Health Care Isn’t About Health, It’s About Control
Before we turn a significant percentage of our economy over to the government, maybe we’d feel more comfortable examining how well they run other government programs. Take the Post Office, for instance. President Obama used them as an example of government competition against UPS and FedEx. Probably the only reason the Post Office is still in business is that they have a government mandated monopoly on first class mail. They continuously raise their prices far beyond normal inflation and threaten to cut services if the don’t get it. Maybe that’s not such a good example. How about Medicare? Costs keep going up, fewer doctors are willing to take the set prices mandated by big brother, and even their most ardent supporters admit they’re broke. Maybe that’s not such a good example either. There’s always social security. Y a, right, can you say ponzi scheme? I’ve got it! Amtrak. Oops, they were supposed to be self sufficient and in the black 30 years ago, but their appropriations go up yearly in inverse proportion to their service. There’s one program they can’t blame on George Bush and that is Cash for Clunkers. They promptly allocated $3billion for it. To date they have paid out about 2% and claim to be out of money. Dealers are quitting the program in droves because they can’t get paid, and now they are stuck with piles of previously serviceable cars that they had to destroy. I can see it now, under Obamacare, we’ll probably get Cash For Codgers, you know, turn in an old codger to get in line for maternity benefits…
If they do manage to ram this program down our throats, where are they going to get the money? One so-called plan is to promote savings in existing programs. If congress can find ways of saving money in existing programs, why aren’t they doing it now? We don’t have to spend a Trillion dollars to tell folks to use 40 watt bulbs instead of 60. Next, they want to ‘reduce inefficiency’. This oxymoron is the byword, mandate, middle name, obligation, and career goal of most bureaucrats, and requires hubris only a government employee can muster with a straight face. Next, they want to tax the rich. Since the poor don’t pay taxes anyway, that seems to be, in the words of Al Capone, where the money is. The democrat party have got their wealth envy lobby in high gear on this one. Even my idiot brother, Willard, knows if you punish success, you get less of it. In the extreme, if they forcibly confiscated 100% of the income on everybody making over $1million a year, it would only fund the government for about 20 seconds. They will have to ‘ratchet-down’ who’s rich until we all pay. This, after empty promises of “I won’t raise your taxes.” Of course congress will valiantly resist this option because it will interfere with their goals of getting elected for life regardless of their individual incompetence.
There is only one way to get the money for this boondoggle: Inflate the money. This can easily be done, with no-one taking the blame. Just run the printing presses 24/7, like they’re doing now, and throw money around in every direction, especially towards those that support you. It’s a little known fact that most of those Harvard graduates we’ve got watching our money took their economics classes from visiting professors from Zimbabwe.
I know that the evil words, cost/benefit ratio are forbidden inside the beltway, but before we go the way of all the other failed socialist countries around the world, we ought to see what we’re getting for our money. The administration likes to say that there are 47 million people that need forced health care, right now. Let’s break that down. Start off with 20 million or so illegal aliens. Great. Reward criminal behavior in exchange for votes. It’ll work too.
What about people who just plain don’t want health insurance? There are a large group of 20-somethings that are incredibly healthy and suffer nothing more than an occasional ‘text-thumb’ injury. Except for the rare catastrophe, most of them neither need, nor want an expensive health care plan.
This leaves the truly needy. Numbers vary, but there are probably no more than a few million. With the money proposed, we could by the most gold-plated, Cadillac, policy imaginable in the private sector. ‘Course people would have to make their own choices, something the government doesn’t think we are capable of.
If we saddle our health care system with 47 million new patients, where are the doctors going to come from? There is such a thing a doctor/patient ratio. Many doctors now refuse to take Medicare patients because they can’t pay their bills with the rates the government sets. Doctors will retire in droves, skewing the doctor/patient ratio even more. This will lead to long lines and the dreaded ‘R’ word; rationing, whether they admit it or not. Don’t believe me? Go stand around the DMV for a while and see for yourself.
America has the best health care in the world, but it’s expensive. There are ways to bring down these costs without sacrificing health care, but they require difficult decisions and common sense, something in mighty short supply in Washington.
One of the easiest, and most cost effective ways to cut costs is tort reform. In states with caps on punitive damages, the premiums doctors pay are much lower, leading to savings for patients. The system of lottery juries must be reformed. A panel of medically trained, special juries would be more equitable for all, except those hoping to get rich at someone else’s expense. A simple change to loser pays, would stop frivolous lawsuits in their tracks. The problem is: It’s not going to happen. Lawyers are one of the biggest lobbying group in Washington, and congress is completely infested with lawyers.
There are other things that will save huge amounts of money. (1) Allow plans to cross state lines. At present our health care system in a hodge-podge of plans with wildly varying costs. The ability to shop nation wide would improve choices and save money. (2) Allow menu options. At 62, my wife does not need maternity coverage, but in many states it is required whether she wants it or not. I don’t need dental insurance, because my teeth are in a drawer in the bathroom, and dentists have gotten their last dollar from me. Problem is people are forced to pay for menu items like these whether they want them or not. All these options depend on free market choices, not government control. If you want government health care, look how well Massachusetts., Tennessee and California are doing…