I was very interested in hearing Ed Koch the former mayor of NYC on his radio show recently promoting a government health care system. It seems Mr Koch, who is 85 recently underwent extensive heart surgery and as a result was in the ICU of a big name New York hospital for six weeks. His point was that Medicare was great, everyone with health insurance is treated the same and that everyone should be entitled to the care he received. On the other hand, Mr Koch never once mentioned the cost of this care (I’m guessing upwards of $250,000 easily). Now as I mentioned Mr Koch is 85 years old and I wonder if he has read any of the fine print in the pending legislation about end of life counseling and the fact that the bulk of Medicare costs are incurred in the last year of life and all the stuff about whether people Mr Koch’s age should receive this type of extraordinary care or more palliative treatment.
The argument for a government plan, for coverage for all, for no interference between the patient and provider and no denying of claims by the insurance company is a very easy discussion if you leave the dollars out of it. On the other hand, when the rubber meets the road it may be a different story.
Whatever, comes of this health care reform, let’s just tell people the truth about what is going to happen and how costs are going to be controlled. Better tell the doctors too, let’s start with the fact that the average salary for physicians under the national system in France is $60,000 there’s something the AMA can support.