National Pharmacy, National Plans, National Health Care… [updated]

image from gallery.me.com  [update: I wanted to provide some additional information from CNN]

"(CNN) – With the passage of the health care reform bill, CNN has been flooded with viewer questions about specifics of the measure and how their lives may be affected. In response, we're providing answers here, based on our reporting research, that address some of the issues you're raising most often. Got another question? E-mail us at healthcare@cnn.com."

Click here for the entire CNN Article

[original] This week during "spring break" my family is taking a little road trip to visit my wife's father in St. Louis.  Arriving late Sunday night in good old Wentzville, Missouri my 5 year old Joshua started complaining that his eyes were hurting, and after one look we knew we had a good case of "pink eye" starting… So, here we were 356.1 miles from home, one son with conjunctivitis who would be sleeping with my other other son (2 1/2yr old Noah) and not a known doctor in sight… Heehee… pun's I love them. 

While I began the fatherly thing… promptly opening my laptop to login to my health care companies site to look at possible provider options, my wife Trish did the practical thing and called Walgreens to see if they had a nurse practitioner on staff.  I know… seriously I was thinking that an eye doctor who has patients scheduled months out could take lowly helpless out-of-towners in… yeah I am clueless occasionally… 

image from gallery.me.com  So, the next morning when we woke up I took Joshua and his crusty eyes to Walgreens in Wentzville to learn how their Take Care Clinic could help Joshua.  Overall, the experience was a great one.  Upon arriving, we "signed in" at a kiosk where Joshua got to work on his reading and "on-screen" typing skills. 

We then got to wait for about 10 minutes until a nurse saw us, took Joshua's "vitals," and got to hear his story of itchy crusty eyes. We then were told that it would be about 20-25 minutes before the nurse practitioner would be able to see us.  We were welcome to "walk around the store" to which Joshua replied, "what store?" Overall, I guess Walgreens is a store, but I know what he means.  So, we walked around a bit and then took to some time to make a video.

Video being uploaded to youtube…

Then it was Joshua's turn.  Now while he was a bit nervous, he bucked up and told his story again, got his pulse blood pressure taken, allowed the "doctor" to listen to his heart and look in his eyes, throat, and ears… She was able to help he overcome any fears of being there and became his friend while she examined him.  Then her diagnosis was what we had thought… conjunctivitis … the dreaded "pink eye"!

However, when she handed me the receipt for the $65.00 charge (that would be billed to my insurance provider) and the prescription (that was already being filled right outside) the nurse practitioner my fears by letting me know in 24 hours Joshua would no longer be contagious as we were good to go!  Total time about 40 minutes overall and I got to simply walk to another counter to get his prescription another bonus. What a great experience. 

The availability of a national pharmacy chain really help put me at ease.  We were able to have a "hometown" experience with the same feeling of reliability and comfort even though we were in a different state.  "Just incase" I was also able to find doctors that were on our health care plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois) because of their national reach as well. Now, I would never have been able to get into one of the offices (ok maybe by slim chance) but it was nice knowing that was an option. Being a participant of a national pharmacy chain and a national insurance agency for me is a great benefit and comfort for my family overall.  I wonder what a similar set of circumstances will look like in 3 or 5 years as the new national health care laws really begin to take effect.  

Honestly, I don't know all that much about the new national plan and it sounds like most of our legislators do not as well… being a "Deem and Pass" bill, there will be revisions and alterations that will be made in the next few months that will "automatically" take effect through the "deem and Pass" process… 

The self-executing rule, also known as "deem and pass", is procedural measure used by the U.S. House of Representatives to approve legislation. If the full House votes to approve a legislative rule that contains such a provision, the House then deems a second bill as also approved without requiring a separate vote, as long as that second bill is specified in the rule. That is, if the vote on the rule passes, then the second bill is passed as part of the rule vote. – Wikipedia entry on "Self-executing Rule"

N
ational healthcare has been the elephant in many President's terms.  Nancy Reagan took up the fight, Hillary Clinton worked to get it passed, and now President Obama has made it one of the cornerstones of his presidency.  

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/all/modules/swftools/shared/flash_media_player/player.swf

I am not sure what all of the tenants of the second provision of the bill will be but if it provides for more Americans to be able to experience a similar of benefit that I in essence experienced today I am all for it. Here is one of the concerns addressed directly by President Obama:

"I said this once or twice, but it bears repeating:  If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance.  No government takeover; nobody is changing what you’ve got if you’re happy with it.  If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.  In fact, more people will keep their doctors because your coverage will be more secure and more stable than it was before I signed this legislation.

And now that this legislation is passed, you don’t have to take my word for it.  You’ll be able to see it in your own lives.  I heard one of the Republican leaders say this was going to be Armageddon.  Well, two months from now, six months from now, you can check it out."

Here are a few of the highlights from CNN.com's article, "Timeline: When health care reform will affect you." which provides a good overview of the bill.  Remember things WILL CHANGE in order to get Senate approval via the "Deem and Pass".

Overall, great things are possible with this legislation. I hope that everyone can see past partisan lines to create and believe in a vision of what is good for all.  I understand that a society is only as good as it's economic condition.  I have a historian by degree, with an economics emphasis.  I view history with an economics lens, however, I guess I am a futurist at heart.  There are great things a foot, and great possibilities for the people of our planet if we can simply pull together, release our petty differences of politics, religion, economics, and greed and look at humanity as a single driving entity… imagine the possibilities…

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2 thoughts on “National Pharmacy, National Plans, National Health Care… [updated]

  1. I share your sentiments. The thing that concerns me most, however, is the constitutionality of mandating people pay for coverage. I’m glad we’re seeing some states challenge this. I definitely think there’s consensus the system needs to change, but I’m not positive a bill this big will address the issues which need changing. It seems a simpler, shorter bill should work…
    The biggest problem, in my view, is that our current system benefits corporations (including insurance companies and pharm companies) more than individuals. The best suggestion I’ve heard on health care is that it should be handled similarly to electrical coops, which have an annual maximum they can take in profit. It’s not excessively modest, but it also isn’t open ended. If their profit for the year exceeds their cap, they return it to coop memebers. Medical care fundamentally should not be a business with a quarterly profit motive like we see elsewhere. It’s great to have high quality care, but we SHOULD provide a basic level of care for everyone.
    I think the biggest obstacle we face on both the health care front as well as other ones (including foreign policy and our continuing foreign wars) are the power and influence of corporations. We need to support programs like Change Congress to try and get at the heart of our political problems, which are corruption and large corporations being able to buy legislators and therefore legislation.

  2. Wes,
    I agree the influence of PAC’s, corporations, and lobbyists are overwhelming in our current political environment. Governmental change is either extremely slow or violent and quick… both extremes have unfortunate consequences. However, with tackling an industry that is the 6th largest component of our economy I don’t think that a small bill will accomplish much overall… A simple one perhaps, but the scope needs to be so encompassing that the factors become overwhelming and too often simple inertia is enough to derail any change for the better.
    I know that this may be an odd example, but I always find it amazing when I think of the tobacco industry… Here is an industry whose end product in KNOWN to cause health issues and death… so much so that the actual product carries a warning label, a restriction in who can purchase the product, and the manufacturers by law need to set aside funding to specifically provide information and assistance for their consumers to stop using the very product they manufacturer…
    I also agree that the current system is in place to benefit the corporations… As they have been the ones to front all of the costs for research and development they worked hard to engineer a system that would benefit them. Additionally, even if we look at the “wellness” movement, while there is an overall benefit to the patient/consumer, the goal is to reduce costs for the healthcare company to transition that into profits to shareholders as opposed to reduced overall costs to the consumer. While I am not in the industry, I have consulted on a number of different industries and as a consumer it is always easier to pass on operating costs to the consumer than it is to sell to the board a reduction in profit because of a reduction in end user cost…
    If we look at this industry similarly to education, what is the best way to affect change? small structured increments or large committed sweeping change?
    As always, I enjoy our discourse! See you on the next topic.
    Scott

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