Which Came First, The Lawyers or the Insurance Companies?

February 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Consumer Issues, crooks & liars, health care, political, rants | 6 Comments
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Not a day goes by without hearing the phrase health care reform enough times to make me want to scream if I hear it once more. I got to thinking about it and found myself wondering why we don’t call it what it is, health insurance reform?  That’s what all the debating, infighting, and posturing is really about.

It isn’t that we don’t need health insurance reform, we do, but we need insurance reform because this is an industry that is completely out of control.  A couple years ago I wrote a post about the manner in which insurance companies do business.  The business model is set up to screw the consumer, whether it’s your car, your house, or your health you’re insuring, they all operate pretty much the same way.  If you have a car accident, damage to your home, or become ill you will very likely be dropped by your insurer or your premiums will be adjusted so far upward that you will no longer be able to afford them.

I digress, I want to stay on the topic of health care reform.  It is not just the insurance industry that needs overhauling, it’s our entire health care system.  I understand there was a time (before my time) when a person could go to the doctor, or the doctor would make a house call, and the patient simply paid the doctor, who probably didn’t drive a Bentley and own five or six  multimillion dollar homes.  What is it that caused doctors, hospitals, and medicine to become so expensive that at some point we needed to buy insurance in order to pay for medical care?  Why have so many doctors become so greedy?  Why do people choose a career in medicine, not out of a desire to help people, but because they want to make tons of money?   Was it the lawyers who were encouraging us to become a bunch of greedy litigious bastards?  Was it the pharmaceutical companies pushing pills that were priced as if they were made of precious metals and often did more harm than good?  Was it the food-like substances people started stuffing into their bodies causing a host of new diseases?

I have personally had several bad experiences with physicians, who did more harm than good.  I know other people with similar stories.  I just came back from LA where I went to be with a close relative who was having a surgical procedure done at UCLA Medical Center which is supposed to be one of the very best hospitals.  If this is the best we have we’re in big trouble.

I won’t go into detail but things did not go as they should have and everyone from the nursing staff, the surgeon, the administrators,  and other support personnel played a superb game of pass the buck.  I saw a nurse, who should have been doing her job, updating her Facebook page.  My relative knew she would have to spend at least one night in the hospital and would not be released until certain conditions were met.  It appeared she would be kept a second night as things were not progressing as well as they should have, in addition, she developed a fever (an indication of possible infection) the second evening.  At around 9:30 PM of the second night staff members stopped medications and removed her IV.  When they discovered her insurance would not pay for a second night they actually kicked her out of the hospital.

The second night at home we needed to get in touch with the doctor who did the procedure, and had provided a phone number that she said would allow us to contact her with concerns or problems.  The number she provided was simply her answering machine saying she would return calls during regular office hours.  I called the hospital, trying desperately to contact the doctor or her on-call person; I think it would have been easier to obtain highly classified state secrets

This past weekend my mother found herself in the emergency room because her primary care physician treated symptoms, that were an indication of three or four possible serious conditions, without ordering tests to find the cause of her symptoms.  He simply dismissed her with a prescription.  My mother had no idea of how serious her condition was until the emergency room doctor explained the possibilities.  It was very basic medicine that her own doctor should have managed, but for some reason did not.  Perhaps it would have ruined his bottom line for the day had he spent more than his allotted three minutes with a patient.  My mother is lucky to be alive, and after a formal complaint to the state medical board hopefully this doctor will be lucky to find work as a janitor.

The above two incidents happened within less than a three-week period in MY family.  When I add these with my bad experiences and stories from friends I have to think negligence in medicine is rampant.  Some claim America has the best health care system on earth.  If this is true next time you get sick you better ask NASA to put you on the next rocket to anywhere.

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6 Comments »

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  1. American health care is lousy at keeping you healthy but great and fixing you. That is the big difference that people fail to realize. It is cheaper to keep someone healthy.

    http://www.robertsfight.com

    • I don’t think our health care providers are much good at either.

  2. They don’t want to heal you anymore, there is no money in that. The cash is in maintaining your condition through medication. Dr’s get kick backs from companies based on the sales for different companies they produce… It doesn’t really matter which they all pay just some more than others, which leads to the opportunity for the bad doctor that just reads labels and treats symptoms. Which is why almost all pharmacutical sales reps now are ex strippers, Dr’s like to see them when they drop off the check during ‘sales calls’. Sorry you had such a tough 3 weeks.

    • Thanks (about the rough weeks). And yes it has occurred to me, as Mark commented above, that it is cheaper to promote health and wellness…so where is the incentive for a profession that has become so money hungry to do anything but prescribe medication that may have side effects which will lead to another prescription to alleviate the side effects of the first one and the list goes on. Practicing medicine in this way keeps you sick or unwell and that has a more attractive bottom line than wellness.

  3. Hey Honjii. Sorry about the health problems…I hope everyone is doing better.

    Not all doctors are greedy…my husband is one, and he actually went into it (as a recovering Catholic) with a desire to help people. But he has seen firsthand how the institutions that doctors work for often have non-medical personnel make medical decisions (which should be illegal, since it’s practicing medicine without a license), like kicking your relative out because her insurance won’t pay. We call it a “wallet biopsy.” That’s why my husband recently went into private practice, so he can be the only one making decisions about his patients.

    BTW, we’re a single-car (my six-year-old Neon) family living in a rented 1950s rambler.

    • I know not all doctors are greedy, I have found a couple of good ones who, like your husband, actually care about their patients but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. It it greed that is driving the industry and making it hard on the good doctors who are interested in something other than the bottom line.


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