Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When the numbers don't add up they don't add up

When the Numbers Don't Add Up

In the early 1990's, before our kids were in school, we would spend Thanksgiving on a small working farm in Killarney Ireland. On the way we would stop in London for a few days. Every year for three years I would note the headlines were dominated by the same news: the British health care system was out of money.

I read stories about hospital closings due to lack of funding. People in need of urgent surgery being put back on the wait list because there simply was not enough money to keep the hospitals open for the rest of the year. Today we hear stories of British women being forced to give birth in hallways or at home, one woman on a sidewalk. The National Health Service (NHS they like to call it) without any apparent appreciation of the irony, defended their provision of private health care insurance for 3,000 of their employees because, well...the care is better. The sooner NHS employees get treated, the sooner they get back to work to take care of those on the NHS wait lists. Now that is funny.

This weekend my daughter went to the emergency room. She was quickly seen for abdominal pain that could have been (but wasn't) appendicitis. She was not pre-screened for insurance coverage; the doctors and nurses and admitting personnel were too busy recording and analyzing her symptoms,ordering tests and seeing to her comfort. Five years ago, my 87 year old mother who still went to work every day and tap dancing on Thursday afternoons, needed a triple by-pass. She got it. There was never any question. And we have had her for five more precious years. Recently, in Britain, an 87 year old woman was denied antibiotics when she got pneumonia, her doctors, following the guidelines of the system decided to withdraw her care. Her daughter fought and she eventually was given treatment, got over the pneumonia and lived another nine months.

The reason 54% of Americans do not want this health care reform bill is because we know that when it comes right down to it, we'll be on the short end of the stick. Like the NHS employees in England who are covered by private insurance, our members of Congress and big democrat donors, perhaps, will likely be covered by their own plans. And we'll be stuck with the plan that 54% of didn't want.

Three trillion dollars to address the supposed 37 or so million uninsured, 24 million of whom will remain uninsured after passage of the Baucus bill. Too reminiscent of the cost of creating jobs under the Obama stimulus package. (See Saturday's blog: "Stimulus Please--Obama's Stash Part 2".) The numbers just don't add up.

And when they don't add up, they don't add up.


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