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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

What's been missing from the health care debate

Saturday November 28th, 2009

There are several serious issues that I haven't heard anybody bring up during this ongoing "health care debate":

First - Don't forget about Dental Health. I'm not just talking about everyone having pretty white teeth. Tooth loss leads to an increased risk of heart disease and inflammation. A dental infection can quickly become fatal if untreated. Every citizen deserves to have dental health services as part of their health care plan.

Second - Don't forget about Mental Health. Our veterans and most of our homeless have serious mental health issues. Autism, learning disabilities, depression, and other mental health issues need to be addressed as part of the overall plan for health care. These services must also be closely coordinated and integrated with the primary care health team.

What would a government health care system would be like? Just ask any of our veterans. Our VA hospitals are ran by the government. The quality of service varies from location to location, but overall it is a good system.

There should be a free government health care program that acts as a safety net for all of our citizens. In my case as a veteran, I don't have to go to a VA doctor. There is nothing to stop me from going to a civilian doctor.

Isn't having health insurance good enough? Absolutely not! I had a high-paying engineering job with no dependants and with great insurance benefits. Seven surgeries later, I was bankrupt just trying to pay for all of my medical bills. These bills were only for the co-pays and the uncovered percentage of the procedures.

Much of the profit must be taken out of the health care "business." The prices for medicine and supplies are outrageous, but they know people have to have them. If a cure isn't hugely profitable, they don't even take time to do research. It is much more lucrative to just treat the symptoms rather than curing a disease.

In Atlanta, I witnessed the health care system melt down. Grady hospital is the public hospital for the region, and it is the main trauma center for the state. Even with its public funding, it went broke and was going to be shut down. They were forced to convert to a not-for-profit hospital and they only remained open through the support of the business community.

This debate over health care is very important to all of us. Why aren't our leaders talking about the issues other than cost? Yes, it is going to be painfully expensive, but the cost of not fixing the system is far greater.

Best regards,

-- Gary Wright II

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