By Richard ”Dick” Olson
The Monadnock Ledger Transcript’s June 2 editorial “A sane policy on health-care needed now” appears to have been written with the editor’s heads in the sand to borrow their quote.
First of all, our purported representatives in Washington have not had first hand experience dealing with Medicare or health-care insurance companies so they do not have a clue. They do not pay for any of their care because we pay for it.
I have had the fortunate (or unfortunate) experience with Medicare since 2006 and with Government run health-care (Veteran’s Administration) since 2006.
When I retired in 2005, my “COBRA” health-care premiums were almost $900 per month so I studied various plans for a year to look for the best value. Somewhat to my surprise, I found out that my government would deduct monthly premiums from my well earned Social Security benefits.
In 2006, I enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B and also applied for health-care benefits from the VA because I earned those benefits by serving my country for four years during the Vietnam conflict. Of course, I found out that my benefits would be limited because I was not disabled. I signed up for prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D and found that I would pay a private insurer a monthly premium and that if I used medications that cost over $2,000 to $3,000 annually, I would not be covered if I went beyond those amounts until I spent about $2,000 of my own money. (Called the donut hole).
Here are some of the wonderful things I have learned since 2006.
● No one except yourself will manage your healthcare and its costs.
● Trust no one with health-care and its costs! I trusted AARP because I have been a member since 1991 only to find out that their sponsored health-care provider charged me $660 more per year than Anthem Blues or others. AARP receives a “kick-back” from anyone they endorse
● The health-care I receive from the Veteran’s Administration (Manchester) is good, however, I have received medications without having them discussed with me and making me pay a co-pay that is not competitive with Wal-Mart. (Annual costs for generics are $96.00 vs. Wal-Mart’s $40.00)
● I must maintain a medical relationship with my Doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic in Keene so that if I need emergency care I can get in locally.
● Wal-Mart is a very “Big Business” as derided by the Ledger, however it is helping us retirees more than Washington has.
I also find it interesting that all health-care providers, including hospitals advertise their services. I would estimate that the Ledger, get more that 30% of their advertising revenue from MCH and others.
Washington and Concord (Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, etc.) should stop tinkering with citizen’s rights and start major reforms that are needed to fix the system.
To name a few:
· Institute Tort reform to limit abusive law suits and encourage people to become medical professionals.
· Stop the NH legislature for stealing $110 million in surplus from the medical malpractice insurance fund run by the Joint Underwriting Association.
· Restrict lobbyists in the Health-care industries from access to and “bribing” our elected representatives. (This was a campaign promise Mr. President!)
· Give equal access and benefits to elected officials and have them become part of the system. (Another campaign promise Mr. President!)
· Take legal action against “bi-partisan non-profit” organizations that use their organizations to profit from healthcare.
· Establish / strengthen grants, endowments, scholarships for students willing to enter the medical professional field (Nurses, technicians, surgeons, Doctors) and encourage General practitioners.
· Establish a reward system to encourage cost control, control of infection, innovative healthcare, and better generic medications.
Much of this is the “same-old, same-old but our elected officials are not listening to their constituents but are working their own self-serving agendas.