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 Letters Published in December 12, 2007 Issue

 

 

 December 12, 2007 - Letter Submitted by Cynthia, Sheryl, Mariann, Betsy and Alicia (staff at MainSource Bank, Knightstown branch)

Several years ago, the staff at MainSource Bank, Knightstown branch, chose Head Start Preschool to be our Community Service recipient. Each year, in October, we ask for donations of new or "gently loved" books and the next year we ask for new hats, gloves and socks for the "little ones." The overwhelming response of the people of Knightstown never ceases to amaze us! Thanks to such a giving community, we have been able to supply the children with wonderful books and hats, gloves and socks for each child.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your generosity and support of our Head Start program.

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 December 12, 2007 - Letter Submitted by Mary Lou Hayes, Knightstown

As a Winter Term Project in my senior year of college I spent the month of January 1975 in Great Britain. At King's Cross Hospital in London, I observed nurses in grey dresses with crisp white smocks scurrying about. They cordially answered my questions about Britain's Socialized Medicine (National Health Care) Plan. They gave me the following statement: "Don't let the U S. go to this system because it will be the people who will eventually suffer." I asked them about the reason for their quick reply and was told the following: 1) The people will pay higher taxes to support this system; 2) The physicians are paid a set salary, thus eliminating the incentive to increase or maintain their productivity. The nurses said it did not matter if the health care provider saw 10 or 50 patients in a day. If they felt they had done enough for the day, the remaining patients were sent home. The patients are told they can return to the office tomorrow and will be seen on a first come, first seen basis. There are no appointments.

In the summer of 1994 during a family reunion in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, I spoke with several relatives about their National Health Care Plan. They stated they were not happy about the health care for the following reasons: 1) the money for this system was not enough to support the local health care facilities, thus causing the clinics and small local hospitals to close. Eventually the closest health care system could be 50 to 100 miles away. 2) Long waits occurred for surgeries that were nonemergent. One relative had to wait 6 months for a gall bladder surgery. 3) High taxes had to be paid by the people to support this system. 4) Long waits to see the doctor were experienced; not enough doctors were available as there is reduced incentive to work long hours or see more patients. Many doctors were leaving for the U.S.

Spring of 1993 in Beijing, China: I went on a People to People International Nursing Research Exchange. The National Health Care Model was one of observation only as our group of 50 nurses was TOLD about the system and not encouraged to ask questions. We were escorted down dark and very cool hallways with little evidence of medical staff availability. The friends and I or families of the patients were responsible for the bedside care, including: supply and changing linen. preparation and serving of meals and other comfort measures. The furnishings were of the pre-l 950s era by U.S. standards.

In the summer of 1998 on the Gold Coast of Australia, I spoke with tour guides about their health care program. They stated that one tries very hard NOT to get sick by eating and exercising right. The waiting time to be seen by a physician is quite long and then, if you need anything, you may still have to pay for it. I cannot begin to tell you how desperately poor the people were in Haiti in 1992. The health care in Port au Prince is menial - a few hospitals with rows of beds of ill people, looking too-ill-to-survive. I helped in a created clinic in the countryside where a long line of people waited patiently to be seen. Through an interpreter we saw as many people as we could in the day. The set up: a cement block structure with no windows, a room with a couple of tables, a few chairs, and donated medical supplies from the States. The floor was made of dirt and rocks. At the end of the day, the remaining people in line were told to return tomorrow. The gates surrounding the structure were then locked.

In the outlying areas of Jamaica in 1993, the scenes were similar to the Haitian clinics - but a "notch up" the scale.

In the Philippines -- year 2000 -- the National Health Care was similar to what I saw in China. The family or friend(s) were responsible for giving the patient their baths, meals, linens, supplies and other bedside care such as feeding or turning them. The family, friend(s) or other caregivers were also responsible for bringing in the medication ordered. Otherwise, they were to replace any medication received by the patient. The hospital had limited allotted supplies of medication. Sometimes the caregivers needed to go to the town's pharmacy, which was expensive, to purchase the medication and bring it back to the hospital for the patient. The peso was the form of money and one pill of Theodur cost $45.00 US. There was no Tylenol or Nitroglycerine. If a patient was ill enough to need to be transported to Manila, a transport vehicle (such as an SUV) needed to be obtained. The drive could be hours to a ship which then sailed for Manila. There was no oxygen tank, air conditioning or other advanced medical supplies.

In Germany, 2005, the mother of one of our previous exchange students remarked that there was a socialized medicine system in place there. The people paid 40 to 50 percent of their income in taxes to help support this system. Are there enough Generation X-ers or Baby Boomers to support the population that does not work or pay the appropriate amount in taxes in the U.S.?

The number of people with no health care coverage in the U.S. is increasing. Some people feel they are paying for health care service so they might as well get out of it what they can. Sometimes patients are sent home according to what their health care plan/insurance deems the appropriate number of days paid for a particular diagnosis.

Some people are appreciative of the health care services they receive and others are not. This is the same situation in most businesses that deal with the public. The question that I have is, "How can our present health care system be adjusted so that people will receive the services they need without the consequences that have occurred in other countries?" In our society of instant gratification, how can we adapt to ideas of how one's care needs to be triaged: the more urgent needs of some may need to supersede those with more minor health issues? How can the cost of health care be affordable if it continues to spiral upwards driven by business and inflation? Do the budgets on the state and national level need to be changed and, if so, what services do we need to have reduced? Government? Highways? Jobs? Education? Public services? Energy? Are we willing to pay more taxes, reduce Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security disability benefits? There is only so much money in the pot, so whose pocket do we pull the expenditures out of to fund a National Health Care Plan or Socialized Medicine? Are people intrinsically motivated enough to take care of their own ... or others ... to make this system work? Will we need to travel long distances to stay or visit with patients/relatives?

There should be a way to have affordable and available health care, without our country experiencing the negative impacts that have occurred in other countries. We are the people who are going to make choices in "how this thing goes." Platform promises need to be backed with concrete solutions -- not just a quick fix for our health care system.

Maybe we just need to try to be or get more healthy.

 

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