarding the private health care system in America.
My employer and I together pay a huge amount of money each month for health care insurance. I can't recall my last visit not the reason behind my last visit to the doctor's office but I can recall the agonizing process required to make that visit.
I remember searching for a physician that accepted my insurance. i remember calling a doctor's office in need of help and the first question I was asked was always, what insurance do you have. I remember that the number of doctors I couldn't go to outnumbered the number of doctors I could. I remember the paperwork and boy how I remember the wait. I remember having to pay a co-pay before I could see the physician. I remember saying to myself, "I haven't been to see a doctor in years, my employer and I have paid for my health insurance bi-weekly for years and yet I have to pay another $25 before my insurance company ever pays a cent."
Who created a system like this? What kind of person could create a health care delivery system that requires a patient with insurance to pay for services before those services are rendered. In the military, receiving medical treatment wasn't determined by an insurance company's profit margin. It was determined by the need of the patient.
Every year for the past 6 years I've seen insurance costs go up. During those same years I've seen the government cut medicare reimbursements to physicians, for lab tests, for x-rays, for scans, for hospital stays, for surgeries and almost every other procedure. I've seen the government cut payments for community services, ER services, ambulance service, and nearly every other service imaginable.
This is talked about nearly every day.
What isn't spoken of is the fact that insurance companies have been doing so much worse. They reimburse less than medicare does for nearly everything yet their prices continue to rise. They charge more and more fees everyday. Deductibles keep going up. There are co-pays on everything and they limit the customers choice at every turn.
How on earth can anyone, no matter how much money they make, think insurance run health care is better than government health care? That doesn't make any kind of sense at all. This idea that paying $1,500/month for private health care is better than paying $500/month for a government system is insane. We no longer pay for choice so why do we continue to pay?
The cost of health care doesn't make sense in our system. It hasn't for a long, long time.