…of Nationalized Healthcare vs the Reality of what ails US.
Gallup’s “Chairman’s Blog” has a great article that I felt it necessary to comment on.
1) The author (Chairman and CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton) is correct that a) the real problem is that 70% of our medical costs can be attributed to four or five ailments (not strictly and definitively 100% obesity related…COPD is one of those five and Diabetes has a VERY strong genetic component…but close enough), and b) this bill does nada, zero, zilch and bupkiss (how do you spell that?) about it.
2) The most effective tool I’ve seen to actually reduce medical costs is to put the patient in charge of more of the money (numbers don’t lie and I look at the actuaries every day). Government cannot make us healthy, and insurance companies cannot make us healthy.
The fundamental fact that everyone misses when it comes to healthcare is that economic forces DO matter. One can pretend they don’t because one wants to pretend that healthcare is somehow special and unique. it’s not…no matter how “important” it is, it still is subject to economic forces. That leaves us two choices: Rationing (like most of the rest of the industrialized world–and no…just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean we should…or has noone been watching European economic news lately) or abide by the rules of supply and demand. The U.S. has refused to do the former (thank God), but they also wrote off the latter decades ago.
Fundamentally, at my core, I know for a fact that if the United States went to “Universal Health Care”, single payer, it would be the end of the American Experiment…period, because if a man is not responsible for his own physical well-being, he is responsible for nothing at all. That may seem too philosophical and pure sophistry, but so be it. America is unique BECAUSE Government doesn’t “provide,” rather it protects rights and freedoms. The Chairman can pretend that this isn’t important if he wants, and that “solving the problem” is more important, but I would argue that America is unique for a reason. It is the land of opportunity for a reason, and to put Washington D.C. in charge of rationing the healthcare of 300+ million people is the end of the Republic. Period. Full Stop.
So, assuming that we’ve decided not to ration, we must let economic forces work in healthcare the way it always does: through supply and demand. This bill DECREASES supply (less hospitals, less doctors–if you don’t believe me, ask the American Hospital Association and ANY independent doctor) and INCREASES demand (through subsidizing premiums and increasing insurance mandates to cover…whatever the Secretary of HHS says…lobotomizing priests maybe…if she’s in the mood).
Alternative? Increase supply: more medical schools and (yes I’m going to say it) less restrictions on the practice of medicine…and decrease demand: the Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, VA, Federal Employees…anyone that the Government controls directly…give them all $2000 and a $2000 deductible (there is a MYRIAD of ways to administer this), and tax incentives for private sector employers (and individuals) to do the same…If State and local Governments were to follow suit…or even better, lead the way…on this effort, there’s no telling what could happen to costs… To do anything else is a) insulting to the American people because it says we can’t make our own decisions about our health, and b) decidedly ineffective. The innovative approaches and solutions that would manifest themselves if the stranglehold over healthcare was released…the results would be…amazing. We have a choice. Become Europe or be American. I vote for B.