I haven’t been blogging much the past week because I have some kind of weird joint flare-up in my right hand and it hurts a lot after I have been on the computer for any length of time, even a few minutes.
It’s kind of freeing to be out of the loop on political news, though. That stuff drives me crazy.
My situation has me thinking about our health care system in the US and the push to reform it.
I went to my doctor Monday about my hand. I had forgotten that my co-pay increased from $15 to $20. I remarked that it was a small price to pay for the care available to me. It really is. Obviously, we pay more than that for our monthly premium, and my husband’s employer pays even more than that, but what is it worth to me to be able to see a doctor within days of calling?
After examining me and ordering some blood work, the doctor referred to a rheumatologist. My appointment is in three weeks.
I was curious what the wait times are on such a non-urgent condition in Canada. Anecdotally, via message boards, people report waiting 4-6 months to see a rheumatologist. One person said 6-9 months. The Arthritis Community Research & Evaluation Unit reported, “In 2000, Ontarians with non-urgent arthritis waited an average of 10 weeks for an initial rheumatology consultation,” but I didn’t find anything more recent from them.
I worry that a shift to a health insurance system administered by the government will increase the wait times we experience here in the US, not just for rheumatology, but for everything.
Another concern I have is that we will see a two-tiered system, with only the rich having access to health care in a timely manner, and the rest of us being forced to wait for care.
I agree that we need changes in our health care/insurance system, but utilizing the government to equalize the system is not the answer. The government’s version of equality usually involves bringing everyone down.
Some changes that would be beneficial are:
- Universal insurance forms, to reduce administrative costs for doctors and hospitals.
- De-coupling insurance from employment, so people can take their policy with them when they change jobs or become self-employed.
- Making all health insurance related costs tax deductible and allowing the costs to be taken out of our paychecks pre-tax.
- Loosening regulation on what types of policies are available. Allowing catastrophic policies. Allowing a la carte options, instead of mandating what must be covered.
There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to reforming heath care in America. We have the best, fastest, most innovative health care system in the world. Let’s keep it that way.