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What Is Wrong With Our Current Health Care Delivery System and the Government Solution?
-by Scott Rohter, October 2011

This is a true story about a young woman of Asian origin, who is a first generation immigrant to the United States.  She has learned very well how to manipulate the system to her advantage.  She has three children, no husband, and no job.  She is on government welfare and the Oregon Health Plan.  Every time she has a headache in the middle of the night, she runs to the emergency room of the local hospital, where they provide her with the best care that your money can provide.  One of her three children was born about twelve weeks premature, and continues to receive state of the art medical treatment at the taxpayers’ expense.

One night recently, she went to the hospital emergency room complaining of chest pains.  The ER gave her an EKG that cost about $1,500, and they didn’t find anything wrong with her, and they sent her home.  The next day she was still feeling bad, so she went to her own doctor, who determined without using any expensive tests, that she was having an asthma attack! 

My question is this.  Why did they give her an EKG at the hospital?  Can’t they tell the difference between a heart attack and an asthma attack?  Are the doctors at the emergency room that stupid, or is there something else going on here?  Why did the ER order an EKG?  Could it be that the hospital was afraid of getting sued if the ER had overlooked something, and an EKG hadn’t been prescribed?  Were they practicing ‘defensive medicine’ because of legal concerns?  Because they knew that the patient didn’t have any health insurance, were they also reasonably sure that they could get away with ordering an expensive EKG, because the government was paying for the bill?

This example illustrates both what is wrong with our current health care delivery system, and what is wrong with the concept of a government run health care system.  It illustrates three points: 

  1. The fear of being sued is driving up the cost of providing healthcare for everyone!  The solution to this problem is tort reform, something that the Republicans have been talking about for years, but is always opposed by the Trial Lawyers Association, and the Democratic Party.

  2. If patients don’t pay for their own health care, or health insurance out of their own pockets, then they are more likely to misuse or abuse the system. 

  3. Doctors in private practice, and the individual doctor-patient relationship is the bedrock of an effective and efficiently run health care delivery system.  We must do everything we can to encourage, not discourage doctors to remain in private practice, and in small medical groups.  The Federal Government must not be allowed to drive private practitioners into early retirement by regulating them out of existence, or the cost of providing health care will skyrocket for all!  If we want to lower the cost of delivering health care, then we need to do two things.  We need to pass some kind of basic tort reform, and we must make sure that individual doctors and small medical groups have a reasonably safe and profitable environment in which to practice medicine. They are the ones who are most familiar with their patients and the ones who can best treat them in most cases, NOT THE HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN.  Also, a mass assembly line style approach to delivering health care, like China has, will not lower costs.  On the contrary, because of the nature of providing health care to patients that doctors don’t even know, it will drive the cost of delivering health care up!

What occurred here in Eugene, Oregon at the Riverbend Campus of Sacred Heart Hospital, is typical of what is going on every day all across America, because of the over-meddling interference, and the gross mismanagement of our Federal Government.  The Federal Government is such a poor manager of the public’s money.  We can find the same mismanagement going on in other sectors of our ailing economy, in finance, in banking, in home mortgages, in wasteful military spending, you name it, it exists!  We must keep the Federal Government out of the business of managing health care as much as possible! 
"The truth, the political truth, and nothing but the political truth.
A journalist has no better friend than the truth."
- Scott Rohter

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