Friday, November 14, 2008

Government & Health Care

I broke down and watched Sicko a few nights ago. Interesting. Despite my difference of opinion on many issues, I've always found Michael Moore's work intriguing going back to when I first watched Roger and Me in the early 90's. Even with Sicko, I do not fault him for selecting facts for his advantage - he's trying to prove a point. Seriously, though, does anyone watch Sicko and believe that Moore has presented all the facts available to him?

Few can argue with a straight face that our current health insurance system works the way it should. I certainly do not pretend to have THE answers to fixing insurance costs, medication costs, or the problem of how to help the uninsured. However, when we consider the options for making health care affordable (or free) there are several stumbling blocks in plain view:

1. The Driver's License and Motor Vehicle Department. I don't know how it is where you live, but these are rarely efficient and usually quite painful. During my time in Birmingham, AL, I frequented one in Homewood where lunch breaks, computer failures, lines, and an utter lack of communication and proper signage made the "enterprise" a circus - nothing against those who work there. Now in Lexington, KY, I was disappointed on my first trip to find that they still do not accept payment by any kind of debit or credit card but require an ancient, paper form of money.

2. VA Hospitals. Ask any doctor who spends part of their time in the VA and they'll likely tell you that the VA cannot compete with the other local hospitals. I'm sure there are exceptions, but in general these are the most out-of-date, inefficient facilities to be found - nothing against those who work there. My few trips into VA facilities has felt amazingly similar to my experience in the former Soviet Union.

3. Congress itself. Can you say "negative approval rating"? And we want them to run our health care systems? (Like George Costanza being your latex salesman..."I don't think so.")

4. The Post Office. Okay, so this is fairly competent sometimes. But why do you have to send your envelope with "extras" if it actually has to arrive at its destination? (Nothing against those who work there...and, btw, my mailman, Doug, is super...) However, headlines just this week show that the U. S. Postal Service is heading to a $2.8 billion loss for 2008.

I'm certain that there are some positive examples out there of government-run agencies which are efficient, technologically up-to-date, breaking even budget-wise, and glowing examples of what your government can do for you...any come to mind?


Jennifer said...

Um, nope. As a former federal employee, I can wholeheartedly say that the amount of waste and ridiculousness in government will always guarantee that private industry will do a better job. We have private garbage/recycling collection here, and it rocks.

Colby Willen said...

Did anyone you knew that worked as a federal employee think they were part of a well-run system?