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Government health care hard to swallow (Part 1)



As the debate about government health care rages across the country, the existing involvement government already has in the health care industry springs to mind.

• Veteran's Administration: From treatment backlogs to rat-infested hospitals, this government run medical system leaves much to be desired. Considering this system is supposed to serve those who have dedicate their lives to protecting and defending the country, what kind of care would your average citizen receive under the hands of a government run system?

• The Medicare System: This healthcare payment system designed to provide access to medical care for the elderly and disabled has been plagued by high costs, red tape (more) (even more), and fraud (more). Shrinking reimbursements to doctors and hospitals mean that even if you qualify for this service, it can be difficult to find medical professionals willing to take medicare payments.

• Medicaid: This system provides insurance for the poor. It also suffers from the same problems facing the Medicare system. Recent stories about Medicaid include fraud, service cuts for autistic children and spiraling costs.

• The Indian Health Service: This federal program is responsible for providing health services to American Indians and Alaska natives. The Government Accountability Office reported in June 09 that 5000 items worth $15.8 million dollars was reported lost or stolen between 2004 and 2007. From 2008 to January 2009, and additional $3.5 million in IHS property apparently grew legs and walked away. 

A REZNET article by Mary Clare Jalonik states, "On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is "don't get sick after June," when the federal dollars run out. It's a sick joke, and a sad one, because it's sometimes true, especially on the poorest reservations where residents cannot afford health insurance. Officials say they have about half of what they need to operate, and patients know they must be dying or about to lose a limb to get serious care.

Wealthier tribes can supplement the federal health service budget with their own money. But poorer tribes, often those on the most remote reservations, far away from city hospitals, are stuck with grossly substandard care. " (full article)

The government's track record on running health care is dismal. It is logical to conclude that putting additional health services under government control will just give us more fraud, more abuse, higher costs and fewer choices. What does this have to do with low carbohydrate diets, my area of usual commentary? Stay tuned for Part 2 where we can examine the government's role in dietary and health recommendations over the last 30 years.