Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Check me out

Watch this. I'm the one in the white coat, holding a sign. :)

How does SB840 cut costs? In a few ways. Probably most significantly, it puts everyone into the same "risk pool", eliminating the need for the intense actuarial assessments that are currently done to decide who will be denied care. Also, it allows Californians to access preventive care, thus preventing the need for costly ER services during the final months of people's lives. (As we watched a trauma patient come into the Highland ER a few months ago, my preceptor commented that just being wheeled through the doorway means a bill of $7,000. The team assembled to meet the patient included an ER attending, three ER residents, three nurses, a surgeon, and, I think, an anasthesiologist.)

Finally, from the 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration, which has little to do with SB840 but much to do with why I'm involved in the single payer movement:

"...Health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right...."

The battle might be a long one, but I think the US will, maybe in the next 10 or so years, join every other developed country in providing health care to its citizens.

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