Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Medical Record Access Could Improve Medical Care For All

Let's not squander this great opportunity! Medical outcomes are unknown for each of us and collectively, they are impossible to predict.

As Americans consider taking control of their health care records and ponder the future of medicine, the President is seeking to allay fears of the unknown future costs of medical care.

As the President says, if Americans can pay less with a public health care system, then they "need to know that". If health care insurance companies are saying they have nothing to fear from public health care alternatives, then they should welcome the competition. Let's call their bluff!

Yet, at the same time:

"- 46 million Americans remain uninsured;
- 20 thousand people continue to die each year because they are uninsured;
- Elderly Americans continue to make the choice of whether they should eat or buy medicine;
- Health care costs continue to bankrupt American families."

Huffington Post

It stand to reason that health care in a single-payer public system could become as popular as public schools. There are still private schools all over the place, but public alternatives are useful to the vast majority. I think the change would be welcome. As this doctor says in the Huffington Post in favor of a public alternative:

"I challenge the AMA leadership to cite a single example of an industry where involvement by the government has lead to the elimination of private enterprise. This has not been the case with the creation of public police forces in the second half of the 1800's (private security companies still exist), we have a robust system of public and private colleges existing the same market, and bookstores still sell books despite the presence of public libraries."
Huffington Post

And as for modernizing medical records, according to Esther Dyson, the well-known internet advocate:

"a typical thief would much rather get into your bank account than into your health record (despite some recent health care/identity theft stories. most medical fraud is not at the expense of individuals)."
Huffington Post

Being able to access records quickly could help doctors coordinate care. It could prove very useful for doctors and hospitals, making them more competitive and improving medical standards. That would benefit everyone.

Here's an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about current healthcare plans in America.

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