Someone Needs to Look at This

Published on
July 17, 2010

Does anyone remember receiving healthcare in the 1960s? Everyone had affordable health insurance through their employer. All of the family was covered. Doctor visits were scheduled by whoever was in need of the care. That means, even if you were a 16-year-old and had the flu, you could still call the doctor's office, make an appointment for yourself, and go.

The doctor's waiting room was a reasonable size. There were probably three or four other people (patients) in it who were called within a few minutes of your arrival. The doctor knew you as a person. The doctor knew your family. The doctor cared about all of you as individuals as well as his patients. A little friendly counsel was occasionally tossed in along with the diagnosis and prescription -- the counsel for those things we just didn't talk about in public and were too embarrassed to mention.

Leaving the doctor's office meant paying a $2 doctor visit fee, scheduling a follow-up visit, if necessary, and getting the prescription filled for another reasonable fee.

The best employee benefit was getting a job with an employer who also offered dental care insurance or even vision care. Usually vision care was part of the package but dental was the premium benefit.

The '60s are more than 50 years gone. Doctor visits like those are also part of history, as well as that type of health coverage. As each year has come and gone, so too have changes to the health care system. We're talking about only the system that is supported by employer paid health insurance, not government supported coverage such as MediCare or MediCaid. With those systems, life is drastically different. It has been suffering from the enormity of the numbers accessing it and the lack of resources to properly administer quality care.

But there seems to be a ray of hope as we march into 2010 and the reforms that Obama has promised this beleaguered nation. The first victory was the health care reform bill that was signed on March 30. The trouble is, there's been so much happening in regard to changing in health care insurance and especially with government-run health care, that it's difficult to know where we the American public stand at this time. We're all still trying to figure things out. Have there truly been improvements? It's worth it to discover these things, especially as they relate to public health care systems, which appear to be emerging as the only means of receiving medical treatment these days.

With these concerns come the question of where to go for treatment and after care. On Thursday, U.S. News & World Report released its 21st report on the best hospitals rankings in the nation. In a county where there have been government-run hospital closings, this information is significant and worth our attention. We need to be holding other facilities up to those of the "best ranked" so that there is a groundswell to make best ranked the average for all.

The spectrum of what I want to discuss with you, teach you about as I learn some of the confusing lingo with you, explain, report is wide. I'd like to help you look at the systems so that you can make better choices for yourself or be more aware as your critical eye takes in the information with a new light.