Familiar with the horrible failures at Walter Reed? Before jumping on the bandwagon of the “Destroy Bush” crowd, understand the failures at Walter Reed are a systemic failure of the military hospital and VA system, and the VA system has been under attack for decades for its failures, so, sorry, this can’t be pinned on Bush OR Cheney (and sorry, right-wingers, this can’t be pinned on either of the Clintons, or Carter).
First, people have to understand something. The primary issue here, at this point, is the mounds of bureaucratic red tape the people must navigate to get the proper care for themselves, and/or their loved ones. The military is being accused of putting all this red tape in place. The military has a chain-of-command, granted, but cannot thrive on bureaucracy. The military succeeds when it is efficient. Most bureaucratic red tape is put there, not by the military, but by the very people who are holding proverbial firing squad hearings.
If you believe “single-payer” health care system (SPHCS) is the answer, read the horrors of the Walter Reed debacle, because that is a SMALL taste of the SPHCS. Remember, there is a reason why the wealthy citizens of SPHCS countries come to the U.S. for treatment, because, here, they don’t have to wait, which often is the difference between life and death.
I readily acknowledge that our current system has issues, SERIOUS issues, as I have experienced and witnessed them. While I am completely for tort reform, I know that that is a small drop in the bucket. The first thing would be to attempt to reduce the red tape, but as that would require the cooperation of the very people whose jobs it is to administer the red tape, that’s not likely.
The first solution would be computerization of the whole system. Require patient data to be transmittable via a open (as is non-proprietary) format (such as XML), encrypted of course, so that patient data can be shared AS NEEDED between DOCTORS (NOT insurance companies OR the government). Require patient data to be stored encrypted, and with multiple redundancies. That’s it. Let the doctor’s and hospitals figure out the best way for each of them. The entire health care system still relies far too much on paper (as does the government).
There are a lot of good ideas out there that don’t require a SPHCS (the Center For Health Transformation has a lot, it also has a few I don’t like). The way forward is not a SPHCS or the status quo, but those are the only two agendas being put forth by people on both sides of the political spectrum. What I find frustrating is that there are VERY few people who think the status quo is working, so why aren’t we talking?