www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Roberts not the answer -10/30/2014, 10:25 AM

See the signs -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Incumbents always win -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Convention center -10/30/2014, 10:23 AM

Schodorf for SOS -10/30/2014, 10:14 AM

Supermarket shenanigans -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

Americans can fix the Senate -10/29/2014, 10:19 AM

A plea to city commissioners -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Having no price tag -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Leiker understands -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Justice doing his job -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Kansas and Greg Orman -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

'Surplus' KDOT money needed in western KS -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Ready for a budget spin -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Dishonest mailing -10/28/2014, 8:58 AM

Changing Republicans -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Follow the votes -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Shameful attempts -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Slanderous ads repulsive -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Medicare experiment -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Profile, or die -10/27/2014, 10:02 AM

Important issues -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Politics at their finest -10/27/2014, 10:01 AM

Most important election -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Enough is enough -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Is Roberts on final lap? -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Democrat turned Brownback supporter -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Editor Bradlee; For it All, 'Thank You' -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Davis for governor -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Roberts a changed man -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Time to stay the course -10/26/2014, 4:02 PM

Embarrassing economists -10/24/2014, 9:13 AM

Sherow for House -10/24/2014, 5:07 PM

It can't get crazier (wanna bet?) -10/24/2014, 9:04 AM

Digital distractions -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Orman for Senate -10/23/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal persecutors -10/23/2014, 10:00 AM

More ed cuts coming -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Leiker is the answer -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Sun shining on schools? -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Airline a great addition -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Huelksamp: ideologue extraordinaire -10/22/2014, 5:38 PM

Kids do count -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

Needing the past in the future? -10/22/2014, 10:31 AM

In praise of hunting -10/22/2014, 10:30 AM

What is a CID? Will it work for mall? -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Judging importance on the ballot -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Kansas Speaks -10/21/2014, 10:22 AM

Paying for schools -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Joining forces for Orman -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Research before voting -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Davis is moderate? -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The most important election in your lifetime -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Huelskamp stands out -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Kansas farm interests -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

Keeping unfounded reports from 'going viral' -10/19/2014, 1:21 PM

The age of cynicism -10/18/2014, 9:02 AM

Preventable diseases -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Second term needed -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Kansans deserve better -10/17/2014, 10:28 AM

Officially killing Americans -10/17/2014, 10:27 AM

New era at FHSU -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Roberts is right choice -10/16/2014, 10:01 AM

Crumbling Constitution -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Redbelly's future -10/16/2014, 9:52 AM

Kansas deserves better -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Remember to vote on Nov. 4 -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

You almost feel sorry for Sean Groubert -10/15/2014, 10:23 AM

Register to vote -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Living on that 70 percent -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

New bullying problem for schools: parents -10/14/2014, 10:14 AM

Cheerios, marriage equality, the Supreme Court -10/13/2014, 9:49 AM

Wedded bliss -10/12/2014, 5:54 PM

Who is the real fraud? -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Teenagers 'make some noise' -10/12/2014, 5:08 PM

Not so private property -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Federal funding -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Teacher indoctrination -10/10/2014, 10:01 AM

Vote Republican -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Non-partisan politics -10/9/2014, 9:49 AM

Teen driver safety week Oct. 19 to 25 -10/9/2014, 9:04 AM

FHSU party -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Poverty in America -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Let the women serve -10/9/2014, 10:11 AM

Time for new direction -10/8/2014, 9:49 AM

Improving Kansas economically -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Water abusers -10/8/2014, 9:35 AM

Play safe on the farm -10/8/2014, 9:34 AM

Where the money comes from -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The president's security -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

Marriage equality -10/7/2014, 10:24 AM

The sins of the father are visited -10/6/2014, 9:02 AM

Cannabis in America: The bottom line -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

A reason to celebrate -10/6/2014, 9:20 AM

Gov. shields wealthy from paying for schools -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

Passionate protest in defense of civil disorder -10/5/2014, 2:07 PM

October is time for baseball and, of course, film premieres -10/4/2014, 2:16 PM

Alley cleanup -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Will the West defend itself? -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

Find another school -10/3/2014, 10:01 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Reckless approach to health care in Kansas

Published on -12/14/2012, 9:21 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

I'm trying to sort out facets of the debates over health care.

Our current health care system started in the 1970s, when Nixon re-jiggered the definition and intent of comprehensive health care to give us health maintenance organizations. Consider this the beginning of the economic spiral we call American health care.

The current system rose from the nonprofit facilities that used to be run by both secular and religious organizations that had oversight from state and federal authorities. There were caps on costs. There was a clear accounting of everything, audited for accuracy.

Until someone figured out there would be a never-ending supply of sick people. Maybe they didn't think that exactly, when moves were made to give the management of health care to the blossoming HMOs. The larger interests of the insurance companies and Wall Street outweighed the ethic of any person's right to health care.

In short, there was money to be made, and lots of it, by the idea that The Market is capable of delivering quality health care, that the Invisible Hand would control costs and allow more innovation. These were the selling points at the time.

The industry is enormous. Health care was 17.9 percent of the gross domestic product in 2011, and estimated to rise to 20 percent of GDP by 2014. In 1980, we spent 9 percent of GDP in health care. Deregulation of the industry accounts for most of the inflation of costs.

The system as it has evolved is not about health care at all. Health care has become the equivalent of "product," that generic term used for whatever is being sold. It's about money, profit and shareholders.

By the standards of capitalism, this growth is appreciable. Big business would say that's the way it works, and it's working very well, because money is being made, people are employed, and the system has allowed for growth, research and development.

But that's not true. The inaccuracy lies in the profit motives. When health care went from being a social institution to an industry, Americans became consumers, not individuals.

These are important definitions in the debate.

Consumers are categorized by their disposable income, their socioeconomic status, their ability to pay. "People" is an all-inclusive term that hinders profit, since it addresses those without the means or status to pay.

Which brings us to today, when we have a system breaking under these mutually exclusive influences -- those who can pay for health care and those who can't afford it.

Wall Street says the system works because these companies are making great profits in the market. The business model of insurance works with material things but not with health care. You can replace a house, but aging has only one end and disability is generally a continuous state.

In the never-ending cycle of sickness and health, we have created the perpetual profit machine. We somehow justify 44 million uninsured and another 38 million without enough coverage. The market answers this deficiency by promoting policy that demands everyone have insurance.

The profit machine only gets bigger, not more effective.

People on Medicare and Medicaid are given to an adjunct system, creating a new profit sector in the administration of taxpayer funds.

Gov. Sam Brownback is a leading proponent of the market-driven health care policy.

He invited three companies into the state to provide oversight of the distribution of taxes to Medicare and Medicaid and the implementation of health care service administration statewide. He was only following the neo-conservative principle that everything gets better when business is allowed free rein.

He began a reconfiguration of health care funding with a rushed timeline and hindered the work of our elected insurance commissioner to bargain with companies seeking the contracts with the state. In an impetuous act of defiance he refused federal funds for implementation. He was more interested in running his end game of tea party politics.

That's not conservative, it's reckless and a rookie mistake in administration.

It was announced last week that the Jan. 1 deadline still will take place, when almost all of the 380,000 Kansans on Medicare and Medicaid will be moved into this new system, with oversight from the Kansas Department of Health.

There are discrepancies from the state and in the plans concerning the care of the disabled and the homebound, and officials have refused to push back the deadline to give people a chance to learn about the new plans.

Giving a choice of three companies is not a choice at all. The real choice would be giving every Kansan the care they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it, as opposed to care received as part of a business plan.

No policy devised places the needs of people over the need for profit.

Mary Hart-Detrixhe is a lifelong resident of the prairie and Ellis county. Her work can be found at www.janeQaverage.com.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos