Health care act is flawed, but it’s the best we have

After experiencing our health care system within the past couple weeks, I believe we need more family-practice doctors in order to see our doctor in a more timely manner. With the expansion of Medicaid making access to health care more accessible to more people, all of our doctors will be inundated with even more patients which will result in even longer waits for an appointment. The walk-in clinics fill this niche nicely since you can walk in and be seen within 1 to 2 hours the same day. My problem could have been solved if I had gone to the walk-in clinic or been able to email my doctor rather than trying to contact my doctor by phone. I waited too long, ended up in the ER and then had to be admitted to the hospital.

All of the modern industrialized nations have universal health care except us. We have an antiquated and unwieldy health care system, pay twice as much for it and it still doesn’t work very well. Many presidents have tried and failed to solve this problem. President Obama thought he would have a better chance of giving us better health care if he adopted the Republican plan and worked with them to make our system better. The Republicans would have none of it so with mostly Democratic support, he managed to get the Affordable Care Act passed into law. But it has been an unending struggle with Republicans’ incessant rhetoric against and votes to repeal it and the rocky sign-up process.

Everyone likes the government-run Medicare program. But when you have supplemental health-care insurance, doctors and hospitals have to negotiate not only with Medicare but with the plethora of insurance companies, each one cutting a different deal. It’s no wonder our system is so much more expensive with all the paperwork everyone is shuffling and trying to understand. If we had universal health care like Canada and the European nations, there would be less money going to “for-profit” insurance and drug companies. Of course, this would put a lot of people (who handle the paperwork) out of a job. Universal health care would also stop the practice of charging those without health insurance twice as much (or more) for care than those with insurance.

A long time ago, we fought for the 8-hour day but with the demise of most unions, the 8-hour day is becoming a thing of the past. I learned that our nurses are working 12-hour days. Some of them commute long distances. A couple days off does not compensate for these long hours. They do their best but I don’t think anyone can give 100 percent when they are on their feet for 12 hours.

On March 20, you printed an article by AP writer Marilynn Marchione titled “Half of U.S. adults 40 to 75 eligible for statins.” Although this study was made at the request of the federal government, I wonder how much influence the drug companies had in developing these guidelines. The whole idea of taking statins to reduce cholesterol in the prevention of heart attack and stroke is controversial at best but for the pharmaceutical companies to increase their profits by expanding the use of statins is unconscionable. Several side effects are associated with statins and are also not mentioned in the article such as memory problems, muscle pain and type 2 diabetes.

Obamacare has many good features which will enhance our health care. I surely hope it succeeds because no one else has a better idea and I don’t think universal health care has a chance of being passed. But if you put lipstick on a pig, you still have a pig but it’s the only pig we have.

Carol Lazear Mitchell