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The politics of Healthcare need reform

Summary of Political events/perspectives on Healthcare

The list at right is a good collection of what is current, as is presented in News.  The discussion however is quite one-sided up until now, with literally no voice of free market being heard at the table of debate. 

Lobby groups are lining up for handouts, and to remain at the table of influence:  Lobbyists and with 58 lobbyists per Congressman, they are busy.  Some however are being hoodwinked in the process, including the AMA and others in a squeeze towards Federal control of healthcare.

The various Bills in Congress all suffer from a good answer to the question:  Who is going to Pay for this?  There have been a wide variety of funding proposals and they currently all have met with resistance, which is predictable.   The ideas on Financing have shifted all over the place to try to find a victim.   The latest is a push for a progressive surcharge of the rich leaving the country with the highest marginal tax rate.   That was met with resistance, and Pelosi has introduced a bill to limit the surcharge for those over $500K, which reduces the amount of money now significantly.  

As far as the lack of openness of the dialogue on healthcare, Shikha describes it  (Shikha Dalmia, Senior Analyst, Reason Foundation) as follows:

No one disputes that America’s health care system has many problems – the high rate of uninsured; ridiculously high costs; lack of patient choice; un-portable coverage – and is in need of radical reform. Well meaning, reasonable people can disagree about whether markets or government are better suited to achieve that end. But everyone can agree that they ought to put sincere arguments on the table and conduct an honest debate (that doesn’t rely on ad hominem attacks). That, unfortunately, is not what President Obama is doing.  

And truth is not their objective, as lies are more the norm in the political persuasion for the new policies.

Freedoms are under siege in the House and Senate Bills, and the threat of a massively growing entitlement is just beginning to reach some citizens.   Survey results of employers' management is not favorable to Obamacare.  Congress also voted to not accept the new reforms for themselves (let them eat the reforms?).

Massachusetts and Oregon are suffering, as the poster children of mandated universal coverage.

There is also the usual shadow boxing, as is evidenced in this video below.   It is an example of the measure of the double talk on patient choice, one of the key selling points that Obama has stressed in his reform.   Clearly the administration is trying to sell the notion that healthcare choices will not be changed, but in fact there are severe implications in the current bills to restrict options.  Here is an attempt to have the Administration admit this fact:


Commentary on the political situation:

In the grand scheme of things, the efficacy of the healthcare reform will most likely have a lot to do with the effectiveness of this country in the future.   Do we follow the lead of so many other countries in proceeding towards central control of healthcare, invariably leading to rationed care?  Or do we seek our own path, restoring a market economy in healthcare.  The net effect of doing the latter is that innovation in healthcare technology will be preserved and enhanced.   Doing the former will lead to a stifling of innovation and institutionalizing socialized medicine.   The reader needs to consider carefully their role in this and how the world, not just the US, would differ in these two models.  

The US leads the world in healthcare delivery and technology.  Delivery is best in the category of best practices, as detailed in the page labeled best practices at left.    Singapore may lead the world in the manner in which the markets work and the cost basis.   The world depends on innovation from the US, and without a sound financial basis to support R&D, then what happens to the quality of life enhancement that we are all hoping for us and for the generations to come?

As the healthcare industry is the largest industry in the economy, if we sink its viability and economic well being, what are we doing also to the overall economy?   This is a question not yet debated.   If we see a nationalization of the healthcare industry in part or all, then we will face taxes rising to closer to 50% of GDP from 30% now.   We would be beyond the tipping point of a socialized country.  Healthcare, financial, auto, and even perhaps the energy industry could come increasingly under control of the government.   Is this the country we want?

The argument that having a public option on healthcare insurance to “teach the insurance companies discipline” is both a false statement and a lesson to all who feel that lobbying is the best avenue to success.   To those who empower the big Government, you will eventually be bitten by it.   To optimize care for all, profits, high degree of satisfaction by providers and recipients, the market must be restored.   Other countries do not have the answer.  Ration care is the only option that governments have to control costs.   If you cannot lower costs then you must lower demand by force.   There are no other options.   What we learned about wage and price controls is that it generates scarcity and increases prices even further.   All other avenues have been reasonably pursued.  Forming a different form of a large provider of healthcare, a HBO, did not work.  It lowered costs temporarily until the patients objected to the lower level of care and the rationing.  

The main proponents of “universal coverage” want to throw more money at the current health care system, which strikes me as unwise. I believe that the “universal coverage” mantra is dysfunctional for the same reason that “more money for public schools” is a dysfunctional mantra for education. When your current approach is digging you into a hole, the sensible thing to do is not to dig faster. It is to stop digging.

The government programs will lead to single payer systems in this country, the stated objective of many of Obama’s advisers as well as Obama himself.   Healthcare reform in the manner in which it is being proposed is a Trojan horse, an attempt to build a bureaucracy that later can be made more favorable to a gradual path to socialized medicine.   If one says why not give it a try, then be prepared for a painful progression to a level of care found in Canada or England.   There is a reason that Sweden is making large strides to privatize its hospitals, having had one of the more socialized healthcare systems in the world.   There is a private healthcare growing industry recently reported in Canada as well as many other indicators that the ration care approach does not work. 

There are a great many myths about healthcare.  Read some of the links at right.  The political arena is full of ideas and reasoning that is serving someone, just not the citizens of this country.   The false truths occur in every speech, in every argument.   For government to see itself as needed to increase competition is without merit and certainly without precedent.   Study this issue, ask a few more questions than you did before, and insure that this country does not become a Europe, for we will affect our future and the future of our children in a most negative way.   This is, as history will prove or disapprove, the biggest political issue we will face in sometime.   If socialized medicine comes then what comes with it are more social programs of entitlement and transfer payments.    It is most apparent also that the current administration thinks that the best course of action is for government to play a large role in all aspects of our lives.  

Find time to study this issue and form your own opinion.   The political processes that have lead us to the condition we now have to fix depend on your not being well informed and certainly not voicing that concern.   Voice your opinion in any way you can.   Like it or not socialized care can come to us very soon, and we will not like it.   

“Nobody is talking about a free-market approach in health care. The spectrum today is between fascism and Communism.” –John Graham

Lewin Group weighs in a government run healthcare plan:

Obama when asked during the campaign if healthcare was a right, he answered yes.  It meant to him that folks in the this country should have adequate healthcare.   In so elevating this to a right, it is then given a higher status as being necessary.  

Right is defined as something to which one has a just claim, a just and true claim.    Can we claim the resources of another and see that as just?  It is true that we stake claim to others property that was in turn, acquired in a just manner?   Can we walk up to someone on the street and claim a right to something that they have?   Not and have a just and true position.  

Rights should be derived from our natural rights, and not extend to desires or needs, or claims based on a forceful transfer.  This philosophical distinction is critical to a civil society.   I have a right to freedom, but I do not have the right to demand a service from a group.   Does my right to life allow me to claim a right to healthcare services, or even to having free groceries at the market?  My right to life is a right because it is not just or true for someone else to take it away from me.   I should be able to own my life.  I do not own others lives or any part of their life.  

If another claims a right to healthcare, isn’t that person claiming to own someone else’s life and their output?    Allowing such claims to be rights, in any sense, attenuates that is just and true, and therefore must diminish the rights of all citizens.    

Editorial Obama "has offered a host of new spending," including on health care reform, "without calling for much sacrifice from anyone except the top 5% of the income scale," a Post editorial states. The editorial continues, "Obama should treat the CBO report as an incentive to fulfill his repeated promises, during and after the campaign, to make hard choices on the budget."

 An editorial states:

 "Though his emphasis on controlling health care costs is welcome, it's not a substitute for reforming the entitlement programs that are the drivers of long-term fiscal crisis, Medicare and Social Security," adding that Obama "has offered no plan for either and no road map even for achieving a plan." The editorial concludes, "Several members of his own party in the Senate have been expressing doubts about his strategy, and the CBO report will lend credibility to their concerns. He should heed them" (Washington Post, 3/22).

Interesting that they favor a single payer approach because they equate the current situation with market based, even though they point out that there are 58 lobbyists per congressman in DC.   Is this market based, what we have now?  Of course not.