Even with a bill passed in both houses of Congress, Healthcare reform and the issue of a universal or national healthcare system continues to dominate discussions on the hill. There is talk of repealing the bill and potentially leaving millions more Americans vulnerable and uninsured. Some argue that repeal is for the best because the current bill gives the government too much power and circumvents our individual rights and freedoms. Still others argue that the bill does not go far enough to grant every single American the right to healthcare services. These views are polarizing both the Representatives on Capitol Hill and their constituents who live on main-street.
Nurses and physicians work in the field taking care of the insured, the under-insured, and the uninsured. These healthcare professionals see first-hand how the ability to pay for healthcare services shape people’s perception of illness and their willingness to seek medical assistance in a timely manner. Given how highly charged the issue is, it is important to know what these nurses and doctors think of all the hoopla that still surrounds the issue of healthcare.
Healthcare Workers’ Viewpoint:
The opinions in this article are those expressed by the nurses and physicians at a Dallas hospital. For confidentiality reasons the names of said nurses and physicians, as well as, the name of the Dallas area hospital where they work will not be used. Based on their experience in the system, these healthcare workers pointed out their frustrations with the current system, reform, and universal healthcare. The issue is healthcare reform and universal healthcare. How do nurses and doctors view this?
On the other hand, there are some nurses and physicians who vehemently oppose the idea of universal healthcare and reform that have been passed. These healthcare workers state the following:
Healthcare is not a right. It is the responsibility of each individual to work hard and pay for the care they require. Many people do not think their hard earned money should be syphoned to take care of individuals who are not pulling their own weight. A system that provides healthcare for all rewards people who are not contributing members of society. Even more, those who oppose healthcare reform and universal healthcare insist that it is not their place to take care of individuals who are lagging in their duties to self and society. These people become a drag on the system. Universal healthcare encourages the weaker members of society to stay weak and non-productive. If people had to pay for the services they receive, they are motivated to find work and everyone wins.
Paying for such a system will require an increase in taxation. This means more money taken from hard working Americans; money they can use to take care of their families, co-pays and deductions, as well as anything they think necessary. Increased taxation also limits funds available during retirement.
Some physicians and nurses believe that Medicare is a blithe on the healthcare system. In a free market society, insurance companies should be allowed to compete freely without a government run system that undermines the free market. Ideally, a free market will take care of pricing and completion will reduce the overall cost of healthcare. Hospitals and insurance companies that meet the demands of society will prevail. People who work hard will have access to healthcare services.
It is common knowledge that physicians in the United States earn more than physicians in other industrial nations. Extensive training and hard work is rewarded by respectable pay checks. Many worry that their living standards will drop if a national healthcare system is passed. Moreover, current reform advocates preventative care which may live certain specialties out of the loop. After years of training to be of service to society, these specialties may become obsolete.
Many people like to know that if they are insured, the care they need will be available to them when it is needed. It is perceived that extending healthcare benefits to all will lead to long waiting lines and if this were the case, many individuals are rightfully afraid of the cost to their lives and quality of living.
Patients are more likely to get preventive care if they are insured. Healthcare services cost a lot of money. Many people have been bankrupted as a direct result of their inability to pay medical bills, which include hospital stay, physician and auxiliary care visits (home health nurses & therapists), as well as, pharmaceutical aids and medical supplies. This means that the health and financial well-being of patients are affected by any laws that offer improved access to healthcare services.
Preventative care saves hospitals and tax-payers money. Although not a primary concern for nurses, they were quick to point out that the under-insured and uninsured patients who make it to the hospital only arrive when they are so sick that they may never be completely healed from a disease that could have been prevented with the right out-patient care. Due to the advanced progression of their illness upon admission, these patients stay longer in hospitals and respond less to conventional therapies. The result is a very high cost for the care provided. Since these individuals cannot pay, in many instances, the hospitals are stuck with the bills. In order to pay off debts accrued the hospitals increase the cost of care for those who can pay. It is a logical solution that now affects law abiding tax payers which could have been prevented.
People that are chronically ill cannot work and pay for healthcare. Some end up homeless and become society’s problem relying on assistance from private parties or city government. If everyone was insured, many people who require frequent medical care will be taken care of, thus reducing the number of homeless people in society.
The U.S. is the only industrial nation that does not offer healthcare coverage to all its people.
In a system that relies solely on profit motivated insurance companies to provide compensation, access to certain needed therapies become limited if they are not approved by the patient’s insurance company. These used to be most prevalent with the introduction of HMOs and have since improved. Still it is a stain many organizations prefer not to discuss. As people whose sole reason for being is the care of patients it is no wonder that many will like a system where compensation did not play such an indelible role.
Overall, during the interview process that led to this article, it became apparent that most healthcare workers opinions on access to healthcare were greatly influenced by the role they played in the care of their patients. It was quite apparent that the nurse’s role as patient advocate greatly influenced their view on healthcare reform and a universal healthcare system. An overwhelming number of nurses were in support of a system that offered coverage to every patient that walked through the hospital doors. Physicians, who were more likely to voice concerns over structure, efficacy, and compensation, were less likely to provide support of a system that will drastically change the existing landscape.