After serving 50 years in the health care industry (30 in sales, 20 in hospital administration), it caused me to reach some conclusions that you might agree with. Health care can never be free and adequate. After only five years into it, I and my wife suffered from a growing list of maladies, and our children were always in the doctor’s office. Medicare care was free to me and the family since being a valuable member of medical care family. Sick, and sick of it, I tried something new. “Doc,” I said, “give me a discount, but by all means charge me for every visit.” In a very short time, I and my family got well and stayed well. Why? We had an investment in health care.

This is the reason for the co-pay system tenancy to keep from over, unnecessary usage. Without this feature, the results will be hospitals filled to capacity, doctor appointment months away and specialty treatments, like surgeries, etc., years in advance. Either pay a little for each usage or pay up for time and inadequate care. There will be fewer doctors; the best ones will be in private practice, against the free, dysfunctional health care system. Good care costs more.

After spending years of vending medical supplies to state mental hospitals, it never occurred to me that during this time we did not have homeless people in our communities. They were in mental institutions, a lot of them in straight jackets. They were medicated regularly and on time. Medication advancements made to adequately serve a patient to normalcy. The straight jackets disappeared. Everyone was normal.

The doctors and politicians got together and decided to close down all mental institutions nationwide. It was like overnight. Gone. Vanished. The mental patients were simply transferred from institutions to your neighborhoods. The truth is the mental patients are still mental for they are irresponsible and refuse to take free medications. Why? The mental condition they have is normal to them and medications take away that normalcy.

If we had our laws remade to the old way, we would not have homeless people. We must do what is right for the homeless. Readmit them to adequate institutions. Get them off the street, from under bridges, for their own good. Go back to the good old days of good care.

Note: We already have universal health care. I worked for a clinic for seven years that gave free care to the indigent. It was a private enterprise funded by a U.S. Government subsidy and it was nationwide.

Ralph Z. Bell is a Lake Placid resident. Guest columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.

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