Washblog

On My Last Weekend, Or, Wanna Save A Few Trillion On Health Care?

So I disappeared for a full week, right in the middle of what should have been a busy writing schedule, and I have to claim some "personal days" to cover the time we missed here at the blog - but it won't be time entirely wasted.

Instead, I'm going to jump into my own personal life for today's story, and I'm going to do it so that we can stimulate some thinking about where we really need to go to if we ever hope to make some sense out of the crazy way we deliver health care in this country.

Since this appears to be the weekend that a lot of decisions are either going to be made about the future of our "social safety net"...or they wont; we're entirely unsure...let's talk about how it actually works for a lot of us - and how it could work a lot better.

But the worst part of the Industrial Revolution - and the part that has never been documented - is what happened to the role of managers. The owners of factories realized they needed a layer of insulation between themselves and the people they were exploiting. They needed the type of people who were incapable of understanding the workers' pleas for common sense, decency, and safe working conditions. The owners wisely chose managers for these roles.

--Scott Adams, from the book "Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook"

So as most of you know, I am a blogger, and that means, for better or worse, that this is how I'm trying to make a living - and as a result I, along with about 50,000,000 other Americans, find myself on the DGS Health Plan (never heard of DGS? It's the "Don't Get Sick" Health Plan).

So what do I do? The same as a lot of you: I don't get sick.

And up `til now, it's worked out surprisingly well, even though I weigh more than I should and I have a coke addiction that can see me consuming as much as 2 liters in a single day...but by last Friday I had one of those tooth twinges building up that you know is not going to end up well.

By Friday night things were getting bad enough that I had to tell The Girlfriend that we were very likely to be going to an Emergency Room, if not that night, certainly by morning - unless things cleared up on their own, which, if you're an optimist, could happen.

So much for optimism.

Midday Saturday we're in downtown Seattle and I'm waiting in line to be seen by an intake clerk, then a triage nurse, and then a financial counselor, because there's no way I can really take on a big medical bill.

I'm lucky that Washington State has a "Charity Care Law"; that law requires Washington's hospitals to accept all comers at the Emergency Room, regardless of ability to pay - and there's been a considerable increase in demand over the past four years.

(The Department of Health reports that $591 million in such care was provided in '07, and in the last year for which numbers are available, '09, the same cost had run up to $846 million; that's a 43% jump in just two years. The odds are pretty good that the '10 and '11 numbers will also show an increase that's well above the rate of inflation.)

Anyway, after that they showed me to a sort of mini-Emergency Room facility, I was examined by a Medical Student and his Instructor, and they decided that maybe a CAT scan would be a good idea, just to determine exactly how badly and how widespread this infection might be.

I rode the ride, an assessment was made, and it time to offer up my various elbows to my Medical Student, which left me with a couple of bruises that are still healing, and him with a couple of experience points.

More assessment followed the return of the lab results; as a result I was given a prescription of a rather unpleasant antibiotic that I'll be taking for a few more days, but all in all, for me, things worked out pretty well.

That said...imagine if I lived in Canada.

First thing, I waited longer than I should have with this infection, and if I had a General Practitioner with whom I had an ongoing relationship, I would have gone there at least a day sooner.

That delay imposed a few costs: I had that CAT scan, took up ER time and a mini-ER suite; instead I could have made an office visit, and probably walked out with a prescription for the same antibiotic with a quick exam or just a blood test.

There is no financial counselor in Canadian healthcare - instead, you present your Provincial insurance card, and that's that. For those not aware, Canadian healthcare, for the most part, works like American care, except there's only one insurance company, and that's each Province; they also collect taxes to fund the services.

That means providers only deal with one insurer, and all of that cuts a lot of administrative expenses out of the system. It also means patients never have to worry about whether their provider will be "in the network".

(Fun Fact: bankruptcy is now a big part of the American medical system. In 1981 8% of bankruptcies were related to medical costs, but by 2007 that number appears to have grown to 62%, all this according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Three-quarters of that 62% had medical insurance.

Canada does not have a medical bankruptcy problem of statistical significance.)

When you add all this together, it begins to explain how it's possible that Canada can insure all their people for about 11% of their 2009 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when we pay about 17% of GDP and still leave a huge portion of the population either completely uninsured or unable to pay for care even if they have insurance, due to what won't be covered when the bill comes in at the end of the month.

(Fun Fact #2: Sweden, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iceland - in fact, any country that you can name on the face of the Earth - pays less than we do for their health care.

By a lot.

When it comes to the cost of health care, the USA is #1.)

So it's not all skittles and beer, up there in Canada. You might have to wait a while to get some types of care, and it appears that there's an element of "rationing by waiting period", which is a constant source of complaints up there. (The counterargument is that rationing of some sort is required in any medical insurance scheme; otherwise, you'll have folks at the doctor's for no reason at all, and that'll quickly drive a system broke.)

There are co-pays, for some services, and no coverage for others, depending on your Province, (nonemergency dental and vision are often not covered) and that can lead to some out-of-pocket, but for the most part taxes cover the bills.

And just as we in the USA are struggling to pay for medical care, so is everyone else: controlling medical costs are hard, for a variety of reasons, including the cost of paying medical professionals to do work in a dangerous environment that can often be hard to automate.

Dangerous, you say?

In healthcare, back injuries, frequently caused by overexertion, occur at a very high rate. Healthcare industry workers sustain 4.5 times more overexertion injuries than any other type of worker...According to national statistics, six of the top 10 professions at greatest risk for back injury are: nurse's aides, licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, health aides, radiology technicians, and physical therapists.

So the other reason I'm having this conversation today is because I was having a talk with a very nice gentleman just about 48 hours ago who is a bit more Conservative politically than I, and he wondered how I felt about "Obamacare" (formally known as the Affordable Health Care Act).

I'm not a big fan of that plan, I'm not, and that's because I'd much rather do something like expand Medicare to everyone, or "go all Canada"; either choice seems simpler and easier and doable at far lower administrative costs than any plan that relies on private insurers, as the Affordable Health Care Act does.

So there you go: that's how I spent the weekend, and a couple of days after to boot, and if we were living in Canada I could have had the same problem, but it would have cost the healthcare system a whole lot less money - and when everyone gathered at the White House today, I wish that's what they had been talking about.

< Do Washington State Democrats Have A Labor Problem? Let's Ask Jay Inslee | Hitler Holds News Conference, Blames Balanced Budget Amendment For U.S. Defeat >

Poll

your health care plan?
the boss provides...
i buy my own
medicare/medicaid
the dgs health care plan
i sacrifice small animals and hope for the best

Votes: 5
Results | Other Polls
Display: Sort:
...i assume the assault on charity care is next.

"...if you need a goat fu%#*@, cnn will do it..." --john oliver, "the daily show", 10/12/2009

by fake consultant on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:11:36 AM PST

* 1 none 0 *


Great post yet again! This is amazing content to maintain the interest of targeting an audience. Keep sharing here!
shop now

by whitewesley87 on Sat Aug 22, 2015 at 04:05:14 AM PST

* 4 none 0 *


Your blog is really interesting and inspiration to many. I'll be looking forward for more of your posts. Keep it up! I will follow you ..

Watch London Has Fallen Online | Watch Zootopia Online | Watch Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Online

by rachaelblake007 on Tue Mar 08, 2016 at 03:25:46 AM PST

* 5 none 0 *


good The apparatus in which SHAREit program is installed can find other apparatus    SHAREit for PC Download Windows 7/8/8.1/10, Mac Free    Begin this system either from the setup folder or    SHAREit great.

by pollard33 on Sat Mar 19, 2016 at 06:04:08 AM PST

* 6 none 0 *


good Online see Television, Movies internet streaming.    mobdro for android    Install and Sign in via a Yahoo/gmail account nice.

by pollard33 on Sat Apr 16, 2016 at 12:28:46 AM PST

* 7 none 0 *


Regardless of the possibility that we had general wellbeing scope it wouldn't enhance our wellbeing. We radiance in our oily plates, tunnel into heaps of desserts, smoke like stacks, beverage like fishes, snuffle up medications, flounder on love seats before the diversion god when we're not driving tanked or incensed, esteem cash over connections and for the most part slump towards demise with a bit of crying, tolerating whatever the specialists let us know as destiny. All to stuff ourselves from truly feeling. ordercollegepapers.com Specialists have keep running up our human services costs, from their duty financed costly preparing, expensive administrations, perpetual tests, their dependence on pharmaceutical symptomatic help until they draw out the surgical tools, and their vain quest for exorbitant cures as opposed to concentrating on health instruction, aversion, and social change.

by steveervin on Thu Apr 21, 2016 at 11:30:39 PM PST

* 8 none 0 *


  • Thanks by anvesh, 05/28/2016 09:23:10 AM PST (none / 0)
its fastidious post concerning media print, we all understand media is a fantastic source of facts.
Regards,
ottmag.com

by azharroshan1990 on Fri Jun 03, 2016 at 02:53:49 AM PST

* 13 none 0 *


Great and good article Mobdro on computer sign in via Yahoo and gmail accounts Download apk Mobdro app for new animeflv new version

by techy2017 on Wed Jun 15, 2016 at 05:59:16 AM PST

* 14 none 0 *


good computer system from the preceding website link.    Clash Royale PC Windows    All in all, Battle Royale is certainly a brilliant    Clash Royale Windows PC nice.

by jadeja9845 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 at 12:27:23 AM PST

* 15 none 0 *


It's remarkable to pay a visit this web site... http://feedsyouneed.com/free-resume-templates/

by therock1990 on Tue Jul 19, 2016 at 11:09:32 AM PST

* 16 none 0 *


good Select the video format and resolution you wish.    SnapTube Latest    offline with no complications. By applying the software newest 2016,    snaptube android download nice.

by bhavna534 on Fri Jul 29, 2016 at 02:10:42 AM PST

* 17 none 0 *


A report Agen Bandarq
U.N. order.  they then  Agen domino
Jewish American following  Domino Online
speech of Rabbi  Diem used strong  agen Bandarq
Emmanuel  with Jewish pressure  Bandar domino99 before a special meeting agen domino online of the Emergency Agen Bandarq
Council  Agen domino99
of European Rabbis in Budapest, Hungary, January 12, Domino Online
1952: "Greetings, my children; Bandarq
You have Bandar domino been called her to Agen Bola Resmi recapitulate the Bandar bola principal steps of our new program. As you know, we had hoped to have twenty Agen Bola Terpercaya years Agen Bola Terbesar between wars we made Agen Bola online from World War II, Judi bola but our increasing numbers Berita Bola in  with every Agen Sbobet means at our disposal to precipitate World War III within Agen Ibcbet five years Agen Bandarq [They did not precipitate Agen Domino99 World War III Domino Online but they Agen Poker did instigate the Bandar Domino99 Korean War Togel Online Singapore when on Togel Online Hongkong June 25, Bandar Togel Singapore 1950 they ordered the North Korean army to launch a surprise attack Bandar Togel on South Korea. On June Togel Online Terpercaya 26, the U.N. Bandar Togel Online Terpercaya Security Council Togel Online condemned Agen Togel Online Terpercaya the invasion  of the invading Agen Togel Onlineforces.

by rikieki123 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 at 02:56:16 PM PST

* 19 none 0 *


good Come to be very careful to pick a very good one, because    Snapchat Update for Android    you can just simply generate screenshots. nice.

by bhavna534 on Tue Sep 20, 2016 at 11:03:40 PM PST

* 21 none 0 *


wow this is nice one to look. gmail login pof login

by rajaram on Wed Sep 28, 2016 at 08:54:41 PM PST

* 22 none 0 *


good Television set is certainly the very best and the virtually    kodiaddonstv    the users with quintessential high class to choose from an extensive nice.

by amisha445 on Mon Oct 10, 2016 at 02:55:47 AM PST

* 23 none 0 *


Download Zapya for PC to share files and folders easily from PC to Mobile

by Zapyaforpc on Wed Nov 09, 2016 at 07:50:24 AM PST

* 24 none 0 *


good A lot of the moment we tend to miss out on an eye-catching moving-picture program entirely as    playview apk download    of flicks between 720p as well as 1080p that could be a fantastic photo top quality. nice.

by hang454 on Sat Nov 26, 2016 at 12:12:33 AM PST

* 25 none 0 *


Display: Sort:

 

 

 

PNW TOPIC HOTLIST

Login

Make a new account
Username:
Password:

 HELP

Recommended Diaries

Washblog RSS Feeds

Political Contacts

Local Media

Coastal/Grays Harbor
Aberdeen Daily World
Chinook Observer
Montesano Vidette
Pacific County Press
Willapa Harbor Herald
KXRO 1320 AM

Olympic Peninsula
Peninsula Daily News
Bremerton Sun
Bremerton Chronicle
Gig Harbor Gateway
Port Orchard Independent
Port Townsend Leader
North Kitsap Herald
Squim Gazette
Central Kitsap Reporter
Business Examiner
KONP 1450 AM

Sound and Islands
Anacortes American
Bainbridge Review
Voice Of Bainbridge
San Juan Journal
The Islands' Sounder
Whidbey NewsTimes
South Whidbey Record
Stanwood/Camano News
Vashon Beachcomber
Voice Of Vashon
KLKI 1340 AM

North Puget Sound
Bellingham Herald
The Northern Light
Everett Herald
Skagit Valley Herald
Lynden Tribune
The Enterprise
Snohomish County Tribune
Snohomish County Business Journal
The Monroe Monitor
The Edmonds Beacon
KGMI 790 AM
KELA 1470 AM
KRKO 1380 AM

Central Puget Sound
King County Journal
Issaquah Press
Mukilteo Beacon
Voice of the Valley
Federal Way Mirror
Bothell/Kenmore Reporter
Kirkland courier
Mercer Island Reporter
Woodinville Weekly

Greater Seattle
Seattle PI
Seattle Times
KOMO TV 4
KIRO TV 7
KING 5 TV
KTBW TV 22
KCTS 9
UW Daily
The Stranger
Seattle Weekly
Capitol Hill Times
Madison Park Times
Seattle Journal of Commerce
NW Asian Weekly
West Seattle Herald
North Seattle Herald-Outlook
South Seattle Star
Magnolia News
Beacon Hill News
KIRO 710 AM
KOMO AM 1000
KEXP 90.3 FM
KUOW 94.9 FM
KVI 570 AM

South Puget Sound
The Columbian
Longview Daily News
Nisqually Valley News
Lewis County News
The Reflector
Eatonville Dispatch
Tacoma News Tribune
Tacoma Weekly
Puyallup Herald
Enumclaw Courier-Herald
The Olympian
KAOS 89.3 FM
KCPQ 13
KOWA FM 106.5
UPN 11

Cascade/Okanogan
Ellensburg Daily Record
Levenworth Echo
Cle Elum Tribune
Snoqualmie Valley Record
Methow Valley News
Lake Chelan Mirror
Omak chronicle
The Newport Miner

Spokane/Palouse
The Spokesman-Review
KREM 2 TV Spokane
KXLY News 4 Spokane
KHQ 6 Spokane
KSPS Spokane
Statesman-Examiner
Othello Outlook
Cheney Free Press
Camas PostRecord
The South County sun
White Salmon Enterprise
Palouse Boomerang
Columbia Basin Herald
Grand Coulee Star
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Yakima Herald-Republic
KIMA 29 Yakima
KAPP TV 35 Yakima
KYVE Yakima
Wenatchee World
Tri-City Herald
TVEW TV 42 Tri-cities
KTNW Richland
KEPR 19 Pasco
Daily Sun News
Prosser Record-Bulletin
KTCR 1340 AM
KWSU Pullman
Moscow-Pullman Daily News