Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre-Existing Condition Scenario

The following is a little healthcare scenario concerning pre-existing conditions:

Patient: Do you have my test results?

Doctor: Yes. I'm sorry to report that you have pancreatic cancer.

Patient: What is my prognosis, Doctor?

Doctor: You have six months to live.

Patient: Is there no cure?

Doctor: We have made great strides in cancer cures, but pancreatic cancer is particularly difficult. There are things we can try, but there is no guarantee of success.

Patient: What is the record of cure for other pancreatic cancer cases?

Doctor: There is no actual cure. Those who have gone through the treatment regimen, as compared to those who have not, lived a week longer on average.

Patient: That doesn't sound very encouraging. An extra week of life is not very long. Is the Treatment Expensive?

Doctor: It runs about $100,000.

Patient: I can't afford that, and even if I could I doubt that I would spend $100,000 for one more week of life.

Doctor: Don't you have health insurance?

Patient: Yes, but it doesn't cover cancer treatment.

Doctor: You could switch to the new Government Option Healthcare Insurance.

Patient: But now that I know I have pancreatic cancer, that would be a pre-existing condition for new insurance purposes.

Doctor: True, but the Government Option Healthcare System allows pre-existing conditions.

Patient: That sounds good to me, but should government be paying $100,000 to give me one more week of life?

Doctor: My personal opinion is you should not be concerned with that. The voting public, who are also mostly tax payers asked Congress to give you that right. The president signed the bill and the benefit is there for you and me to use.

Patient: It doesn't seem right that I should ask taxpayers to pay for something that I wouldn't pay for myself, but it's free stuff, let's do it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Public Option?

There has been much written concerning the very complex details of healthcare. It is essentially impossible to to keep up with them.

However, there are some key aspects, which are relatively easy to grasp.

We are now socially in a "fad" concerning healthcare. The general public wants to live forever and are pursuing Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth. Conversion to dependence on government over the last 50 years has led to the belief that the "Fountain" is government. Everybody likes free stuff, and government will supply it. This is why Obama has a greater than 50% approval rating.

Recent polls show that the general public has essentially no idea of the meaning of "Public Option". They will vote for it as part of the free stuff, not realizing that the "Option" is temporary. They will initially have an opportunity to choose between government and private offered health insurance programs. Since government will offer a better deal on free stuff, they will choose the government plan. Within five years, private insurance plans will longer exist, since they will have been unable to compete with government. Where then is the option?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bacchus Healthcare

Sen. Cornyn has an Update, entitled "Sen. Cornyn: The Best Prescription For Health Care Reform". I've replied to him as follows:

"Dear Sen. Cornyn,

I have read your "Best Prescription for Health Care Reform". You expended a lot of herbage describing what you have done on healthcare. I suppose your intention was to have my sympathies in saying, 'Well. It's a foregone conclusion. The Baucus bill will pass, but Sen. Cornyn really tried".

However, that is not my belief. I don't believe you tried hard enough. You fully recognized that you are in a minority position and yet beat your head against the wall of majority Senate opinion, based on party affiliation, by not using a little imagination. Circumvent the obvious obstacles. What have you done to establish coalition with Democrats who seriously believe in fiscal responsibility? I suspect there are many of them, who will desert party lines. You may also have to desert party lines on other matters in order to gain cooperation. Money is the big thing. Idealism and compassion for the noncovered are always secondary.

The vote is not yet in. Get out there and establish a consolidated block to defeat the Baucus bill."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prostate Cancer and Healthcare

E-mail to Rep. Neugebauer:

I read your latest "Roundup".

I can understand the emotional impact that your recent cancer surgery has had on you. However, I believe you are over-generalizing the public case. As I have told you previously, there appear to be two types of prostate cancer; slow-growing and fast-growing. It is unreasonable to ignore that distinction, because the great majority of men have slow-growing cancer and will die of disease or internal organ failure unrelated to their cancer.

In spite of many years of work by health scientists on cancer, we still have no complete understanding of it. Therefore as is usually the case with ignorance of an important subject, there is great emotional fear. That fear can usually minimized by further education and an analytical approach. For example, we now know that pancreatic cancer is different from brain cancer and kidney cancer. Is there no reason to believe that there are two kinds of prostate cancer? Even if there are not two kinds, the human genomic system varies from individual to individual, so that the majority of men with prostate cancer will not die of it.

A comment also on the PSA testing. Experience has shown that there are many false positives and that many persons with truly high PSAs do not actually succumb to prostate cancer.

To put things in perspective, men should not now sit around worrying whether they have prostate cancer. We have enough of this public hypochondriac attitude, which has led to the general public panic regarding healthcare and health care insurance. Men should have a routine physical checkup, at which time the functional effectiveness and health of various internal organs, such as heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, prostate, etc., should be checked.

Thanks for explaining your healthcare insurance program. It appears that your healthcare insurance provider is the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP). You pay premiums to the FEHBP, which is similar to what non-government employees pay to their private insurance companies. The question still remains as to why federal employees need to have a government-run (FEHBP) health insurance organization and will not use private insurance companies, as the rest of us do.

Thanks also for your help in detailing the Obama Administration's government-run healthcare program. "Public Option" is a misnomer. It is not at all an option. It is a mandate. Those of us who were in World War II understand mandates. It means "you will do it!", or suffer the consequences which usually meant the "stockade" (another term for jail).

Many of us agree with your position that government should not pay for abortions. However, many of us also a believe that government has no right to dictate that a pregnant woman must deliver her child. We believe in freedom of choice, as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

I agree with your general approach to healthcare. Modifications in the healthcare system would obviously be desirable, but it is up to private industry and public market demand to make any changes. Government should have no preconceived notion of how it should be run and certainly no involvement in control, other than to enforce any antitrust activities. Several antitrust laws are already in existence.