My Turn, Steve Arey: What do I think about health care? Don’t ask

Published 10:59 am Saturday, December 10, 2016

Have you ever had a telemarketer hang up on you? I did.

So, I answer the phone and the person asks for my wife. I told her she wasn’t home and she asks if I will answer a three-minute survey and if I agree to do that they will make a donation to St. Jude Hospital, so I said OK.

The survey was about health care, insurance and stuff like that. We were fine until she asks me, “What do you think is primarily wrong with our health care in the U.S.?” That was her mistake, because I spent the rest of my time telling her until she hung up on me, and I wasn’t even close to done yet.

I’m not sure the order that I gave all of this in because I felt my face getting red as I was just thinking about that question. I started rattling off the stuff that just came to mind thinking about my health care insurance going up $50 a month again this year, and listening to the PBS talking about how the Republicans are going to fix health care and the first thing they will do is repeal Obamacare, as they call it. Now this will give the insurance companies another excuse to go up on their premiums.

“Do you think they will come down?” I said.

Are you kidding me? We have a health care system that puts all of their advertising dollars on the next best drug for you to ask your doctor for on your next visit. Forget about the side effects. A system that encourages the next best cure for what ails you with virtually nothing on prevention. Why should I have to pay for and have my insurance rates increase because of people that won’t take care of their own bodies? People that smoke and do drugs and activities like running into each other on a football field?

We need to take all of these high risk people and get them into their own plan and make them pay for it.

We have a cowboy mentality in this country of solving problems with guns instead of sitting down and talking about what’s wrong. We have a system with too many fingers in the pie. An industry that encourage problems by creating names for the next diagnosis so they can name another disease that needs curing. People on disability faking injuries and back problems, physical therapy treatment clinics on every street corner.

Technology? Don’t get me started. Right before she called, I just finished looking up the cost of a 12” air filter for a probe soaking station and you can get two-year supply of four filters at a discount of only $518.00. How many fingers in the pie? It’s astronomical when you start considering the VA Healthcare system that goes to Congress every year spelling out how many veterans they have to serve now. I haven’t used their services in 10 years and I bet you they still include me on their list.

In 1996 the VA sent a letter out to all veterans telling them that if they didn’t enroll in the VA system then they will never be eligible for care. That got 60,000 vets per year for the next three years coming into the system clogging it up, taking care away from the vets that really need the care. They took the money from Congress to operate the system then started billing the insurance companies of the new vets in the system that had their own insurance. Then they billed Medicare for the ones that had it and then they billed the veteran for whatever the insurance didn’t pay. My healthcare insurance premiums started going up every year since and still hasn’t stopped. How many fingers in the pie? What’s wrong you ask?

Don’t get me started.

The Joint Commission, the NFPA, the Societies and magazines and training industry, I could go on and on.

I’m sorry St. Jude, I just couldn’t help myself.

Steve Arey of Salisbury is manager of Biomedical Equipment Service Technicians of Rowan LLC.