Wednesday, September 9, 2009

By Adam Lindheim

With the president’s speech on Wednesday, the debate of a national health care plane has reached its climax. There are two sides to the issue, one being whether or not everyone should be insured by a government supplies health care plan, or if we should continue on our current path of private health care. Those who believe we should have a national plan believe it is necessary because of the lack coverage of their insurance companies. Others would rather control their own medical decisions, and some believe the plan just is not properly formatted to complete its mission.

In a recent study by Drs. David Himmelstien and Steffie Woolhandler of Harvard Medical School, Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School, and Deborah Thorne a Sociology professor of Ohio University found that American’s filing for bankruptcy was for the most part solidly middle class before the medical disaster hit. Of those surveyed two-thirds had owned their home, and three-fifths had gone to college. Medical problems caused Sixty-two percent of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 according the Harvard study. Seventy-eight percent of those filers had medical insurance, including sixty point three percent who had private coverage. This is a drastic change if we are to compare these numbers to 1981. Only eight percent of families filing for bankruptcy in 1981 said that a serious medical problem was the cause to their bankruptcy. In a 2001 study done by the same researchers, they found that a serious illness or medical bills had caused fifty percent of all bankruptcy filings. “For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, co-payments and deductibles that an illness can put you in the in the poorhouse,” said lead author Himmelstien. “Unless you’re Warren Buffet, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.” This study reinforces President Obama’s call for reform in the medical insurance industry. There is still a strong resistance to this reform by not only those who have private insurance, but doctors as well.

Arthur Feldman a cardiologist and chair of the department of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, as well as the author of the book Pursuing Excellence in Healthcare: Preserving America’s Academic Medical Centers. Feldman wrote an article in the Washington Post called “10 Things I Hate about Healthcare Reform.” I have chosen the 3 points I agree with the most, but all of them are valid points and should be considered all the equally important. Point Three on Feldman’s list is “Prevention wont magically make cost go down.” President Obama believes by paying for vaccines, and attempting to prevent disease costs will go down. Dr. Feldman believes prevention will actually make costs go up, because you will have to continually provide care for these diseases, and believes as long as things like McDonalds, cigarettes, alcohol, and the pollution of the environment are around so will sickness. Point six was “We have to streamline drug development and shake up the FDA.” There are to many hurdles to get drugs passed, and the FDA is to small to pass drugs threw the system that can help patients. Plus new clinical trials for drugs are now done outside the U.S, which takes money out of the U.S. economy. Point 7 was “We can’t fund health-care reform by cutting payments to doctors.” Dr. Feldman believes we need to pay for quality in order to receive the proper care we need and deserve. Cutting payment to doctor’s can only create a hairy mess. Other than Dr. Feldman’s beliefs, American citizens all over are protesting their beliefs trying to influence the government,

In Raleigh, North Carolina Protestors stormed their capital building expressing their beliefs. There were those who had filed for bankruptcy because of their high medical bills, and those who wanted their medical coverage to stay between their insurance companies and their doctors. Wednesday night President Obama will deliver his speech to the whole nation, and a eventually congress will make a decision, but until there I would suggest trying to stay healthy.

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