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Garland Robinette

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Garland: Healthcare--Answers? We don't want to hear the question!

Am I the only one amazed at the Tower of Babel constructed around the SCOTUS ruling on American healthcare?  I understand your disappointment if you’re a Demodon’t.  I understand your elation if you’re a Repubican’t.  I understand your surprise if you’re an Independent.  (Judge Roberts actually crossed partisan lines to convince an increasingly cynical public that the Supreme Court is about laws and not clubs).
But, how about the question?  Over the last four years my lucky seat at the microphone has allowed me to learn in detail about the world’s leading healthcare programs.  Whether it be France (the world’s best) or Myanmar (the world’s worst), I feel I’ve read enough, researched enough, and interviewed enough to qualify this question as the most important to the world’s healthcare problems.  It is seldom asked.  It seems to anger those embroiled in the debate.  It seems to elicit a belief that you are being anti-conservative or anti-liberal.  How do we know the answer, when we don’t want to hear the question?
For those who believe in President Obama, the question seems to suggest that his answer to healthcare is not an answer and therefore the question is really a masked Republican attack or even evidence of a hidden racial agenda.
For those who believe in Governor Romney, the question seems to suggest that his alternatives are not the answer and therefore the question is really a masked Democratic attack.
These responses always surprise me, because the question is a very reasonable one.  No partisan attack.  No hidden agenda.  It’s simple:  HOW DOES THE HEALTHCARE GET PAID?  Which country has the money to pay their plan?
Isn’t that reasonable?  Isn’t that common sense?  I can’t get an answer.  Go ahead…Google it.  I know you’ll find glowing reports from all the top countries.  Hell, you’ll even find claims that America’s got the best healthcare (we’re usually around 37th right behind Costa Rico and right ahead of Slovenia).  But keep Goggling until you get to deficits, tax increases, healthcare cutbacks and those with a little extra money having increasingly more options.  I have not found one nation that can afford what healthcare they use now, much less provide for the future.  I have not found one expert in four years to provide a response.  Although they all have their favorites, they all admit that the costs are not covered.  Deficits in all countries are increasing.  Older populations and technology improving at warp speed combine to torpedo all programs. 
Let’s look at some examples.  France, number one in virtually every worldwide poll.   If you don’t believe the World Health Organization (some say the study was flawed), go to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (one of the WHO main critics) and look at their list of the top 19 industrialized nations.  France is number one….America was last.  The French love their healthcare.  But now many doctors are electing to work outside the system, because of low pay.  The specialists are responding to those who can pay out of pocket.  Citizens are beginning to chafe under the requirement that they give 21 percent of their income to the national healthcare system.  Businesses pick up more than half of their employees health costs.  Now businesses say they can’t compete in the world market, because the costs constrain their ability to hire more people.  All of which is rather minor, when compared against the amount of costs that are not being covered.  Would you believe $9 billion!  This is the best in the world!  (This report:  NPR Health Care Lessons From France, July 11th, 2008)  I can find no evidence of the spending being reduced.
Let’s try England.  “England is beginning to ration treatments for non-urgent conditions such as hip replacements, cataract surery, tonsil remove…” and the list goes on.  (Source—Heritage.org:  Could Britain’s Health Care Rationing Come to the States?)  Healthcare costs are up over 400%,  annual costs $158 billion a year, with a deficit of over $10 billion dollars. (Source - The Taxpayer Alliance, research note 49.) 
Let’s try Switzerland.  Every time I do a radio show on this topic listeners, who lived in or know a citizen of Switzerland, call in to rave about Switzerland healthcare.  It even looks like the answer to our problems.  As Republicans would prefer, individuals--not employers or the government--choose from a broad array of healthcare plans, sold by private insurance companies.   As Democrats urge, everyone in Switzerland has health coverage (required by law), with the government providing generous subsidies for those who wouldn’t otherwise afford it.   Two problems: One--Switzerland is only about twice the size of Louisiana.  I can find no financial models that would convert their program to accommodate over 300 million Americans.  And, two--more importantly--their costs have gone up 60% over the past ten years.
Like I said, research it yourself.  You’ll find big costs overruns with government cutbacks in popular programs, doctors’ refusal to follow the law and increasing social protests.
Some of the most interesting things are what you’ll find buried in media reports on healthcare in America.  Here are just a few examples:
1.  The Association of American Medical Colleges reports there will be a shortage of 63,000 doctors by 2015 and 130,600 by 2025.  Fewer med students want to be primary physicians because of low pay compared to specialists.  Get it.  Not enough money…a cost issue.
2.  States may refuse Medicaid payments because they don’t think they can afford the long-term costs.  Uh, not enough money…a costs issue.
3.  (New York Times):  “Crucially, we haven’t addressed the structural perversities that are driving the healthcare system to bankruptcy”…a cost issue.
4.  (Even a bi-partisan note from the NYT): “I think the Republicans’ defined-contribution approach is compelling.  It’s a potentially effective way to expand coverage so that people make cost-conscious, responsible decisions.  But the truth is neither I nor anybody else really knows what works.”  No one has computed the costs…and if they have, why aren’t they broadcasting the revelation from sea to shining sea?
5.  Why isn’t the question being communicated to the American public?  Well, first of all, take my test.  At your next dinner party or friendly coffee conversation say, “I don’t see anyone or any country that can pay for healthcare.”  You tell me if you don’t get a defensive response.  Like I said, the question makes us defensive, mad, or both.  For the second reason let’s check out the latest Obamacare polls after the SCOTUS decision:
*USATODAY (kind of liberal): “Americans split on health care decision” (almost 50-50)
*Gallup (kind of neutral): only 6 per cent rated it as the nation’s most important problem. 
*New York Times/CBS(kind of liberal):  poll shows 41 per cent wanted the Affordable Health Care law overturned, but the reporter said, “when you cross-reference the numbers only, 27 percent of those polled wanted the court to strike it down.”
*Fox News: (kind of conservative): “Put simply, in the court of public opinion, polling has consistently shown that ObamaCare was unpopular in 2010, remains unpopular now, and almost certainly will be unpopular come November.”
All that goes to explain…IT DON’T SELL to tell you something that goes against our base…the media’s base that buys our commercials and ads.  IT DON’T SELL to tell you something that either makes you mad or is something you don’t want to hear.
But I’m still holding on to that crazy belief my parents forever quoted…”There ain’t no free lunch.”  I see no answer out of this Tower of Babel if papa doesn’t arrive real soon to tell the kiddies that if we want it that way…we pay.  We just can’t believe our answers, if we refuse to hear the question.

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Topics : Health_Medical_Pharma
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Locations : Louisiana
People : ObamaRomney

07/05/2012 9:17AM
Garland: Healthcare--how do we know the answer, when we don’t want to hear the question?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
07/05/2012 9:58AM
Health care
Garland: You have said this exact same thing now approximately every 6 weeks for the past 6 years. Put simply, no one in the world can solve the high rising costs, so lets throw up our hands and stop arguing. How about discussing solutions for a change. One solution may be to finally discuss (after 2 years), what does Obama care say? Not just what do the politicians say about it. Roy from Metairie
07/05/2012 10:04AM
not a priority
We can pay for war but not healthcare in america oh, I forgot we pay our lobyist really well also, billions I think?
07/05/2012 10:19AM
Medical Costs
In deference to the medical community, nobody has dared to address costs. They have powerful and well financed lobbyists that keep this issue off the table. Years ago, my parents’ private insurer offered a rebate to those who found overcharges on their bills. It may have been 10%, may have been 50%, but I do know it added up to real money. My father would pore over every bill and submit the list of care and items that were not received and get a check in the mail. Now, we have to request an itemized bill instead of one being generated automatically, and since so few consumers see the bill, health care costs have been allowed to escalate far out of proportion to the economy and wages. A rebate program of this nature would not only save us money, it would raise consumer awareness of the cost of health care.
07/05/2012 10:19AM
Take away the retirement plan and special healthcare plan our politicians are on, and put them on the same plan middle class America is on and you would see a change real fast!
07/05/2012 10:27AM
Doctor shortage
Under the Health Care Law many thngs need to change and the Health Care Community has two years to get their act in order. Obviously Doctors will have an increased patient load {more money for them}. The role of the Doctor will change. There will be a need for thousands of Nurse practictioners nd PAs who will be the first line of defense. These are the professionals that a patient will see for most of their health care.The Physician will only be seen for critical illnesses by referral from the PA NP. The focus must be on preventative health care. Employers should have the right to fire employees who live an unhealthy life style like using tobacco products. Weight loss programs should be part of routine health care free of cost. Physical education will be no longer an option for schools. I believe that within one generation people would become healthier which will drastically bring down health care costs.
07/05/2012 11:38AM
The REAL Story
The author of Doctor Shortage is right on! Preventive care answers the mail. If we get off our fat butts and do the right things to take care of ourselves, most, but not all, of our health problems go away. Some things happen regardless of our actions, but doing nothing and expecting everything in return guarantees failure!
07/05/2012 12:17PM
It's the money
I completely agree that the problem is the cost. But why are the cost more than we can afford? I believe it is because the majority of people expect more out of healthcare than they can afford. We expect our insurer to cover costs that we ourselves could never pay for. We want it both ways, smoke my cigarettes and get my lung cancer cured; eat whatever I want and get my diabetes medicine; drink my whiskey and get my dialysis. The fact is that the majority of us can't afford dialysis, diabetes medication, or having cancer cured. We pass our uneducated health decisions on the backs of everyone else so that I don't pay for my actions, you do. As long as we expect to have more than we can afford, this debate will never end. Until we lose our sense of entitlement and gain responsibility we will expect more for less, and for some, more for free. I smoke cigarettes, I eat bad food, I drink whiskey, I pay for my decisions, and if I can't afford it, that's my problem. Our healthcare should only cover accidents and things out of our control. Insurance should exist to help me fighting the flu or fixing an accidental wound. I should be responsible for my poor decisions, I have insurance to protect me from things out of my control.
07/05/2012 1:32PM
Garland Robinette
Everyone that has posted here has more of an understanding of the health care issues than Garland Robinette. How does he get paid to talk about stuff he does not understand? He needs to do his homework, not only on this issue, but just about everythingelse. How does he keep his job?
07/05/2012 2:00PM
Gil Heuss
Garland of course everybody knows more than you. Just ask them. Keep it up you make people, me included, think. That is a terrible thing, I even have been told by one of my Reps in the Senate that I don't know anything and can't possibly understand the problem. He said I should leave it to the "proffesionals" (sic)
07/05/2012 2:39PM
Bigger Problem
The problem is and always has been the issues of insurance rates ballooning (both consumers and medical malpractice), medical equipment costs (don't think R&D costs aren't passed on to us as your doctor trots out this great new piece of equipment that does everything plus has that new car smell...), lawyers (everything always comes back to lawyers doesn't it?), and big pharmaceuticals trotting out the latest version of ED drugs (and every other drug, just threw that one out there). Unless someone can figure out a way to rein in at least 2 of these, there will be no changes...
07/05/2012 3:37PM
Bigger problem
I agree with the above post. Notice it doesn't "accuse" the doctors or hospitals in it. Big Pharma, the insurance companies and malpractice attorneys all have a huge lobby in Washington prtecting them. As a surgeon myself we have a very small political action committees. Our physician organizations are tyring to get us to give them more $$ to help, but I am getting paid less every year and working more already. I feel the medical equipment co needs to help lobby for the physician and hospital causes. Afterall we use their devices. Also why does a metal tool in the OR cost 1000 x more than the one I get at Home Depot? Also there will be a shortage and we need a solution. I would be glad to "supervise" a PA or NP, but what happens when something goes wrong...its me that gets sued. Again leading to back to a probelms with attornies. Anyway I could go on and but we need to answer the question and figure out an solution.
07/05/2012 4:05PM
The Biggest Problem
Politicians want the issue not the solution. As long as the issue exists then each side can use it as a club against the other. There are solutions, some of them are tough choices. None of them involve the government screwing up more things than it already has. The biggest problem still remains that there needs to be common sense and logic applied to find the answers, not more rehetoric and name calling.
07/05/2012 4:13PM
my comments are lost
i type a comment and before i am finished it automatically refreshes and i lose my comment and cant find where it went. what gives?
07/05/2012 6:21PM
Questions that need to be answered
Until we get health care costs down to where other countries are, then we shouldn't be messing with nationalized health care. If it's so great why is congress exempt? If gov't health care is the solution, then can someone tell me whythe gov't is bankrupting social security and medicare and how this can possibly be any better? Why are we being taxed 4 years before the plan would go into effect?
07/05/2012 8:41PM
Right wing Cassidy lies
Today Cassidy rolled you with his right wing lies and you just took it all in like you are a Fox noise idiot. Cassidy has the answer to healthcare but no country in the world has shown his dumb ideas to work. Guess you really admire right wingers to feedyour small government ideas-go to Somalia they have small government.
07/09/2012 1:05PM
Socialism Run Rampant
Socialists don't want to hear that something can't be paid for by others. This guy says that 50% of the population should pay to keep the other 50% alive. That says it all right there. It is time to split up this country like it should have been split up in the mid 19th century. Eventually the moral people in the south would have abolished slavery or there would have been another revolution in the south.You have to fight for what you want. it shouldn't be given to you on a silver platter.
07/10/2012 10:32PM
We have has socialist health care for years
I have a good friend that is an emergency room doctor and a sister that works at a hospital. Two weeks ago I was sent to the emergency room for some test by my doctor. Most of the people in the emergency room do not pay.... Less than 20% of the doctors time is on emergencies. We have been paying for everyones health care for year. Last year I had some surgery. A plastic bed bath set cost over $100 at our local hospitals. The law allows the hospitals to pass the cost on non payers on to me. If Obamas requirment to charge these guys if they do not get health insurance is a tax, then how can a law that passes the people who do not pay cost on to me not be a tax on ME> I am glad to see the mandate. If it make half of these guys get insurance, I will be happy. We cannot have it both ways where I am responsibe for their emergency room cost. I have a relative that has three girls without insurance. He could get insurance but just does not because it would cost him a few hundred a month. He works for the state of Ga. Each week it seems that he has one of his girls in the Emergency Rm. He says they have better insurance than me..... Go Obama, tax these guys.
07/11/2012 11:40AM
Garland Robinette
It is laugh out loud funnny to hear Garland Robinette lecturing people about politics and bias, etc. The only thing he got right was when he admitted that he was uneducated. Why do they keep him on the air? Crazy...
07/20/2012 10:48AM
Ted melancon
If gov't continues to pay children to have children we are forming a mongrel Race who contributes 0 to society or themselves. They make a good tax fee living.
07/23/2012 10:19AM
Why don't you have a live blog so that listeners can comment?
08/20/2012 8:08PM
You speak of England, France, and other countries and they may be helpful. But Louisiana has been having health care for all for 80 years. I think there is much that can be learned from Louisiana but not much is said. I think the answer to affordable health care for ALL is much like what Louisiana already has. In society one can not give anything for free without it being abused by the public, but the health care system in Louisiana has given so many ideas of how this very thing can actually work. I can give to you one personal example: When I was a child my foot got cut on a piece of glass pretty bad. My parents were poor and I was taken to Charity hospital. At Charity hospital the first thing that happens is you are “screened” about your condition. When it is determined that you do not have a life threatening conditioning you are put at the back of the line and what normally takes about 30 minutes to see a pay doctor will take about 2 hours at Charity. But the KEY is you still receive care. This is an incentive for anyone to think and say--- I WANT TO TRY TO BETTER MYSELF SO I AND MY FAMILY CAN HAVE FAST HEALTH CARE.
01/30/2013 1:47PM
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01/30/2013 1:47PM
Good info
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