Suddenly Senior (http://www.suddenlysenior.com) e-mailed an article by Tom Braun, RPh. Titled Health Care Ping Pong. He subtitles it Who is in Charge of My Health? Profiteers, God, or Me? May I suggest for most of Americans it isn’t “Me,” and therein lies the problem. Braun says:
“—little is done to provide health education and foster healthy (sic) eating habits for the American consumer via the educational system—“
Really? I haven’t been in school in a long time, but we had health classes back then which were reinforced by healthful meals in the cafeteria. There was no catering to a “children’s McMenu” of chicken fingers, French fries, hamburgers and pizza. You ate what was served or went hungry. Kinda the way I served meals when my children were growing up and my parents before me. And if perchance you missed the memo on proper food for health, open any magazine or newspaper or view a newscast. There is no lack of information. I can’t swing a cat without hitting something on the subject of proper eating. So who is dropping the ball? I vote “parents.” Things changed around the dinner table for a lot of reasons, like two working parents and a culture that caters more to kids than the one a generation or so ago. So yeah, education is key, but let’s start it at home, reinforce it in schools. Then we’ll see a healthier community down the road.
Braun goes on to say:
“Recently in Chicago, it was announced that two daughters of an elderly mother who did not want hospitalization were found guilty of neglect in the care of the mother. This could have been avoided if they were aware of Hospice which fitted their mother’s wishes.”
He points out that Hospice is less costly to Medicare than hospitalization. “So what’s the problem?” he asks.
The problem is an electorate so uneducated as to not have heard of Hospice, for God’s sake! What is AARP, Suddenly Senior, senior centers and even churches everywhere doing to educate elders on this issue? I’ll bet the majority of them could be snared and receive good advice about Hospice if all of those made an effort.
Braun says “Every senior should have a living will that expresses his or her view on how he or she wants to exit life. That’s why they are modestly suggesting a discussion between doctor and patient which Medicare would pay for every five years.”
Good idea. So is a durable power of attorney. In fact I refuse to die without either. My husband had these in place when he died and I am updating mine at this time. How did I manage to do such a thing without my doctor’s input? I picked up a durable power of attorney form at an office supply store years ago (today I download from the web). For the living will, we used one of the many copies slid in front of our face by a nurse on a visit to the hospital. (It’s the law in Florida at least that the hospital must offer the form to you.) So where did the doctor come in? No where. A little self education is all it took and that doesn’t require a PhD. A high school education and reading comprehension will suffice. It does require being able to admit you are going to die.
He ends with the question, “Does medical science have the right to play God?”
Only if you are so accustomed to handing your decisions over to someone else throughout your life it never occurs to you to make them for yourself in advance, or appoint someone you trust to do so in concert with medical information received on the spot as you enter an end of life scenario.
I think we should not forget the circumstances where neither patient, family. nor doctor is certain this time the patient will not survive. That’s a big if that can only be planned for with a durable power of attorney.
Braun went on to discuss profiteering in the form of lobbyists. That requires another fix and groups like Publix Citizen have been pressing for election reform for a long time.
So the solutions to disparate issues within healthcare crisis are best solved in targeted ways. Of course, these are only the few issues Dr. Braun discussed. A huge advantage to the insureds would be to uncouple health insurance and employment. There are ways to do that short of government going into universal healthcare.
There are a lot of shortcomings with health insurance in America and we should be addressing those. Despite the way it has been presented, healthcare is not one single issue. Let’s address each separately, but simultaneously. I suggest we put one solution in front of all the others: cleaning up fraud and waste in Medicare. President Obama says we will save billions doing this, enough to pay for much of a universal plan. I would challenge him to start there. We can do that today, right now with full approval of the American people. And when those billions in savings are in the bank, I’ll bet all sides would be willing to work out the rest. Everyday we don’t start, more money is down a rat hole. What is the hold up? Show us the money.
Read Full Post »