Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Medical Care, Heaven and Rain

Yesterday I spent nearly the whole day with my father-in-law at the doctor. I never cease to be amazed at the medical complexes in our major cities. And each one of them seems to be filled with people waiting in line to see a doctor. Incredible!

I have really been wanting to come to a better understanding of heaven, and so I bought several books on the subject. I know, you are thinking: Why don't you just read the Word? I have -- and I have rediscovered that the Word actually says a lot about heaven. Yet, at the same time -- it doesn't. Anyway, it has been interesting as I have begun reading these books. The writers certainly have some weird ideas. So far, I have been pretty disappointed in what they write. Just struggling with the issue is helping me to formulate a better understanding, however.

If we were the children of Israel, I wonder how God would punish us for our grumbling. Having endured one of the longest droughts in recorded history, we have been so blessed with rain this year. Here it is the end of June, and all of the lakes are full and everything is green. Yet as I go from place to place and listen to people, I am now hearing a lot of grumbling about too much rain.

My heart does go out to the people who lost family members in the flood waters the other night, as well as to those who have been displaced. What a nightmare!


jross said...

I'm cautious to talk about health care because it can lead to politics. So I will just say in passing - long lines are nothing compared to what will happen if the US goes with a national health care system. Nuff said.

Heaven - I don't know a lot about it - just that I won't be wearing this fleshly stuff and I'll be in the presence of God (I know more than that - but I'm summarizing).

Rain - SW Florida needs it desperately! I have read / heard about the flooding in Texas. Tragic!

Jeff said...

I remain firmly convinced that heaven will be filled with good rivers and big trout. :) That may be all my simple mind can handle when talking about heaven. That and the hope that Randy's shooting range isn't located next to my river.

As for the grumbling, as long as we got everything that we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted, there would be no grumbling. Otherwise, we tend to stay way too focused on the here-and-now instead of the rivers in heaven.

Jonathan said...

To still words from Bart Millard (mercy me): "I Can Only Imagine"...that songs paints the best portrayal of Heaven I have heard. Will I sit, will I stand, will I sing, will I be silent, will I dance?...doesn't matter because we will forever worship Him...gonna be nice.

randy said...

Heaven is where I will see God with unveiled eyes. And see Krystal again.

David said...

Actually, countries with a national health plan have about the same, and often shorter, wait times for most services. If you get sick and need to see a doctor quickly, you can. This is a huge miconception about most countries with socialized medicine. The long waits tend to be primarily for elective procedures, and then what is the rush, right?

However, because everyone has access to care in those countries, their quality of care is usually much higher and at a lower cost.

I don't proclaim to be an expert on this, but I have researched and written quite a bit about it, and have a graduate degree in it (for whatever that's worth!).

Whatever heaven is like I am sure it will have Labrador Retrievers. My wife is counting on this!

If we are to have all we need when we get there, does this mean there will also be a Wal-Mart?!?

Rick Ross said...

Interesting comments about health care. I was actually simply referring to the huge numbers of people who have health care needs. My reference to long lines did not have reference to the lack of care.

I use to be opposed to socialized medicine. However, as I have watched us slip from #1 in the world to somewhere in the 20s when it comes to health care, I am changing my mind. Most arguments against socialized medicine are losing their punch. Our choice of doctor is already being limited by HMOs, etc. Plus, in a country like ours, it is a travesty that the poor cannot get health care. Oh, I know someone will say, "They can't be turned away by a hospital." But that is for crisis situations. If they had maintenance care -- the crisis might be prevented.

My guess is that your perspective on heaven is clearer than many. Bless you, brother.

Jeff said...

Add a disease in your life like diabetes and you begin to have different perspectives on health care. I'm not so sure a national plan is all bad any longer.

As for heaven and Wal-Mart, I know that one of the wonderful things about heaven will be the absence of Wal Mart.

jross said...

I am not trying to be argumentative, but if our government run VA hospitals are a sign on things to come - we're in trouble. Not only that, but socialized medicine is going to require a HUGE tax increase. And I have never, ever, ever, read a report where socialized medicine provides a higher quality of care (did I say never?).

Back to heaven. "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" (Sing those words for the full effect).

Rick Ross said...


Check out Australia, Canada, the Skandinavian countries and most of the others who now rank ahead of us.

David said...

We are the last industrialized nation without some sort of national health plan.

And look how well we do in the WHO rankings.

David said...

You are absolutely correct about the number of people that need care in this country. Unfortunately too few receive it…I could go on for hours about this. One reason for the long lines is the craziness of our system. FAR too many people in this country use specialists as primary physicians. Have an ear ache; go immediately to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Insurance pays the difference in the higher cost and you still pay the same co-pay. Until next year when insurance premiums skyrocket to cover the insurance payments to the higher priced specialists.

We have too few primary care physicians! “While approximately 80%-90% of visits to a physician are considered basic care and could be provided by a primary care physician, many in the United States choose to visit a specialist for many procedures. In fact, only 13% of physicians in the United States are general practitioners as compared with nearly two-thirds of physicians in Great Britain.”

I get where you are coming from in both of your posts. I thought the exact same thing before I started studying our system, its problems, and comparison to other countries. I also had NO idea how low our quality of care is. (The World Health Organization ranks us 37. Slovenia is 38 and CUBA is 39.) I do not believe socialized care would require a HUGE tax increase, but I understand the concern and the thought process. I once assumed the same thing.

If a system could be designed to better use the funds already available, few additional funds would be needed. For example, if instead of spending 35 cents of every dollar on administrative costs, what if that was lowered to 5 cents and the additional went to expanding coverage? Can’t be done? Medicare and Medicaid (both government run) have admin expense ratios of about 3% - 5%. Add in that you would have no premiums because care is provided to all, not something you pay for and that lowers your cost. The intricacies are far to complex for here, but there are numerous alternatives to spending more.

Now, about VA hospitals. You are dead on. They are horrible. Much like many nursing homes, critical care facilities, etc. This is largely because our current system stinks so bad. There is too little funding because costs are so high. High costs means lower salaries, which means low recruitment, which means lower recruiting standards, which means lower quality of patient care, etc, etc, etc. It is a never ending circular problem.

“And I have never, ever, ever, read a report where socialized medicine provides a higher quality of care (did I say never?).” How many reports have you read toward the contrary? The U.S. spends 17% of GDP on health care. Great Britain spends 8% of their GDP on healthcare. And they crush us in the quality of care rankings. We spend more than twice as much, but they receive twice the level of care we do. Sounds like a better bang for the buck with socialized medicine. Now if they would adopt socialized dental insurance….

I look for the future to hold partly socialized medicine. This would include coverage for all US citizens. This would be a basic level of care so that one would not wait until they were forced into an expensive emergency room before they sought treatment for basic conditions. Frequency of care leads to a much healthier population in general which lowers costs (and may be the topic of my doctoral thesis one day).

I think basic care for all is doable and then individuals have the ability to purchase additional or specialized coverage (as they do now) on their own or through employers. But there will also have to be a major restructuring of the payments systems, insurance providers, and accountability of physicians. Consumerism will have to become a part of the equation as it has in EVERY other industry (but healthcare).

I am not unrealistic by expecting this to happen anytime soon. Public sentiment is beginning to shift, as evidenced by other posts here. However, I think, unfortunately, we will have to face a complete meltdown of our system for radical changes to be made. But what is happening now is many individuals, think tanks, and academics are starting to discuss options so that when this does happen, they will have plans in place.

Sorry for derailing post and rambling. When it comes to HC, I get carried away sometimes.

Here is a brief article about the US Health Care System for anyone interested.

David said...

Doesn't heaven has socialized medicine. Isn't every one of our needs provided for?