Times Are Tough

The following is the opinion of Adam Thompson and does not represent the beliefs or views of any of the other paramedicine 101 contributers.

  • The economy is effecting EMS.

  • My belief is that the current federal government is doing nothing to save the economy.

  • Socialized healthcare will effect EMS

  • Things are going to get much worse before they get better

  • Things will get better!

I was sitting at the table with a couple firemen that I work with and I could see the pure horror in their eyes. Recently 35 firefighters were let go from a neighboring department, Lehigh Acres FD. Just this week, 18 firefighters were let go from Ft. Myers Beach FD after filing a vote of no confidence in their chief. A presumed 30 pink slips will be handed out to firefighters from the City of Ft. Myers FD, and every department is currently negotiating their union contracts.
Why is payroll the seemingly first option for budget cuts? Do you think that the chiefs of the departments mentioned took pay-cuts? No! I am fortunate enough to work under an EMS chief who had foreseen horrible economic times and has been working under the budget for the past few years. We just HIRED about ten new employees. How could we not know this was coming? Unemployment is up, foreclosure rate is way up, commercial business development is way down. Doesn't that mean tax dollars will go down?

I am an EMS instructor, and the thought of educating people for jobs that aren't there is a tough one. Not only will these brand new EMTs and paramedics be on the market in search for a job, but so will every firefighter, EMT, and paramedic that has recently lost their job. TIMES ARE TOUGH!! Will we see cardboard signs 'will drive an ambulance for food'?

The economy is effecting EMS

This is obvious. Just pay attention to how thin EMS Magazine has gotten. This is because of less advertisement. That particular publication is free and runs entirely off of contributions and paid advertisement. Why is there less advertisement? Well, the manufacturers who advertise in EMS Magazine aren't making any new money. Why aren't those companies making new money? The products look cool, right? Because the agencies that you and I work for don't have the extra money to spend.... umm... duh. Maybe you and I have noticed this by lack of the usual annual raise. Maybe pay-cuts, or even lay offs. It is obvious that the economy is effecting EMS.

My belief is that the current federal government is doing nothing to save the economy.

I am a conservative, but it doesn't take a right-winger like me to know that the government is loaded with liars and rich men. Our current congress is riddled with people who played a big part in getting us into this mess. Barny Frank was a leader in the forcing of subsidizing of loans, and creating loan opportunities to the financially irresponsible and unstable. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Bush did nothing to impress me when it came to fiscal responsibility. The spending of our government is out of control! Then came along Obama with the promise of a net spending decrease. For every dollar he was gonna spend, he was going to find some to cut from the budget--LIAR. I say that emphatically.

Obama is a race-car driver on the highway of government spending. He has forced a trillion dollar spending bill upon a congress that didn't even read it! He promised to save jobs, and he hasn't. Now he says that the answer to our problems is socialized medicine? Are you kidding me? That is absolutely ridiculous.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, The Post Office, The VA, Welfare. Name one of the before mentioned that actually runs well. The government doesn't have the right, and/or ability to run healthcare. It has never worked well, and it never will. We currently have the best system in the world and we encourage competitive medicine which encourages revolution. We should not disassemble our healthcare system. If Obama really cared about healthcare he would have done something as a state senator. The hospital his wife worked at, in his own state, charged more to patients who were uninsured. Most hospitals give a discount. When he was elected senator his wife made an over 200 thousand dollar raise. Real nice.
Spending has not been cut, and is only going up. You can not have capitalism on the way up and socialism on the way down. Saving any private business is not the job of the government and should be considered a criminal act. Let the chips fall where they may. If Ford doesn't survive, it is because they didn't run an efficient business during a crumbling economy.

Socialized healthcare will effect EMS

Please read the article below for great examples of how we will be effected from socialized/universal healthcare.

[Article 1]
A popular topic often debated in political races and amongst health care providers is the need for nationalized medical coverage (socialized medicine). Various other countries like Canada, England and Australia utilize such services. A popular argument for nationalized health care is availability of insurance for all citizens regardless of their financial situation. On the surface, the idea sounds reasonable, but in a nation run by private enterprise it can cause more problems then it's worth.

Insurance coverage provided by both the state and federal government has proven itself to be inadequate and bad for business. As it already stands government funded health insurance reimburses pennies on the dollar for both emergency and non-emergency medical care. Many hospitals, private doctors offices, and medical facilities are turning away these patients because of a significant lack of compensation.

EMS providers are in a bad position as they don't have the option of turning away non-payers or government-funded payers. This leaves ambulance services and emergency departments relying on private insurance companies to make up for the significant losses cause by government-funded insurance. Switching to a nationalized health care plan would be sure to place most private providers out of business.

The loss of private EMS services would require state and local governments to pick up the slack and provide the service at the cost of the tax payers. This of course would significantly increase income and property taxes to pay for the insurance and the services provided in place of private medical operations.

Sure, having more government jobs could result in retirement plans and good benefits, but the amount of jobs available could rapidly decrease. Budget cuts and increasing cost of doing business would either result in raising taxes or cutting jobs. Once government bureaucracy comes into play, you can be assured that the number of ambulances on the streets will be decline. Local police agencies are a prime example. It is hard to find a police department that claims to have adequate staffing. Socialized medicine would leave EMS agencies in the exact same situation.

Our health care system in the United States is far from perfect. Abuse on the system, lawsuits and uninsured patients are constantly increasing the cost to do provide medical care. Work needs to be done to resolve this issue, but not at the expense of the tax payers.
Other problems to consider: At first more people may seek primary care. This will initially lead to a call volume decrease. This would influence agencies to cut resources. Soon, wait times would become ridiculously long at the doctors' offices (google Baltimore's healthcare system) causing the increased use of emergency medical services. The increase will effect the hospitals even more causing increases in patient offload times, patient neglagence, and a decrease in quality care.

Things are going to get much worse before they get better

Everything I have already written pretty much explains this. Obama will end up getting a public option. The US dollar is losing value and we are borrowing money that we can't pay back anytime soon. Do you know what One trillion divided amongst every american citizen equals out to? About 4,000$. Now that is including children, the rich, and the extreme elderly. If we just paid the working class that money the government is planning on spending... we would have a nice chunk of change to go stimulate the economy. Not only will we never see that money--we have to pay for it; with interest!
If the people that are hated the most, the rich, didn't have to pay the biggest chunk of this debt the government has created; they may just have a chunk of change to go stimulate the economy themselves. Think about it. When did the economy really take a turn? When the stock market nose-dove. Who did that effect the most? THE RICH. If the economic effect on the rich stimulated a worsening economy, a positive economic effect on the rich would positively stimulate the economy. This isn't going to happen anytime soon. This isn't the first time the country has been here, but our government seems to think it is. They haven't decided to look at the past and see what worked and what didn't. I can tell you that, because SPENDING sure as hell didn't do the trick before.

Things will get better

"Because of Nixon we got Carter. It took Carter to get Reagan. Because of Bush we got Obama. Hopefully it will take Obama to get our next Reagan!"
-Adam Thompson

Fortunately, hard times never last. Unless we are in the end times (see the book of revelations), this will turn around. It may even turn around with the current president. I don't want him to fail, he just is. Meaning, he needs to change his approach, get the whisperers out of his ears, and his hands out of the pockets of the highest bidders.
I feel it is important, for those of you who may be in school to do this great job, that I emphasize that things will get better. You may have to wait for that EMS job. You may have to make yourself as attractive as possible to hiring EMS agencies, and put up with a tremendously competitive job market. If you want to do this bad enough, you eventually will. Hospitals are hiring techs all the time. Private agencies still seem to hire from time to time and there are other out of the ordinary healthcare jobs out there. If it were me, I would work in the healthcare field however I could and continue my education if financially possible. If you can't afford it, just read this blog...

Whether or not you share my political beliefs, I hope you well. God bless every man
and woman of this great profession. I hope through these tough times you become tougher.

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