Friday, July 17, 2009

Health Care Part 2

Now that we have lost the auto industry, much of the banking and finance market, and are in imminent danger of losing the energy market, all to government control, the next area to fall appears to be the health care industry. We are being told, over and over again, of the health care crisis that is befalling us, and how something must be done now, right now!!!!!! But wait...the stimulus bill had to be passed right now, the energy bill (cap and trade) had to be passed right now, the mortgage bailout had to be right now, etc, etc. What exactly is the big rush here? If you accept that there even is a crisis (more later) in health care, how exactly are things going to be so much worse if we take the time to read the friggin' bill and argue it? This bill has the power to change completely and possibly irreversibly how all of us get medical care in the future. Isn't that a good reason to rush into this a whole lot slower that we seem to be doing? We argue the survival of some stupid minnow in some small stream somewhere in Montana much more than we seem to spend discussing this huge bill!

But let's back up a little bit here if we may. What exactly is this "crisis" that we are supposed to be fixing? We are told that there are 47 million without health care, but virtually every study shows that this number includes illegals, as well as those who have sufficient income to purchase insurance but freely choose not to. So the number who are involuntarily uncovered is much, much less than this, well below 50% of this number. And studies show that this proposed bill will leave over 20 million uncovered. So we have gained exactly nothing.
We are also told that health insurance is too expensive, and that the insurance companies are ripping us off. Well, yes it is expensive, but at least part of that expense is driven by government regulations. I don't want a policy that covers "alternative medicine" , massage therapy, chiropractic and a scad of things that cost a lot and are of no use to me at all. But because of gov't regulations, these have to be included, driving up my costs. And likewise I can't shop for a better or less expensive policy anywhere else except in my home state, because of gov't rules. And though I sure don't like spending money, when I needed the policy for a heart attack and stenting, or when I severely damaged my knee and needed surgery to rebuild it, it was sure nice to see almost all the costs covered by the policy. And when I look at the way government plans work in Canada and England, I'm pretty sure that had we the government system in place here at those times, I would not have received the same care at the same speed, and indeed might not have had the treatment at all because of my "advanced age". Heck, why should we care if an old, over-the-hill guy of 60 + years has a knee that works or not anyway. The plan can save $$$ if we deny his treatment. And the old man, me, has NO recourse. Sorry, I'd rather have a private company who has at least some interest in my well-being than a bureaucrat in an office somewhere who has absolutely no interest in me or my health.
Additionally, much of that cost is driven by things that could be changed or controlled without tossing the whole system. Want to lower medical costs? Find ways to eliminate frivolous lawsuits. Protect drug manufacturers from ridiculous class action suits that make lawyers millions, and alleged victims almost nothing. Minimize government involvement in health care. Force everyone, everyone, to pay something toward their care. If it is going to cost you nothing to use the system, you will overuse and abuse that system. Even a nominal charge every time you visit the ER or clinic will make you a bit more selective in when you do use it.
As to the argument that there are "many" who are denied health care because of lack of finances, please look up the EMTALA laws (Emergency Medical Treatment And Labor Act). It mandates that all who present to the hospital campus must be seen, with no regard to ability to pay.

But even more basic than all this.....what do we mean when we say that everyone has a right to health care? Why do we have this right? Where did it come from? And if we have such a right, do we not also have the same right to food, shelter, an automobile to get us to the store or Dr's office, gas to run the car, a telephone, TV etc etc. Where do we stop? If the basis of this right is necessity (We must have this right or else we might die!), then what is more basic to life than food? And if I have a basic right to food, then how dare the grocery store and the farmer charge me for their products? I have a RIGHT to it!!!

More to follow

1 comment:

Joe Bubel said...

I have used the food argument with so many people. Don't we all have a right to eat? Shouldn't the government subsidize restaurants? Regardless of ones income, shouldn't everyone be able to eat anywhere? How do you think the quality of food and service at your favorite eatery will be? Waiting list?

Of course my liberal friends know the answer to this, and vehemently oppose the idea of free restaurants.