To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Observercast

Medicine’s Fiscal Cliff

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BY SHARON MARTIN

While Republican governors like Rick Scott and Mary Fallin play politics with the Affordable Care Act [passed by the U.S. Congress, signed by the U.S. President, and certified constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court], people are dying for lack of health care.

Uninformed citizens blame socialist medicine for the problem. I blame insurance and pharmaceutical companies who put their profits ahead of affordable health care.

Here’s a good example of what’s wrong with the health care system in our country:

A friend of mine has sleep apnea. She knew she did, because her husband would wake her at night shaking her and exhorting, “Breathe. Breathe.”

Insurance didn’t cover testing, without which you can’t get a CPAP machine, so her husband ponied up the $2,500 for the sleep test. She’s one of the lucky ones. The outside testing person who contracts with the rural hospital where the test took place stopped testing after two hours and hooked her up to a CPAP machine.

The insurance company didn’t pay for the test, but with proof, they paid for the machine. Logic, anyone?

Now, here’s a clue to our fiscal problems – family bankruptcies, the hue and cry over Medicaid, and the looming Medicare crisis. No, it’s not the sleep test and CPAP machine, although both are overpriced. It’s the mask.

Each month my friend is allowed a replacement piece, an oval of plastic that fits on the mask to provide a seal against her face. There may be 50 cents worth of soft plastic and two hard tabs. The invoice comes with the pack. The price billed to the insurance company? Seventy-five dollars.

Of course, this isn’t what the insurance company pays. That’s a mere $50-plus. Explains why insurance costs so much, doesn’t it? But the poor uninsured! Can they afford to treat their sleep apnea?

No.

Can we afford to let the market decide who gets treatment for treatable ailments?

No.

Is it time for universal health care?

Yes!

Sensible pricing for medical care and pharmaceuticals, universal coverage, education, and preventive care can fix a lot of what ails our economy. It’s time to quit playing politics with health care reform and just get the job done.

Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer

 

1 COMMENT

  1. The fundamental question is: “Is it in the NATIONAL interest to have a healthy population?” No politician has had the guts to ask it.

    If the answer is no, your next question is: “Then who do you throw under your bus?”

    If the answer is yes, their next question is: “How do you (we?) pay for it?”
    The reply is: “We are not the only (albeit the last) developed nation to face this question. We are not experiment #1. We can and should learn from the experience of other countries and come up with an approach that suits us – and then fix it as needed.”

Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton
Arnold Hamilton became editor of The Observer in September 2006. Previously, he served nearly two decades as the Dallas Morning News’ Oklahoma Bureau chief. He also covered government and politics for the San Jose Mercury News, the Dallas Times Herald, the Tulsa Tribune and the Oklahoma Journal.