Wednesday, September 9, 2009

JMO - President's speech

Well, I listened to the whole speech. The President's speech was well written - ok, excellent speech writers - and he spoke eloquently. Like I'd expect anything less? But it was good, to the point, addressed the issues, countered the criticism, shone light on the lies and rhetoric, and lastly, it was complete for a plan for healthcare and health insurance reform. And ok, I liked it, and almost all of it, I still have two issues with the President. Small, but crucial when it happens.

The first is lawsuit (tort) reform. I don't want to see restrictions or limits on healthcare lawsuits. They're not the problem with the increasing healthcare costs and premiums. As analysists have shown, it's at most a few percentage points in cost and premium increases over the years. And in the number it's very small compared to company lawsuits, on the order of about 10% of all total lawsuits.

It only seems big when insurance companies require and raise malpractice insurance rates to doctors who have never been sued for no reason. They cite lawsuits, but it's not that, it's seeing an opportunity to profit from a false issues. So don't take the right of people to get justice when doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, etal. behave badly or worse, permanently injure, disable or kill a patient. If anything limit insurance rates for lawsuits so more doctors can cut their costs to patients.

The second is defensive proceedures and treatment. There are times when you need these to eliminate possible causes of illness, diseases, injuries or disabilities. They're almost always what doctors do, eliminate the obvious. Diagnosing patients isn't perfect and in many cases it's hit and miss with some luck. So you need to allow proceedures and treatments when it serves a purpose, but maybe not directly, but to help find the real answer.

And I can atest to this with an on-going problem with my digestive system where tests, such as colonoscopy, ct scan, etc. were run to see it's not something, so it's something else. Often diagnosing a problem is a sequence from the obvious to the less obvious to the remote. Maybe it's the "House" syndrome idea from the TV show, but it is used and is productive. Let's not take that option away from doctors.

I also don't have a problem with preventative tests and procedures and those which the physician may want for background information and for potential later diagnoses. I had a three heart tests when I turned 55 because no tests had every been done and the physician wanted to see the effects from having Rheumatic Fever when I was three. It showed a almost near-normal heart for my age and now provides the baseline for any future reasons.

To be denied those tests because there was nothing wrong is wrong by itself. It's not only bad medicine, it's bad for the patients. How can physicians and specialists diagnose problems with just current information because procedures and tests weren't run when the patient was normal to know what's different? This doesn't advocate proceedures and tests for everyone for everything as preventative measures, but appropriate ones for the patient shouldn't be denied simply because it doesn't fit the patient's immediate needs.

And the third is a personal view. I don't have a problem with federal funds going for abortions. It's about women's rights with their bodies and health. Don't short-change women when there are circumstances or situations where an abortion is the best choice, besides the obvious rape, incest, severe problematic fetus and for the health of the mother. For those reasons women shouldn't be denied coverage for the procedure.

It should be a part of healthcare coverage and if necessary, covered by federal funds to hositals, family planning clinics, etc. providing abortions. It's not an abused procedure and it's not an expensive one. And it offers hope and a future to women. And you can bet if men got pregnant, it would be available and covered, so let's be fair and humane, and keep it in the plan, coverage and funds.

Otherwise, I liked the speech and agreed with the plan. Now it's up to Congress to get their act together. And it's time the public calm down and all the bogus rhetoric stop. The President has said what's in his plan, so don't lie about it.

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