Tuesday, March 25, 2008

the Problem with Healthcare

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting in on a speech by Dr. Hector Flores who is credited with strengthening the existing safety net and improving economic development in the East Los Angeles region. During the presentation I was shocked to see the statistics on the lack of healthcare in the less affluent areas of Los Angeles. I was upset thinking of parents with sick children and no health insurance and continued to ponder the presentation for the days to come.

Over spring break my grandfather fell and hit his head and was taken to the hospital. My grandfather immigrated to the United States in his early 20’s from Portugal with a sixth grade education. He worked extremely hard to buy and grow his own business and is now successful enough to be able to send twelve grandchildren to school.

My grandfather was at our local community hospital for a few hours after the fall and when I went in to see him he was being prepared to be put on a helicopter to go to Stanford. I could not help but wonder what would happen if my grandfather did not have health insurance or money to pay for the best medical care money can buy. I pulled one of the doctors wandering the halls of the ER aside and asked and was assured that ability to pay, whether through health insurance or not, was not taken into consideration. All people brought to the hospital will be given the best care and if need be will be sent to a hospital that is better equipped to deal with certain issues.

The conversation relieved my fears about sick poor children not being taken care of and also made me ponder whether health insurance was something all Americans are entitled to. Everyone will receive medical attention. The real problem is that in areas with poor socioeconomic status the health care resources will not be as adequate as they are in wealthy areas. This is not the failure of the healthcare system. To fix these issues the United States needs to focus on bringing economic stimulation to low income areas. They need to be safer and business friendly to increase economic activity and employ the people in the area. Safer more vibrant communities will increase the likelihood that healthcare services in the area are of high caliber.

It is also important to focus on lowering the costs of healthcare. Doing so will benefit all Americans and will allow those who do not have access to health insurance options to receive heath care.

All people have should be able to see a doctor and ensure that their children are growing up healthily, but a government run healthcare system is not the option. At work the past few days I have been scheduling meeting for my boss on his trip to Washington DC next month. Almost all of the offices can not even seem to handle a scheduling request for one person properly and with efficiency

If a small government office can not even handle the task of arranging a meeting I am unconvinced that the government should have any hand in arranging healthcare for the entire nation.

There are a lot of questions in my mind that need to be answered in regards to healthcare. In many ways I am still unsure about what needs to be done to fix the system. The one thing I do know is that it is a problem that the government largely needs to stay out of.


Tall Asian Guy said...

Yeah, I think the price for healthcare should be as low as possible while available to all who need it. That's why I support Obama's take on healthcare over Hillary's. Because requiring everyone to buy health insurance artificially increases the demand and the price for healthcare skyrockets; the exact same thing happened with CA state government and the required auto insurance (forced demand = super expensive car insurance)

Tall Asian Guy said...

p.s. I hope your grandpa is doing better.

"The conversation relieved my fears about sick poor children not being taken care of" = you're such an angel :)

blogger151 said...

I agree that all children and adults should be able to see a doctor. Parents should have the right to take their children to the doctor when their child is not feeling well, no matter how rich or poor that parent might be. You suggested that "a government run health care system is not the option" to fix the health care problem in the United States. Why not?

If we look at Canada and other places that have universal health care that is funded by the government, it seems to work. Although the conditions and situations within the U.S. are obviously very different, don't you think that there is some way that we can juxtapose a public health care system with a private?

To "the tall Asian guy." You commented that "the price of health care should be as low as possible while available to all who need it." I fear that you do not take into account the fact that the quality of health care would diminish incredibly if we just try and lower prices so that everyone can get health care. What do you think?

Tall Asian Guy said...

I do understand the negative consequences of widely available low cost healthcare. My grandfather currently suffers from a terminal cancer, and I get that privatized healthcare makes it slightly better for unusual, special medical problems such as cancer, alzheimer, etc. But I believe healthcare should be available at basic level to all people regardless of whether you're an investment banker or a trash collector, black or white, and so on.
We can cry all we want for not being able to save people from cancer and other types of disease that require advanced medicine, some of which can become available only if healthcare is "competitive" but so many children and poor people who cannot afford any care die young, die poor, and so on.

I believe health is a big determinant in one's happiness and since all have the right to pursuit of happiness, I think it's not only a humane thing to do, but also a constitutional mandate that we look after our brothers and sisters who die from easily-curable diseases just because of where they stand in the economic hierarchy.

The reason why U.S. stands as a lone nation among economically advanced nations for not having a national healthcare is not because national healthcare is not "competitive". It's because America is a nation filled with self-centered bastards who don't see their neighbors as fellow Americans but as "others" and "them".
It's the same reason why whites fled to suburbs and made "town homes" with walls around them and so on. We can spend hours and hours on it and sugar-coat it all we want, but the fact remains: people just don't give a shit about other people and they're happy as long as they're ok.
I'm speaking as a person who has comparative perspectives from living in different countries and communities.