Monday, October 27, 2008

My Take on Socialized Medicine

So, this is a common issue in politics/society right now. Since I'm a doctor it will be a huge impact on my life in more than one way. There are pros and cons to socialized medicine but overall, I'm against it. First of all, we already have more than one form of socialized medicine, it's called Medicaid, Medicare, and County Hospitals. Yes, patients with medicaid can usually get multiple health services with very little work, however the reimbursement rate for medicaid visits is incredibly low and if a physician only sees medicaid patients there is almost no way they can make a living and be an effective physician. This is because they have to see so many patients in one day they don't have the time to spend with each patient to figure out what is really wrong. Also, there are multiple other services to help promote health. Children and families can get vaccines at the County Health Department for very cheap without paying a co-pay for the doctor and it's the same vaccine. This isn't ok for babies because they need to be seen every few months to make sure they are growing ok, but it's perfectly fine for older children who are normal. There are other services for families that have special needs children that may not qualify for medicaid but don't make enough money for private health insurance. Most people just don't know about them. Social workers are way underpaid and are of great help when trying to get cheaper care/assistance for kids. Like I said before, there are always county hospitals. Plus if a child gets sick and needs to be hospitalized there is no prerequesite of having insurance. All children get care, doesn't matter their ability to pay. Also, most doctor's offices will make discounts for parents/patients that have to pay with cash and will work out payment plans if necessary. I may only be talking about kids, it's really what I know, but I also know that this pertains to adults as well. One of the pros of socialized medicine is all people get health insurance. Con, if everyone has health insurance it means everyone has to have a primary care physician and we don't have that many doctors in the United States. It also means that more people will be seeking health care and this will lead to a further shortage of hospitals/doctors/nurses. Yes, I think we should take care of people, but it isn't physically possible to care for all people in the United States. The wait list to be seen/have procedures would become astronomical. Also, it would become about the greater good for all and doing everything to save one patient would very likely quickly become the abnormal thing to do. This is already happening overseas in other very large/very westernized countries. They don't ressucitate extremely premature babies because the chance of them being productive members of society and let alone living is so low. They also don't let people live on ventilators for a long time like we do now. Some of these things may actually promote quality of life, but I think that the patient's family and the patient themselves should have the right to choose this, not the government.

Ok, I'm off my soap box for now. If anyone has their own opinion feel free to share. 

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