Monday, August 17, 2009

Fears of Obamacare

Last night, as I finished up some video editing and watched a little TV with John, I felt ill. I had a headache and saw a few flashes of light in the periphery of my vision. I thought maybe I had a migraine coming on, but I haven't had one of those in a long time.

When I got on my way to work this morning, I wasn't feeling a whole lot better, and out in the sunshine I could see a great many black specks. I realized that the spots were a tiny amount of bleeding in my left eye - only a tiny amount, but I thought it would be a good idea to go to the eye doctor.

I have a wonderful opthamologist in Austin, who is part of a group with two offices. He did cataract surgery on me several years ago - in my family, we get cataracts very young. I was in my 40s having a terrible time seeing because of the cataracts, and was very grateful to have them fixed. I have also had an episode of bleeding once before, which turned out to be no big deal. This was no big deal again today - the doctor says the inside of my eyes looks fine and will recheck me in a month.

So, my point here is this: because I had a disturbing symptom, I phoned and got into see my doctor the same day. I was examined by a thorough assistant using high-tech equipment. She put all kinds of information about my medical history into a very cool computer recordkeeping system. The doctor took some time with me and examined my eyes carefully. He could see information about my prior episode in the computer system along with my other history.

What would my experience have been like in Canada or England, where they already have socialized medicine? Would I have gotten in the same day? Would I have been examined with the superb equipment by an extraordinarily cheerful and careful technician? Would there be doctors with this amazing amount of training and expertise available to regular people like me?

I read about the uproar in England when their nationalized health system was denying macular degeneration medication to people who hadn't yet lost vision in one eye. They did back off on that, but only after people went without and there was a big controversy. I know what it's like to be losing one's eyesight - the cataract was a pretty tough experience for me - and that story bothered me a great deal.

Of course I'd like to see solutions for the uninsured, but do we have to dismantle what we have, or squelch innovation, or drive talent to other fields? I was creeped out by this weekend's trial baloon by the Obama administration that they'd drop the public option. I believe the public option will wipe out private insurance, and I had my hopes up when they hinted they'd drop it, but no, it was some kind of political ploy.


  1. I don't know where you got your information from Diana. Our National Health Service is wonderful. I can get to see my doctor on the same day if I need to. We get wonderful care at our local hospital and I can say nothing but good about them. I had TB when I was young and had long term treatment on he National Health which would have gone into many thousands of GBP/dollars if I had to pay for it. I have since had regular care since and now in my old age I get all the care I need as and when I need it.

    You know, I have read where poorer people in the USA can't get treatment at all and if they can they can't afford to complete it. Or get sent around from hospital to hospital and maybe then the treatment doesdn't matter because it is too late. I think it is best to take what is reported in the media with a pinch of salt most of the time.

    Hope you don't mind me writing my comments on what you have written.

    Yours sincerely,

    Ann Poprdan
    Norfolk UK

  2. Diana,

    It can be especially frightening to loose, or think of loosing, one's eyesight. I'm glad you have such a wonderful provider and I hope that all goes well for you.

    WRT your concerns about what could happen after health care reform, did you know that compared to countries such as Canada and Britain that we in the US have the longest average wait time for non-elective appointments? In other words, if you want to have a tummy tuck, you can get right in, but if you're having asthma symptoms, you're likely to have to wait longer than in most other industrialized countries. Something to think about....

  3. HB 3200 is filled with problems. Clearly, the "public option," even if renamed "co-ops," will squeeze out private insurance.

    This is magical thinking. Doesn't anybody have to study economics any more? The money has to come from somewhere, and the administration just announced on Friday that their deficit projections were off a couple trillion. They made a complete hash of "cash for clunkers" and "economic stimulus," so why should I trust this bunch with my health care?

    They have made a big point that they're going to reduce costs by having panels of experts decide which treatments people can have. There is no appeal of their orders available in HB3200.

    I'm a producer, a very hard worker. I pay for my health care, and I just want to keep paying for it. We have had no difficulties whatsoever with wait times or anything else since we moved to Texas, and I think the difference between here and California, where I used to live, has influenced me heavily that a good private system is the way to go. California has an overwhelmed economy and an overwhelmed health care system. They have driven businesses away with excessive taxation and regulation, and now they're having to live with that.

    How are younger workers going to feel when they find out that HB3200 forces them to purchase health insurance? Right now, one of the biggest segments of the uninsured consists of people who have health insurance available but choose not to buy it because they're young and healthy.

    There are things that can be done to help the poor with medical care, but HB 3200 is not a solution.

    My friends tell me health care in Canada is in trouble. Their urgeon general just announced they have to fix it. I read last week that UK has a monetary limit per year per person and then it has to be reviewed and prioritized to determine whether to give more care. There seem to be plenty of problems with socialized health care and even a trend toward some privatization.\

    If we pass this, how will we ever get rid of it?