September 17, 2009 Volume CXXVI Issue 2

Student examines health care reform

By KHANT MINN
Staff Writer

Probably one of the biggest issues constantly being discussed these days is “health care reform.” Whether it is a political strategy or a genuine concern, one undeniable truth is that the cost of medical expenses in this country is ridiculously high. One way or the other, a solution must be reached and materialized.

There is the inevitable question: why is health care incredibly expensive? Here are a few significant factors: the cost of medical education, the cost of running medical research organizations responsible for producing medicine, the profit that the health insurance companies are making, the cost of legal fees for malpractice and the profit that the malpractice insurance companies are making, and most importantly, the doctors and the medical institutes’ perception of their services as a “business” rather than a “care.”

First, if doctors did not owe enormous amount of debt to pay back for their education, they might not be in such a hurry to get money from the sick and the injured. It is important to instill in them a sense of ethical obligation that they have had the privilege to study medicine and become an expert not to fill their pockets with the patients’ hard-earned money but to serve the community with reasonable returns. It would be a great motivation if medical students were offered more scholarship awards. If an athlete deserves a partial scholarship, anyone who is academically outstanding enough to get into a medical school, anyone who is actually going to make the people’s lives longer, deserves full scholarships for their studies.

Second, there should be more public or government funding for medical research projects. Those projects should not only concentrate on discovering new and powerful medicine, but also put more emphasis on making it more accessible to the public. What is the point of inventing new things if they are only for the financially privileged and the majority of the population do not benefit from them? Capitalism is good for economics, but this is basic human need here. Shouldn’t we be more humane? Shouldn’t we think of our values and priorities?

Third, when an insurance company decides how much premium a client has to pay monthly, it takes into consideration the profit that it wants to make from him, besides many other factors that protect it against possible loss in the gamble between the client and the company. Health insurance is a gamble everyone has to take and the odds are always in favor of the company, which is only natural since they are doing business, not charity. The problem is that the excess profit that they earn, not to mention the dividends from the financial institutions where they invest the monthly premiums collected from the clients, could actually be used to help make a difference in the whole health care system. There is a need for a system or an organization which would compete with and replace the existing health insurance bookies.

Fourth, the lack of trust between the medical professionals and the public is also an undermining factor. The public does not trust that the doctors are doing their best to protect and save them from the deadly diseases. When something goes wrong with a diagnostic test or an operation, the doctor is solely responsible and he or she will be sued, whatever the cause of the mishap might have been. How else are we supposed to know they are doing their job right? Check, lack of trust. So what do the doctors do? They seek malpractice insurance and merely charge it on the bills. Now the patients are paying for the legal expenses for malpractice even before they are mistreated. Great. There are two options—either one or the other—not both: assure by paying more that the doctors will take extremely good care of you, or just trust their professional ethics. After all, they are the doctors who have taken the Hippocratic Oath.

Finally, it is sad that the sick and injured are treated more as customers than as patients by the medical institutions. Nothing is wrong with earning big money, but those people who come to the hospitals do not have a choice. They are not here to shop, they are not here to taste the delicacies of different cuisines, they are not here to enjoy the luxurious facilities, they are not here to buy obnoxious cars, and they are not here to make themselves pretty and feed their vanities. They are here because they need help, because they need to be taken care of, because they are seeing the signs of suffering and death.

Hospitals have been set out as a sanctuary for the sick. How could they have turned into business institutions where the quality is determined by the amount of money you can spend? Well, it might be interesting to find out how much more a successful physician earns than a successful university professor does. There is a glaring need to lower the cost of medical care while maintaining the quality. In order to achieve this seemingly impossible goal, the professionals, the medical institutions, the government and the public need to play their own parts, working together in a trusting atmosphere.


Fed up with the debate

One student asks, who really cares about our health?
By KATIE RAPIER
Staff Writer

The healthcare debate has individuals on both sides up in arms. From brandishing anti-socialist posters to biting off fingers in one Southern California town-hall meeting, no one, anywhere, seems ready to compromise. To comprehend the reality of the situation, let’s examine the effects of universal healthcare on various individuals and institutions.

First, we should address Pre-Med majors. It is likely that those wanting to earn a comfortable income through medical fields are the most concerned about the implications of healthcare reform. Fortunately, under programs like Great Britain’s National Health Service, medical professionals still earn the big bucks. Therefore, under the new system you will still be able to make six-figures; which is, after all, what being a doctor is all about.

From a historical standpoint, opponents have already highlighted the failings of socialism. However, if we turn even further back in history, it is clear Jesus Christ should be considered the first recorded proponent of universal healthcare. Here’s a man who wandered the streets of the Holy Land, curing all he encountered. Though there were long lines to receive the Lord’s services, the citizen of Bethany never heard Lazarus complain. Closer to home, Georgetown College has already instituted its own administration-sponsored healthcare system.

At the beginning of the semester, all students and faculty were given MyClyns spray free of charge, regardless of proof of insurance. For a student’s health examination to be covered by their tuition, they must forfeit their choice of physician and go to the Student Wellness Center. The designated professional, Physician Assistant Rebecca Hogsten, happens to be excellent at her work.

The drawbacks of a governmentsponsored healthcare system would be numerous. For one, uninsured Americans could compete with the presently insured for services. This would imply that every American, regardless of income, is worth the same. Such an “all men are created equal” mentality clearly defies the founding ideals of our great nation. Also, a new national program of any sort would threaten to destabilize our plunging deficit.

To raise the necessary funds, the U.S. government could simply raise the taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and Oreos. It would be investing in the future of the program; the consumers of these products will eventually be treated for chronic health problems. Incentives could also be given to institutions such as Little League Baseball, dry counties, and Holiday World for promoting healthy behaviors amongst American citizens and thereby improving the wellness of future generations.

Of course, a ten-cent Twinkie tax would not produce a substantial pool of monetary resources for such a large undertaking. Before tapping further into the national deficit, our President should look to the way his predecessor prioritized allocations. Though citizens can justify billions spent by the former commander in chief on protection from external enemies (e.g. terrorists), they are not willing to support Obama’s investment of similar sums in prevention and treatment of the foes inside our walls (e.g. heart disease).


A Comical Moment

By Joel Darland
jesuscartoon
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