The Secret About Our Healthcare System

There is a dark secret about healthcare in this country: The quality of our system is poor and millions of Americans can't afford health insurance. Poor Americans receive Medicaid, but too many experience inferior medical care. Also, lots of health care providers and doctors don't want to accept Medicaid payments, which attempts to place limits on medical charges.

Retired Americans depend upon Medicare to meet medical needs, but there are serious gaps and limitations in the coverage. Retired citizens who are middle class can not afford to pay for long term care services available in nursing care homes or residential care facilities. Many of our hospitals are managed poorly, have unacceptable mortality and infection rates, and are depressing places to die in.

The quality of our health care in this nation seems to be totally dependent on one's ability to pay. But prescription costs, doctor visits, mental health services, and surgical care are starting to place a huge financial burden on all of us. The rich can afford to pay for high medical costs, the middle class is experiencing inconsistent care, and the poor depend on what they get in our emergency rooms. Unfortunately, too many doctors and hospitals have become so busy that human emotions, compassion, and sensitivity have become lost in the shuffle.

Too often, pills, computers, and specialized machines have become substitutes for the health care professional's time and attitude of tender loving care. It is time that we do something positive to reform are whole health care system. Now that we have been honest and open about the problem, let's go to the next steps on The Emotional Recovery Card. (EMC is my unique life coaching approach to personal and social change.

) Stop and Think: Let's stop approaching health care from the point of view of one's ability to pay or as some simple commodity at the whims of our market economy. Health care should become a basic human right. So, let's stop and think more about that. Face Triggers: We need to face our red flags, and see the private health insurance industry for what it really is: a business that seeks to make a profit from healthy people who don't need it very often. These corporations just keep striving to reduce coverage for "pre-conditions", and they lobby against legislation to extend national coverage to the sick, poor, and elderly. Some hospitals are red flags, because they are corporations who profit from becoming more specialized, bureaucratized, mechanized, and computerized.

Then there are the doctors who become red flags. Some embrace their dark secret of unlimited income, rather than remembering their oath to do no harm to those who suffer and need relief from pain. Our government is a red flag because for too long it has submitted to the will of medical lobbyists, insurance corporations, and pharmaceutical companies. Why can't government be more sensitive to the needs of a majority of Americans buckling under the strain of our health care crisis? Face Feelings: Apparently, the insurance industry, medical and hospital associations, the pharmaceutical companies, and our federal government are afraid to try a new and more responsive health care system. I assume they don't want to lose money, power, or influence. It makes me angry to sense they refuse to face their own dark secrets.

They claim a national health care system would decrease the quality of health care by taking away the profit motive. Of course, they avoid facing the fact that the profit motive is precisely the cause of our health care crisis. It is sad to think that CEO's of these corporations are making six figure incomes off the suffering of more than 47 million Americans who don't have any health care coverage. How do you really feel about that? And why do our political and business leaders seem so reluctant to look at the pros and cons of national health systems in Canada, the Netherlands, England, Germany and other European nations? Can we forgive ourselves for thinking, believing, and pretending that our health care system based on profit is better than theirs? Admit Powerlessness: We do have a sense of being powerless to change the system. We remain at the mercy of the insurance companies who cancel our coverage because we have AIDS, Cancer, or some other expensive and catastrophic illness. We can't seem to budge certain hospitals that have turned medical care into assembly lines for beds, and patient charts, rather than a haven for love, compassion, and healing.

Many of us are powerless to change the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry, which say the market economy must determine the price for all health care costs. At times, we can become hopeless or apathetic about professional politicians who are dependent on political contributions from the health care industry to get the money they need to stay in office. I will complete our discussion of healthcare reform in my next article: The Dark Secret About Healthcare Part II.

Gary Eby has a Masters in Social Work. He has worked more than 37 years as a professional social worker. He is the author of Challenging Your Dark Secret. Visit his site at: http://www.challengedarksecret.com

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