Being both a medical professional and a patient at times, I can truly attest to the high and continuously rising health care costs. It seems endless and amazes me daily. I am going to give some of my first-hand experiences of healthcare. I am sure not everyone will like what I have to say but that is why we are here on Helium, to give our opinions and debate.
The biggest problem in healthcare started with the passing of The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, more widely known as EMTALA. This law basically states that everyone, whether insured or not, has the right to medical treatment and care. Now I am not saying people do not have the right to medical care. I do agree with this. However, this law was intended to keep hospitals and doctors from turning away people with LIFE-THREATENING conditions if they were uninsured. The key word there was life-threatening. So basically if someone came in with chest pain or hemorrhaging they could not be turned away or directed to another facility. The problem here is people take this to mean that if they stub their toe or have an ingrown toenail or headache they can come to the emergency room and get treated for free. (And I assure you it is free because most of them do not bring any ID, give false addresses and phone numbers-I know because we often attempt to call them back to no avail). The hospitals and doctors do not and cannot turn them away because of fear of possible lawsuits. So, these people come in and get thousands of dollars worth of workups. To offset these losses, hospitals and facilities increase their prices. This increase goes to…you guessed it…the people with insurance and their insurance companies. The insurance companies, unable to pay the high costs, turn around and raise rates to their customers. It is a vicious cycle.
Now for those of you that are not in healthcare and see it daily, I assure you it is a widespread problem that continues to grow. I am, by the way, an ER nurse so I see this stuff first-hand daily. You would be amazed at what people come to the emergency room for. We have people that come in with headaches they say have been going on for weeks, back pain going on for years, fever (usually normal temperatures when checked and they did not take any medicine), diaper rashes, babies because they are “crying” (which are usually asleep in the carrier during triage time), girls and women requesting and sometimes demanding pregnancy tests (they are a dollar at the dollar store), and let me not forget the man that came in by ambulance that had scrotal itching for a year (definitely one that will forever stick out in my mind), and so forth. The complaints we hear daily are ridiculous. They are complaints that most people care for at home themselves. They are complaints that have been ongoing problems that should be followed up with a family doctor. It is sad to say but many of these people are welfare recipients so they do have state insurance that would pay for trips to the doctor. Their excuse is often that they were “too sick to go to the doctor”. Are you kidding me? So, you wait until the doctor’s office closes to come to the ER? Some will tell you they could not afford the $3 they have to pay at the doctor’s office but they have 2 packs of cigarettes (name brand Marlboro because the others “make them sick”) and they run to the vending machines for chips, candy bars and sodas (I thought you had nausea and vomiting?). Then there are those that cannot afford to go to the doctor that not only are carrying their cigarettes and treats but are packing razor cell phones with numbers tattoos that cost hundreds of dollars, telling their buddy in the next curtain they are getting a new tattoo next week. A large part of the problem are people seeking drugs. It is true. If they do not get the fix they wanted or the prescription they wanted, they will throw a tantrum..cussing and stomping to the door. Then, they will return two or three more times in the same day and maybe a few times the next day. Oh and do not forget those that come in then do not follow the doctor’s advice or get their prescriptions filled and come back repeatedly. If you’re not going to do as you’re instructed, why did you come to start with?
I know you think I’m exaggerating but I assure you all of the examples I mentioned are true occurrences that I myself have seen and experienced first hand.
There was a time in my life that I did not have healthcare or a means of affording to go the doctor either. So, I have experienced both sides of the coin for those of you thinking Im biased and not understanding. But, you know what, at that time in my life I did not run to the doctor for every little complaint.
There is going to have to be some changes in the way this operation is running for sure. People receiving welfare that wrongly use and abuse healthcare should have their monthly checks garnished a certain percentage. I know this would deter some of the ridiculous complaints that we see.
I went in to nursing to help people and I love to help people. It’s sad to feel refreshed when I see a truly sick patient, especially when you’re in a profession that wishes good health and wellness to all. People we have to talk to our Congressmen and Senators. There have to be changes made. The healthcare abuse has to stop for the sake of us that have to pay for it.