Wednesday, May 7, 2008

National Health Care Doesn't Work for Mothers... in Canada

A record number of mother's are streaming across the U.S. border to give birth. Nope, we're not talking about illegal immigrants, we're talking about Canadian mothers who can't get the neonatal care they need at home.
Canada, once able to boast about its high rank in the world for low infant-mortality rate – sixth place in 1990 – saw its rank plummet to 25th place in 2005, according to figures published this year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The problem isn't getting better either. Canadian hospitals continue to add NICU beds, but because of their government health care system, they are unable to attract quality nurses and doctors to man those beds, so they just sit empty.
“The reality is that maternity care disparities and deficiencies in this country have been obscured [by] dedicated doctors, midwives and nurses who deliver miracles every day,” said the report, which is the work of obstetricians, family physicians, midwives, neonatal nurses and rural physicians. “However, these dedicated professionals are telling us that cracks in the system are reaching a breaking point and that the current situation is potentially dangerous and cannot be sustained.”

While its clear that a national health care system is not the answer to Americas health care problems, something must be done to reign in health care costs that are quickly spiraling out of control for many of us.

A better solution would require a multi pronged approach. First, we need to cap malpractice lawsuits. The cost of malpractice insurance for many doctors is so great that they can barely afford to offer care and put food on their tables. This drives costs up and requires doctors to perform often needless tests just to cover their liability.

Second, we need to permit insurance companies to compete across state and city boundaries. For example, Kansas Citians have to choose from different insurance plans and companies than the rest of the residents of Missouri. Likewise, Missourians and Kansans are also not able to choose identical health care coverage at identical costs. Only when these artificial boundaries are removed can we hope to see the free market drive insurance costs down.

Third, insurance companies need to be held to a minimum standard of care. This should include requiring them to provide coverage for existing conditions. Too many people become ill and find themselves unable to afford their dramatically increased premiums and are incapable of finding suitable replacement coverage because their illness is now classified as preexisting.

Finally, a fair pricing policy must be instituted. This means that individuals must be able to purchase insurance at the same monthly premium as employees of large businesses. Insurance companies often give major corporations significantly lower costing health care options than those that are made available to small businesses or individuals. They claim this is because they are able to spread the cost of HMO plans across many employees. However, they could just as easily spread those costs across all their customers insuring lower costs for all. Instead they charge the customers who can least afford it, the most and that's just wrong no matter how you look at it.

Unfortunately, just like the immigration issue, none of the candidates seeking the highest office in the land have a suitable plan that will provide a real cost benefit to Americans while maintaining our extremely high standards of health care.

11 comments:

Haveavoice said...

Yeah yeah...wheres the headline saying Canada is dismantling their system?

Where are all the Mommy bloggers signing in to comment on your blog? Nice marketing tactic- If Mommy doesn't approve then it can't be good for you. 'Cept you're forgetting the FORTY SEVEN MILLION UNINSURED AMERICANS.

How come in Ohio SPAN OHIO is having NO PROBLEMS getting signatures for its petitions?

And--before I close? I don't recall ever reading you on Daily Kos. How about running your comments across Dr Steve B and Dr A on DKos? And how about presenting your views to the now MAJORITY of AMERICAN physicians for National Health Care? Hmmmm?

Just another little Republican running scared for REAL now, huh?

Betcha won't post my comments either. Will you?

James said...

How many of those 40 million uninsured have cell phones or cable TV? It's called priorities.

You obviously didn't read our plan that addresses cost issues or you would know that it makes the costs of health care affordable for all Americans.

Most of those uninsured have medicare/medicaid currently available. And let's not forget that emergency medical services are already being provided for everyone regardless of their ability to pay by law.

Haveavoice said...

You address the COST issues by getting rid of the OVERHEAD. Otherwise known as INSURANCE COMPANIES. SINGLE PAYER has been studied. Its LESS expensive than the system we have now and LESS expensive with ANY insurance company in place.

I see- only you're supposed to have a life, right?? The underprivileged aren't allowed to own things? Talk about Nazism.

I don't have time to argue something the facts of which have been brought to light. You probably missed the PBS broadcast about JAPAN's system which works VERY well. And UK, and..on & on.

I see you can't answer for all those Canadian Mommy's you are claiming so unless you can get them to post we'll consider that argument null and the request for the Canadian headlines showing the END of their system. Haven't seen it yet, my friend.

See ya on Daily Kos.

If you dare for which I won't hold my breath. I have a petition to complete.

Good day.

James said...

Wow, talk about distorting things. Have you ever not studied needs versus wants?

Fulfill your needs, than your wants. if you have a cell phone and no insurance than you are fulfilling your wants before your needs. It's basic survival.

One, Canadian mothers are not likely reading a Kansas City blog, so why even address your false assertions. Second, why would I or any sane person read DailyKos. It has been proven time and again that Kos is nothing but a hate site.

My favorite quote that addresses people like yourself.

"Idealogues tend to demonize those who oppose them."

James said...

And we've brought up the UK system before. It's riffe with problems.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/high-costs-and-long-waits-force-patients-abroad-793976.html

"Record numbers of British patients are travelling abroad for medical and dental treatment because of the high costs, long waits and infection risks of care in Britain."

Anonymous said...

hey haveavoice, did you ever consider that some of those without insurance have chosen not to have it?

I work for a small company that can't afford to provide me with health care. I have looked at other options HMOs, PPOs, HSAs, etc. I have come to the conclusion that it makes more sense for me to save my money and just pay cash.

I was paying $900 a month for my family's HMO. I now put that money in the bank. Last year I spent $1000 on healthcare costs for my 2 kids, wife, and me. I saved $9800! And those $1000 in expenses were tax deductable.

I am only a mildly worried about a major illness, so next year I might spring for a very large deductable PPO which would cover us in that event. I have already priced it and it will only cost me around $300 a month.

Anonymous said...

This is surprising for a first world country like Canada, with the world's greatest health care systemt to boot, having to send people to the US to give birth.

However, I do respect the Canadians. At least they are paying the US for these hospital visits unlike Mexico.

Dustin said...

"Insurance companies often give major corporations significantly lower costing health care options than those that are made available to small businesses or individuals." This is because people in large companies are statistically healthier, tada, lower rates. Also, the company frequently pays additional costs and bears the risk that claims might be significantly higher than what has been projected for the year. Individuals could bear that risk, but then they'd complain. For some reason, people want a consistent price for a future expense.

James said...

"the company frequently pays additional costs"

Being on the employer side of the equation, I am aware of how this works. The corporation pays say 50% and the other 50% os deducted from the employees paycheck.

Each year insurance premiums rise anywhere from 11-20% per plan. Most companies will obsorb part of this and pass the rest on to the employees deductions.

The exact same process exists for smaller businesses. But a plan for say Sprint, may have a total cost of $600-700 per month for a family, where as a small business or for an individual its going to be closer to $1000 per month. I am talking about HMO plans in this example.

Insurance companies claim the rate is lower because they can spread their risk across the large corporations 1000 employees. Where as the 10 employees at the small business aren't enough to warrant the spread of risk, so they pay much higher.

The problem with that logic, as another commentor pointed out, is that the risk could be spread across all people covered and not just a particular company's staff. The insurance companies do this, of course, because it gives them a selling point to be selected by those large corporations over another provider.

All you have to do is the math to see what a scam the health insurance industry currently is. How much do you pay, include your employers portion in this figure. How much do you actually use? Check your statements and see what benefits the insurance company is paying out. Now multiple that figure by tens of thousands of customers.

That is why health insurance companies are making billions, while hospitals can barely stay afloat, and more than 10% of our country can't afford coverage.

Haveavoice said...

I came back to check on what dumb comments were made after I left. I see a few. Hey Anonymous- why not come over to Daily Kos or are you too chicken?

And the other comment about the UK is full of shit because I'm a military vet and I have friends there that praise their system. Walt ain't coming back here- GUESS WHY? Wanna talk to them?

And to the blog owner- you still haven't provided me with TESTIMONY from these Canadian mommies.
Cough it up or shut up. No disrespect toward your right to blog but if you're going to shoot shit then expect it back in your face when the winds of change blow.

Meanwhile as you guys are all trying to prove your little points my petitions are filling up and will be shipped back to SPAN's central offices end of May.

You'll be crying I guess when your health card arrives in the mail. Or not.

Count on it.

Haveavoice said...

Dear Publicans, as a symbolic gesture that you are against socialized medicine (National Health Care,) burn your Social Security cards and renounce your Medicare benefits. Hand over the hypocrisy.
Thank you. H.R. 676.