One Percent Health Care Solution

One Percent Health Care Solution

Solving The Health Care Crisis Today

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FAQ

FAQ # 1) Where does the United States rank for health care statistics (2007)?

Life expectancy  (years):   United States                  Canada                   Sweden   

                   men                    75.6                          78.3                         78.7

                women                  80.8                          82.9                         83.0

 

 Lowest Infant Mortality:           25th                         #22                  Tied @ #3   (a lower # is better)

 

Teenager obesity (hallmark of future diabetes):

                   girls                      #2                                  #5                       not on list (i.e. even better)

                  boys                       #1    (fat!)                      #3                           “      “     ”

   From infancy to death - we pay more and get less - than these two democratic countries.  Are they socialist ?  Maybe they are, maybe they are not. Let us see. 

Statistics for FAQs 1 -3 from The Economist, Pocket World in Figures 2009 edition.

 

FAQ # 2) How do the economic factors of some other countries compare to the  United States as they relate to medical care?

                                                        United States                       Canada               Sweden

   GDP/person                                    $42,180                          $39,010                  $43,730

   Manufacturing % GDP                        20.9                                 29.1                        28.5

 

% GDP spent on  health care:                15.9                                9.7                            8.9

population:                                          300 m                            32.6 m                      9.1 m

$/person health care:                           $6,706                              $3,783                   $3,892

 

It is evident that both Canada and Sweden spend less on health care than the United States yet have better results with their care (FAQ # 1). It is also noteworthy that the manufacturing base in both countries has been better conserved than ours has been. This is a distressing statistic  given our current situation. Since the United States has 300 million people we must have spent a bit more.   300,000, 000 Americans  x  $2,868 (the difference between our cost per citizen and an average cost per person of Canada and Sweden) means that in 2007 we  may have spent about a trillion dollars too much. 

 $ 860, 000,000,000 - that’s a lot of extra money to spend  just to be able to brag that we don’t have universal health care.  Of course 47 million people lack health  care funding so that cuts the cost down a bit.

 

FAQ # 3) Are Canada and Sweden socialist or capitalist countries?

                                                                        United States                 Canada                       Sweden

Total  stock market capitalization:                       $ 19,947  bn                   $2,187  bn                $ 612 bn

population:                                                            301 m                       32.6 m                          9.1 m

capitalization/person                                          $ 66,269                        $ 67,086                      $67,253

     The remarkable consistency of these numbers (from 2007) indicates that if capital is the basis of capitalism these are three peas in the same pod. All of the world’s stock exchanges have been throttled by the recent sub-prime/debt swap debacle and all three are now much lower. However, from the standpoint of funding health care it is obvious that our current approach here in the U.S is just plain financially foolish.

 

FAQ #4) Dr. B - Would the 1% healthcare proposal keep anyone from getting or changing their physician?

Our current system is quite capable restricting our choice of physicians without any help from the 1% solution. While choice is important we know that 47 million U.S citizens have no choice whatsoever. Many of the remainder are limited by their health care plan, its policies, and by each patient’s geographical home.  The idea that we all have free choice is more than a little remote. What is really needed is a free choice in changing our physician when we want to change. The 1% solution would increase the possibility of change, not reduce that possibility.

The reality is that it is very difficult for a lay person to gain much of an idea as to how good their available medical program really is. We don’t find out about that until we get sick. If we could all figure that out in  advance why do we have so many medical malpractice cases (and so many malpractice attorneys)? 

 

FAQ # 5) Dr. B - Why do you believe that this plan would reduce health care costs. Would not the cost be the same or even more?

No. The cost of health care would be reduced by two features of the system. The first feature is that this plan does not suggest universal health care be paid for in advance.  The 1% plan is NOT a new health insurance program. Rather than accumulating the needed funds, payments would be made only for care actually given. The great majority of persons without a health care plan are not sick. There is no point a creating a fund for people who are well. When we pay for things in advance the entity accumulating the funds has frequently used the moneys for other purposes - profits,  executive pay,  bonuses, wars  etc., etc.  (Ring a bell?). Just look at Social Security. There is no real Social Security Trust fund. The Fund is an illusion created by government accounting.

   The other reason for reduced costs is the location of  most of the doctors and hospitals administering this care. They are not located in Beverly Hills, Manhattan, or Scarsdale. They are found in places like Watts, Ca, Newark, NJ, like rural South Dakota and Mississippi,  and like Bakersfield, Ca.   These hospitals and doctors don’t get paid for administering Botox or doing plastic surgery. They get paid for saving lives. Except that they very frequently do not get paid.

   With care-given reimbursement the 1% solution re-directs money to where it is needed most. The only way the doctors and hospitals involved can get reimbursed from the fund is to treat patients lacking health insurance.  And when the doctor  meets  the patient early in the disease process rather than on death’s door the cost is drastically reduced and the results dramatically improved! I have watched this system  since 1960 and I know exactly how it works and when it does not work. Very little of the system is working well at this time.

 

FAQ # 6)  Although appealing, why would any politician support the 1% solution? 

This is a very good question because it speaks to the heart of matter. Health care is one of the “third rails” in US politics. The reasons for this are the usual: principal and ideology. The word principal is not misspelled. I refer to the money that goes into electing our “representatives”.  The Medical Structure is 16% of GDP and the focus of the Structure’s campaign contributions has  for years been aimed at  preventing change. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Our whole system of government was arranged to prevent change. What the Founding Fathers called “checks and balances ” we call “gridlock”. And the design of this gridlock  is close to flawless. That’s why we only get dramatic improvements when the country has a current crisis or has just passed a crisis.  FDR, JFK/LBJ, Vietnam and, if we are smart, now.

   When the Constitution was written medical care was frequently as deadly as any disease. During the onset of our  Revolutionary War , Philadelphia - the ad hoc capital, had to deal with a Yellow Fever epidemic. Dr Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Constitution , used blood-letting to treat his patients. When the epidemic subsided Dr. Rush had to leave town for a while because it became clear that blood-letting was not very good for treating Yellow Fever.  Indeed,  the only medical term in our Consitution is “blood” as in the “blood of traitors”.

But you might say that in the very first part of the Declaration of Independence we do refer to our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Yet, our current medical system endangers our  lives by limiting who gets care and  limits our liberties by prolonging or ignoring many citizen’s illnesses.  And  I doubt the 47,000.000 citizens who help us pay for our government  most of their lives, yet are left out  because they are between jobs,  get much happiness from this situation.  Why are they left out?  Because of ideology. There is no right to medical care mentioned in the US Constitution or its Bill of Rights. And as long as we are willing to tolerate “Harry and Louise” commercials we will remain in the 18th century. Frankly, if continue this way, we probably deserve to be leached at least once a week.

 

FAQ # 7: Would State and Local governments benefit from this plan?

Yes. The States all have some form of care for the uninsured. However, these are very soft funds that are currently vanishing. The TV show 60 minutes recently outlined the closure of a “state charity” Cancer Center in Las Vegas. This is happening all over the country. The 1% plan would remove these patients from the the State, County and City tax burdens and fund payment for those in need using  the funds we already pay

 

FAQ # 8: Won’t this plan drain funds from those who have insurance and thereby damage their care?

It could if we allow American medicine  to continue on as it is now. A recent book  by Shannon Brownlee  (entitled  “Overtreated”) showed that  patients in urban areas paid substantially more for medical care than rural patients - without any demonstrable benefit. A large part of this excess was redundant studies and non-needed testing etc. Urbanites and rural folks all  lived  essentially the same length of time. There are therefore vast inequities to be found already in the American medical system. The solution to America’s medical troubles will be in converting the system to evidence-based medicine. We won’t be able to do this until we insert discipline into the system (like not demanding a brain scan for every head-bump,  stop living on pizza and Twinkies, and stop making  uninsured persons avoid medical care until they have stage 4 disseminated cancer. 

The reason we demand that emergency room doctors get a brain scan for all the little Freds that have bumped their heads is not because  Fred needs one. We force the doctors to do this because of their medical malpractice fears. When we  do this  we have already lost the battle. ER doctors know who needs a scan and who doesn’t. The local record is 25 kids getting brain scans in one night - all negative.

The 1% plan won’t change this situation. But it will make 47 million Americans a whole lot safer. When we know a trip to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care  clinic doesn’t also mean a trip to Bankruptcy Court - we will feel a lot better. Then we can have our sore throats treated and our cuts stitched  up and go back to looking for a job. 

FAQ # 9: With 47,000,000 currently uninsured why do you think that all these persons can be covered by the 1% healthcare funds?

    The 1% plan would yield around 60 billion dollars per year (3% of 2 trillion dollars). This is over $1200 dollars per year for each uninsured person. And this is 33% less than the aggregate providers agreed to 1.5 % in their meeting with the White House.

    Data from the Commonwealth Fund  has shown that 29% of persons in the age group 19-65 never had any health problems in any given year. Only 20% of the entire group took more than 6 sick days off a year from work. That means that 49% of this population were essentially well and needed minimal medical care! Six sick days is about 2% of a 270 day work year! And, how many people do you know that have tagged ”sick days” onto a vacation. That’s where “personal days” came from.

    Finally, many in the younger age group have accidents (car, work trauma etc ) which create  large medical bills paid for by other forms of insurance. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that a new and vast insurance apparatus will be a poor way to approach this problem. We need only pay for aid actually given. Recent history in the United States does not suggest we are particularly good when it comes to fiscal ”risk management”.

 

FAQ # 10) How does the 1% solution compare to President Obama’s plan and the promises made by “Providers” at the recent White House health care summit?

   The details of the talks at the White House are ambiguous. Several of those at the meeting have indicated the promise of 1.5% cost reduction per year was never  made. Other caveats can be found on the Health Care Policy and Marketplace Blog. The biggest difference in the two plans are: (1) the Obama plan calls for a big bundle of more government and (2) promises, promises, promises.

 The 1% solution identifies the best and most logical source of the money (not the government) and tells us how to get it!