Dominating the headlines of newspapers, websites and blogs both medically focused and mainstream, has been debate over the Obama Administration’s attempt at healthcare reform. It’s a polarizing issue that seems to me to be less about finding a solution and more about partisan politics. I feel that while change is needed, this initial plan definitely has some issues that need to be enhanced. Funny, but I thought that working together to find mutually beneficial compromises that fit the needs of all constituents is what an elected official was supposed to do, but I forgot that political party allegiances and power-driven alliances are really the rule of the day for most in our nation’s capital.
But turning from my cynical political ramblings to things closer to home, the concept of government-driven healthcare made me wonder about how some of the more fundamental changes might impact personal decisions. For example, my left knee has been somewhat of an issue ever since I twisted it playing high school football. It’s fine for the most part, but when I’m more active I can definitely feel the effects. Over-compromising for the weakened left knee seems to have put some additional strain on the right one, so if I’m really active, I feel some pain and strength loss in both joints.
So let’s hypothetically propose that 10 years from now I need surgery on both knees. Medical technology has advanced to the point where the standard procedure is a bionic knee replacement procedure. Okay, that probably stems from watching Iron Man too many times, but stay with me.
I’ve made it through all the government’s protocols for getting the surgery approved. Now, because it dictates how surgeons are paid, it is time to approve the individual who will perform the surgery. With government involvement I imagine this transpiring less like an interview and more like a Supreme Court Justice Senate approval hearing. I hope all of you surgeons out there are preparing your dramatic, response-shortened, microphone-enhanced responses now.
So after selecting my candidate, I’m assuming this individual would be introduced to an approval panel comprised of a local state senator who controls the state purse strings and a federal representative also involved in fund allocation. I know my mother would lobby for a place at the table, but an appeal to any higher powers would most likely be denied.
At least most politicians are lawyers and administrators, so in approving cabinet members and judges they have some understanding of the roles these individuals must fill and the parameters within they must operate. I just wonder if said officials would be qualified to select surgeons? Then again, how are insurance companies better qualified to determine which procedures are necessary and which are elective? In this case, perhaps a more neutral third party system would be better? Then again, if the government is paying with taxpayer dollars that are also required for stimulus packages, how ready will they be to foot higher-priced procedures?
I guess my point is that right now neither the current or recently proposed solution for healthcare is exactly where we want it to be. However, neither represents a worst-case scenario either. The answer lies somewhere in the middle. Hopefully our elected officials can put aside ridiculous and out-dated alliances in providing the right solution. Trust me, you don’t want to make my mother come in there.
What's your take? Send your dramatic, response-shortened, microphone-enhanced responses to firstname.lastname@example.org