Dr. Terrence Drew, Saturday 14th March 2015 – Good Afternoon Everyone:
My love for medicine and the joy of working with people are what led me to politics. I see politics as a means by which policies can be implemented to help create a healthier and happier society, which I think should be the main objectives of a successful country. Although my bid to get into office was not successful that does not daunt me from fighting for my country in this respect. However, I do recognize that not being able to make policies and implement them would limit my scope but hopefully through this medium and others some success can be had.
The road to a healthier society is not rocket science. Most of us know what should be done but the implementation process is where the bottleneck occurs.
One of the things that I call for is to change the names of our health centers to health wellness centers, where people should not go only for secondary preventive care but for primary preventive care.
This would require a fundamental step in our healthcare accessibility and coverage. This is why I call for comprehensive universal healthcare. This means that none will be left behind. At this juncture please note that I have refused to use the term health insurance. As a practicing physician who studied both in a socialist country (CUBA) and specialized in the largest capitalist country (USA) I can appreciate the pros and cons of each system. One thing is for sure, where profit and the exchange of money are fundamental parts of the system, the rich will have the advantage. This situation highlights the social injustices that exist but with consequence of life and death. Thus, I would call on the government not to allow insurance to be the center of the any policy but the assurance of quality care for all. To put it bluntly, I do not trust health insurance companies or their executives because the system is skewed towards them making millions of dollars.
Many could remember the story that Obama gave of his mother dying of cancer and being refused help from insurance companies. How many of you have been told that your insurance has reached its limit and no more help could be given? Many patients continue without care or even die as a result. This is very sad and inhumane indeed. This is what happens when health insurance companies run your system. Thus, I wait patiently on the Minister of Health to release the policy that he spoke about. I hope that it would not be health insurance company centered but people-centered.
As a result of a profit centered system insurance companies would refuse to cover pre – existing conditions, which means if you are sick before when you sign up you would not be covered for your condition. However, the society pays indirectly as these persons would become sicker and less productive. More days away from work and earlier death would lead to a less productive society which could have a negative impact on overall economic growth all in the best interest of the health insurance company making a bigger profit. Thus, one of the reasons why health insurance companies in the USA give so much money to politicians is so that they could write their policies. This is one of the reasons why the insurance companies hate Barack Obama. Hence, I become very anxious when I see a career health insurance manager be put in charge of our health system.
Nonetheless, all is not lost and these are the things that we ought to fight for:
1) Comprehensive, universal health care (all have access to good care, none left out)
2) Pre-existing conditions must be covered; it would be immoral not to do so.
Much more to come but I leave you with a few questions:
1) What is a pre-existing condition?
2) Do you think insurance companies should cover it?
3) Do you think health care should be a privilege or a human right?
4) What is a single payer system?
5) Should the health insurance industry be allowed to write government policy?
I do look forward to your responses. Let’s lift the political discourse as we deal with this fundamental issue. I looked in the manifesto but there is very little to discuss. So, I patiently await the new policy to be released soon as mentioned by the Minister of Health.
Posted by SKN PULSE.