Thank you, Chairman Robbie. I consider you a friend too, no matter what Pru says about you.
I appreciate the chance to speak to the fine group you have assembled here.
Ladies and gentlemen, (you know who you are), I share Robbie's dismay at the disrupted friendships I see around me, all because of disagreements over the details of public policy. As a kid, I watched my father eat BBQ with Republicans, for God's sake. Can we all just get a plate of ribs?
Robbie mentioned the Texas Medical Center. I see the TMC skyline at least twice a week. GIve me those gleaming buildings bristling with the latest technology over a ramshackle converted Costa Rican movie theatre with tongue depressors and bandages any day.
Architectural matters aside, the "medical profession" is a pretty broad category. Those building are hospitals, clinics and office suites. Two out of three of those things are not traditional private-practice physicians. Even if they were, so what? It takes smart, dedicated, energetic people with near-fanatical drive to become MDs, RNs and other high-end medical professionals. The demand for such people is high, and the supply of them is limited. Many smart driven people can - and do - choose other work. I do not begrudge them their salaries.
Many people are alive and walking the streets today because of the good people at TMC. Pru is one such streetwalker.
However, that is not why I came here to address all of you tonight. I must point out that Robbie has slighted the fair city of Houston.
He forgot the other Houston skylines: The Galleria, Greenway Plaza and Energy Alley. Upscale consumer goods, financial/entrepreneurial practices and the oil bidness in three gigantic steaming piles of chrome, glass and steel. God bless Texas!
At this point in the presentation, your applause is optional but greatly appreciated.
Thank you...thank you very much...good to see all of you...thanks...
Your stride is like a hot charade, spinning me, yeah I'm led
down the street by those Lucite heels, kicking me in the head
Like a frog in a blender, I am greener than I want to be
Yeah, I'm sick from the motion, and I know that I should want to flee
You're a streetwalker, phone-talker
Cue-chalker, don't you mess around with me
You're a streetwalker, tub-caulker
Star-stalker, don't you mess around, no, no, no!
Dallas, Didn't mean to slight the fair city of Houston. I'm sure it has some things almost as good as Dallas and San Antonio.
I don't begrudge doctors the amount of money that they make. Begrudge is a pretty nasty word.
But, I do think the medical profession has strayed when it decides that medicare does not pay enough for them to see people who have to depend on that source of funding for their medical care. That is a completely diferent kind of person than the Doctor that I went to when growing up. He had set fees, but if you couldn't pay , he would see you anyway and you paid what you could. We looked up to Doctors, but they lived in the same neighborhoods as the rest of us. They were a part of the community, their kids played sandlot football and baseball with the rest of the neighborhood kids. Is that still true? There were few "rich" neighborhoods. As near as I can tell, most doctors are now very different from the patients they treat.
But they also have trouble with the insurance companies. A few years ago my doctor told me that if he didn't have to have a person in his office who did nothing but deal with the insurance companies he would be able to provide medical service a lower cost.
One of my main gripes about the current medical system is that you have non medical people deciding what treatments you should have, based on a cost factor not on a need factor.
Robbie, it's OK ... I am a native Dallasite, but Houston has a great folk art scene and a regular-guy appeal that Dallas doesn't... and San Antonio?...well, Hemisfair was a long time ago, but the Riverwalk is cool.
Begrudge? ...didn't say you did, said I didn't ...
The whole medical cost/fees thing is paradoxical. It can lead one to criticize doctors who do not want to lose money by working for Medicare rates, while at the same time sympathizing with doctors, like the one you mentioned, who incur overhead dealing with insurance companies who likewise want services to be cheap.
Never mind that your doctor could fire the insurance paper-pusher, refuse all insurance payments, cut his or her fees and let patients pay in installments.
I'm not trying to be hard on you or your doctor. I'm just saying that there are all kinds of twists and turns that people - including me - use to cast themselves in a better light. I should know.
I once tried to return a ripped tie because I felt that it should have been able to withstand female fingernails. My luck, there was this snobby girl at the Tiche-Goettinger men's counter that day. She sided with my assailant.
Now we have two classes of people.
The government and the rest of us peasants.
When the insurance companies move out of this country people will cry foul.
Maybe we can go to Mexico to find a job. (Or Cuba). Costa Rica is building healthcare facilities.
I love this healthcare plan.
In a few years people will see how dumb our leaders really are.
Boy, we really socked it to our insurance companies, didn’t we?
How many more businesses can we run off.
If I get sick in Costa Rica, I'll let you know how their system is. In the mean time I will hold my comments on our new health program that no one has read, and was written by ghost writers unnamed, until I find out how much more it will cost me for my "free" medical care for life that was promised me over 50 years ago. I suspect that since I am in the elderly group, that the services will be curtailed sharpley.
Pru, I sincerely hope that it will do what you believe it will do.
Hope, that's the theme of the current administration isn't it?
I don't believe insurance companies will move anywhere. Where would they go? Almost all of the industialized world has nationalized health care. Are they going to move to Dubia? oh wait they have national health care.
"We don't need Insurance Companies for the delivery of Health Care..."
Insurance companies are indeed unnecessary. All that is required for their disappearance is for everyone to pay 100% of their own medical expenses. Nothing to it.
"...their an unnecessary middleman that adds excessive costs in their "administration"of the process."
If Insurer A is "overcharging" for the administration of its plan, competing Insurers B, C, etc., will soon steal all their customers by offering more efficient plans.
I trust you agree that insurance without cost research, fraud detection, timely correspondence with policy holders, and other administrative tasks would result in massive fraud being perpetrated on the insurance companies, thus making insurance even more expensive and inefficient.
"...bring on single payer (the next step towards logical delivery of the nations health care)."
"Single payer" just means there is one source that handles all the paperwork and cuts the checks. The money for those checks still has to come from somewhere. It comes, of course, from money collected by force of law from individual citizens and employers by the government.
Medicare in the USA is an example of a single-payer system. Everyone knows there is no excessive paper-pushing or fraud in Medicare. If it were not so, there would be criminal trials and private supplemental plans that ... oh, never mind.
O, to have Universal Single Payer Health Care! A government-run system with no market competition (thus no incentive to improve), lots of aging Baby Boomers, an increasing percentage of more poorly-educated and thus poorly-paid taxpayers.
Yep, I can see it now: Single Payer will surely not have anything like the "administrative costs" those mean old private insurance companies had.
And it goes without saying that fewer and less affluent taxpayers will not mind being taxed more each year to pay for the mathematical certainty that attends our demographic and economic facts. RIght, right ?
One last thing: it is just plain not true that an insurance company can refuse to pay a just claim without risk. If they do, they can be sued for payment, and the medical debt, the costs of the suit, plus interest on the medical debt, can be collected from them upon a judgment in the patient's favor. Medical service providers review such cases, and if they agree the patient's claim is just, they will actually join forces with the patient in the suit.