by Jerry Robbins, MD, HCAO Newport
In the Wednesday 6/4/14 edition of the News Times there are two articles regarding problems with our American health care “system”. The first article describes the efforts of the firefighter community in Waldport to raise money for Jiah Quayle to help defray his medical expenses. Hopefully his health insurance paid for the costs of surgery, physical therapy, and chemotherapy, although, unless he has a “gold level” policy, his out of pocket expenses were probably considerable. These costs, plus those of the prosthesis and of residing in Portland during chemotherapy, should be covered by insurance - totally.
The second article is an editorial on the subject of the “scandal” about the scheduling backlog at VA clinics and hospitals. In my opinion, the VA Health System provides better medical care than many other systems in the country because it is cost-effective and evidence-based. To me, the problem is not administrative overload; rather, patient overload. The problem is one of under funding, making the system inaccessible rather than dysfunctional.
Mr. Beasley writes, “Until the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the VA operated the nation’s largest integrated health care system. Its success or failure, therefore, is a bellweather of the kind of health care in store for the rest of us”. First of all, the Affordable Care Act is NOT an “integrated system” since it provides health insurance through multiple PRIVATE insurance companies. Secondly, as above, the VA does a great job of providing health care; ie, its care is a positive bellweather.
In comparison to our current non-system (with multiple insurance payers) and the VA integrated system, Health Care for All Oregon stands for a “Medicare for All” arrangement in which the government pays the bills and health care delivery is left in the hands of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, making health care a matter between patients and their doctors. How long will it take for people of this State (or this country) to want a health care system in which Jiah Quayle would not have to sell T-shirts to pay for his health care, nor would Lincoln County veterans have to wait 3 months for an appointment?
Published in the News Times June 18, 2014