Medical coverage/Are we our brothers and sisters keepers?


:harp:I was inspired by a thread about parental responsibilities, dead bead dads and mothers, and who should pay for the innocent children affected. Through no fault of their own, little ones go hungry, have no medical or dental care, while some blame the system, the irresponsible parents and the high cost of living. I believe ***we are ***"our brother’s (and sisters) keepers, and invite your opinions along with creative ideas.

Tragic example
A young Virginia child’s mother had medical coverage, but not enough for additional dental care and her child developed a cavity and an infection. A kindly dentist offered to help at no cost, even the necessary surgery, as the infection had spread.

It was too late. The child didn’t receive care in time and tragically and needlessly died.
Instead of blaming the poor mother, I wonder if there are more ways to avoid such tragedies, and please list yours here too:

One way to help: Many cities offer several days in large conventions centers for free medical and dental care for anyone: homeless people, families in distress, etc. No charge, all sponsored by a number of independent, private companies and some Federal help. Can this kind of help be expanded? Can we as Catholics join in to help more people?

B]Example: Our Elderly Brethren. Can we do more for them? *
A woman cannot afford follow up care at a physical therapy treatment center for a non emergency arthritic condition. Her copay is $75 a visit, and the center wants her to come three times a week.
* In addition, the insurance co.'s part is @220 per visit.*** That is a total of $445 a week*** for the three visits for the grandmother, over a period of six months. The grandmother asks, could she just come once a week? No, these exercises need to done at least three times a week if not daily. The grandmother asks if these visits, which include only a gentle neck massage and a hot pad treatment (a 30 minute visit) is really a cure. Could she not take home a booklet with photos of the exercises and also use a heat pack?

Looking at the patient cross eyed, the assistant admits there is no cure, hands her the booklet and shakes her head, even as the grandmother explains her fixed income. Later that evening, the grandmother lets her insurance company know that she chose not to attend the three expensive visits when there is no cure and is investing in a heating pad.
Cost of visits: $445 a week for one year (you can do the math)

Cost of heating pad ($10.) Cost of daily exercises at home in this unique case: $0.00
The insurance company rep is actually grateful. At a parish event later in the week, the grandmother listens to several other elderly women who tell of similar experiences. Some could not afford to go at all, some went only a few weeks, and some had more serious issues.
***Are we doing enough for our elderly brethren? ***
Are these rising costs an unending trend? What can we do for people on fixed incomes?
One Possible Answer: Honesty from health care centers and alternatives for those unable to pay. Some parishes have their own Elder care advocates.
Your ideas?

Example: Insurance Lobbyists
will most likely approach and pressure candidates from both sides of the political fence, driving up costs. Rather than get into a political debate, how can we help people who have lost jobs, homes, and cannot afford care when we are all struggling to care for ourselves and our families? Must it be political-ended or can we make creative possibilities available? Or can we somehow manage, as citizens, to provide private/charitable solutions?

So, are we our brothers and our sisters keepers?

I say yes. We’re all in this together. Since many of us are struggling ourselves, are there any charitable, private ways to do better than we are doing now? Can we expand the once or twice yearly open call in the town convention centers offering free medical/dental care or it that naive?

Not to get into a political debate, but those against a universal one payer system, are you opposed to finding private corporations to sponsor the above kinds of city wide freebies to the homeless? To those who have lost jobs, homes, and families with children living in cars?

Can Catholic parishes, already sponsoring soup kitchens, poor people within and outside of the parish, food pantries, occasional referrals and generous relief services here and abroad, find even more creative ways to help more people in distress?

Idea starters: Please add to this list!
sponsoring battered women’s shelters and homeless shelters already in place, (which many parishes already do).
Also, more idea- sharing seminars between parishes to deal with unique challenges in their neighborhoods.
Another way is to fight youth gang violence. Some parishes invite police officers, school board members and school principals to community meetings. Reaching our troubled youth is always an excellent start!
Checking in more often with our elderly parish brethren seems a must. Many need help with filling out complicated medical and insurance forms, in addition to needing help with hot meals, finding assistance for which they may be eligible for through social services.
These are just starting points. Your ideas welcome!**:angel1:

God’s blessings,
Kathryn Ann**


The possible answer is the system that we have in the UK. Most health care is provided by the NHS and is free at the point of use. There is also a system of social security that pays benefits to the unemployed and other people. I know that the concept of the welfare state is very much a northern/western European one. I cannot understand what I see as a North American opposition to this sort of system. As I understand it efforts made by President Obama and his government to introduce health care reform to help the less fortunate was meant by considerable opposition.

in canada our taxes pay for healthcare other then dental and eycare (checkups, if you have something wrong and family doc sends you its covered)

so we have free healthcare and i see cnn, or fox saying oh horrible our system is, its not true, we have some problems but i wont lose my house if i get sick,

and france, canada,uk are not socialists or communists, yet in debate they argue that it is, but to be honest canada pays income tax and how many americans pay income tax and know what its going to? honestly its not like its some huge amount, and to be honest, i use more healthcare then i could ever afford in america.

In my own city there are at least two free clinics, where physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals volunteer their time and expertise. I know that my own dentist has treated patients at no cost at those clinics. Some patients use those clincis when they need them, and pay what they can, if they can. There are also several homeless shelters in town, and several places which offer free meals including one operated by the diocese. Yes, we are our brothers keepers.

On the other hand I know a physician in a medical specialty who has made it a habit to travel to a Latin American country with a mission about once a year to offer his services free to the poor . He was once asked why he did that in Latim American but not here. He replied, “because in Latin America, the patients won’t sue you.”

It is a shame that so few physicians are willing/able to provide for the disadvantaged. Healthcare seems to be less about “care” and more about business. Going to see the doctor feels more like a business transaction filled with lots of small print and protection clauses, even with those doctors who really do care. Whatever happened to home visits? Most people in my age group don’t even know about them unless they watch older movies or have nostalgia.

I had a much better response typed here before my computer crashed, but what I can say with the time I have is this: I (and many) find it difficult to trust the government with another responsibility when it has failed in so many past and current ventures, duties and promises. It kind of feels like the “big brother” who never grew out of his bad habits. The more money you give (or rather pay) to him, the less you get in return and the more needy he grows. I guess you could say that a compulsive gambler and the US government have a lot in common when it comes to taking risks with other peoples’ money and trying to make back the losses with more bad decisions; in the end, there are serious trust issues. On a side note, while I disagree that universal healthcare is the ideal solution, I am much more opposed to any mandate that forces individuals to buy health insurance (the constitutionality of which will be debated in the Supreme Court soon I think). Prior to the 1960’s, healthcare was affordable, doctors were more willing to help the disadvantaged for little or no money (they weren’t paying so much to stay in business) and religious and charitable groups could more easily afford to care for those without the financial means. I believe the government made things worse.

One thing I really want to make clear because I hear it a lot: Just because an individual is opposed to universal healthcare does not mean they do not care about those in need. Given the cost, most are in need and as Catholics (and as humans really) we should be concerned about the impact this issue has on others. Even at 23 years of age, I pay hundreds of dollars a month for health insurance (I do need it), but thank God that I have a job to pay for that. Most of my friends cannot afford insurance let alone the medical bills (i.e. $800 for an ambulance ride or $1,000,000 for my grandmother to slowly die over a period of 100 days).

This is simply how I see things and I am aware that many here will disagree. I am sure that all sides of the debate want the best solution, but that is the key: the BEST solution.

Prayers and petitions,
Alexius :cool:

haha how is the UK debt situation? That is also considering you tax the upper class at close to 50%. Nationalized health care is wasteful, ineffective, and too expensive. It works against promoting people to take care of themselves so they don’t need to go to the doctor. When this occurs and costs start soaring the government then has to come in and tell people what they can and can’t do even more since their everyday choices affect everyone else. You start to regulate smoking, what people can and can’t eat, how much salt people are allowed to use. If you don’t regulate these things then costs keep soaring because people don’t take care of themselves. Nationalized health care is so adamantly opposed because its like stepping off a cliff. Its easy to step off and start falling, but its a lot harder to try and figure out a way to get back up once you fall far enough to see the spikes your about to fall onto.

Can you see how nationalized health care is like the gateway drug into allowing the government to regulate our lives? The only good regulation I can see coming out of that would be a ban on premarital sex to prevent the spread of STD’s :wink:

Unfortunately, a doctor’s visit is no longer just a personal encounter between patient and physician.

A doc may have graduated from medical school and gone through some years of internship and residency. But chances are, when he enters practice, he hasn’t memorized all the currnet 18,000 diagnositic codes he will need to know in order to get paid by insurance companies, so he will need to hire one or more medical coding techs, who do know how to get him paid.

Right now, there’s only 18,000 diagnostic codes, but that will shortly be increased by federal mandate to 140,000. If you got pecked by a chicken, that’s code W6133XA (initial encounter), or W6133XD (subsequent encounter), or W6133XDS for sequelae. If he doesn’t bill it correctly, he won’t get paid.

The personal touch sort of get lost in the bureaucracy.

i hear people talking about how oh the government is in charge if its public…canadian healthcare is public and doctors run the show, no government says oh you wont get care,…brainwashed so long that its sad…and then oh people debate why should i help others…man glad you were not around when jesus was…jesus didnt say to the poor and sick let me see your HMO…or insurance…

our canadian healthcare isnt communist…here read our rights

France? I, for one, would not accuse its healthcare system of being communist. In fact, there’s much to be admired in it.

The French system is about 2/3 public and 1/3 private. In the private system, doctors charge what they want and people pay however they’re able. Not surprisingly, the best doctors are often attracted to this segment of the system, as are those who are either wealthy or have good insurance.

In the public part, the doctors are employees of the state. They make pretty low salaries by U.S. standards; about 40% of what a doctor makes here. (And their taxes are higher) In the public part, healthcare is not free. You pay in advance and are reimbursed (less deductible, usually about 20%) by the state upon application. Illegals can get care, but they get no reimbursement. It’s cash and carry for them. You have to prove legal status at the point of care.

Medical education is free, so French doctors don’t have huge debts to pay when they go into practice. The education of physicians is expanded or contracted by the government, depending on how it sees the nation’s needs.

Malpractice suits are judge-tried by specially trained judges. The government pays the malpractice insurance of the 2/3 in the public sector. Attorneys of claimants are paid by the hour, not as a percentage of the take.

So, full-bore “socialized medicine” it isn’t. Given that so much of U.S. healthcare is paid by the government anyway, it’s not terribly different from what we have in the U.S., it’s just better organized, and people evidently accept that it’s “class differentiated” in effect. That “pay in advance” business is tough, but maybe it’s better than what we have in the U.S. where everybody expects to walk into a doctor’s office and be treated for nothing. Undoubtedly their way of doing it cuts down on overutilization, which is rampant in the U.S. For those who absolutely, positively can’t pay “up front”, there are limited local authorities who might come up with it.

The last time I looked, hospitals in France were the exception. For their care, the government pays directly, less deductible. But that has resulted in terrible ER overutilization like we have in the U.S., so they’re in the process of changing that.

Now, except in the French “private system” there is nothing approaching the way medical care is delivered in the U.S. In the U.S., expensive tests and treatments are utilized to maximize hope of detection and recovery. If a test typically shows something only 5% of the time, U.S.providers will do it, no matter how expensive it is. That’s why the U.S. has something like 10 times as many MRI machines per capita than places like Britain. To some degree that’s due to the overwhelming cost of malpractice suits in the U.S., but it’s also typical of the “cure or bust” way it’s approached in the U.S. In the U.S., if a treatment cures only 1% of its recipients, it will still be tried, no matter how expensive it is, and the whole system is geared to that approach. That’s a big part of the reason why healthcare overall is more expensive in the U.S. than elsewhere. Other systems aren’t like that, and certainly the French system isn’t, except in the private sector where they’ll do whatever the doctor recommends, if you want it and can pay for it.

I am curious why nobody seems particularly serious about truly reforming health care in a manner that could actually work. Obama’s monstrosity appears calculated only to drive out of business all small medical practices and self-insurance operations and create more “too big to fail” corporate megaliths. Probably because that’s who paid the most lobbying money…

A serious plan would look something like this:

  1. National coverage for all basic office and preventive care. Even the feds can’t do it more idiotically than the current insurance system does. Sliding copay based on income bracket, $10-$50/visit to prevent frivolous over-use. Gets everybody coverage and eliminates horrendous duplication of paperwork and bureacracies. Lack of preventive care is the only reason Canada’s system outpeforms ours. Fix that and we don’t need their universal / all needs coverage to leapfrog their outcomes.

  2. Private insurance for hospital and outpatient surgical coverage like we have now. No creeping total national takeover. No utopian fantasies. No nightmares about future budet explosions.

  3. Tort reform. No jackpot cash awards for any reason. Malpractice complaints shall determine suspension and/or loss of license, not cash payouts. Financial awards will be limited to paying the lawyer (modest) fees and if found guilty the defendent’s liability will be limited to medical coverage for the disabled patient and financial support equal to that the person receives under social security disability (effectively doubling it). Both forms of support last only as long as the disability. This should drastically reduce the absurd liability insurance costs and intrusions into how doctors practice medicine to cover their backsides rather than to provide reasonable care to patients.

The British have moved past the Protestant Work Ethic philosophy to a greater degree than the people of the US. Ironically though, the concept is a Western European and very English one. Go figure. :shrug:

Now many Americans decry anything European as marxist. . . . .

Yes we are, to put it succinctly. But that does not mean we are obligated to feed the insatiable beast of modern medicine to accomplish it.

The day may come soon when all we can provide for the sick and dying is what Mother Theresa could provide.

Yes, and the more we continue to pile up the national debt load, the sooner that day is likely to come. When Uncle is no longer able to provide for us, what do we do, except provide for each other?

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