Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Am Sick of Health Care

Now I have talked about health care before and I have talked about government. I have even talked about government involvement in health care when I talked about how the passage of the SCHIP was going to affect my stogie smoking habit; but evidently I need to be clearer on the subject so that my voice will be heard. So here it is: GOVERNMENT HAS NO BUSINESS IN HEALTH CARE!  

The truth of the matter is that government has no business in any business, but health care is far too important a thing to turn it over to bungling politicians. Let me be very clear right up front that I do not believe in denying health care to children and old people. A Curmudgeon I might be, but as Christmas fast approaches I would like to think I have far more like Santa than Scrooge in my nature. 

And because I am concerned about people, young and old, rich and poor, and even myself for that matter; that I beg you keep government from gaining more control of the health and well-being of its citizens. What will happen to the young, the old, the poor? How will they be able to afford proper health care? My answer is simple, "Who do you think made health care so expensive in the first place? Who forces us to pay for the endless forms, the printing of the rules, regulations, and guidelines? Who demands that we pay for the faceless bureaucrats who created this overly complex and incomprehensible system that medical practitioners have to operate under?" 

Perhaps if we had less government involvement in health care, those very groups that we are most concerned about would have better access to more affordable care than they do today. It is government that regulates everything from the certification of doctors to the process of drug testing. It is government that creates the paperwork that doctors and hospitals have to fill out before and that takes time away from actually treating people. It is government that demands tests that doctors don't want to give to patients who don't want to have them. It is government that mandates what treatments will and will not be used, regardless of their potential benefit. 

Without spending the mind-boggling number of hours that it would take to assemble all of the facts and figures on the costs of all of this(besides someone considerably smarter than me has probably already done so), I feel pretty safe in saying that the Federal health care programs of Medicare and Medicaid probably spend as much money, if not more, on administration and bureaucracy as they spend on the care that is being provided. And like every other failed government program, what we find is that very government excepting itself from participation while asking us to consider more government involvement. 

So what about us? Are we at fault for the state of medicine in this country? The short answer is yes. We all seem to sit here fat, dumb, and happy; looking for our piece of the prize. We have paid health insurance premiums and tax dollars for Federal programs, and we would like to get our money back (and a little more if we can manage it, please). Where do we think the money comes from? The money that funds these programs is our money, and if we weren't paying it out in taxes, we could use it for the very medical care that we seek. That little bit extra is some else's piece, and there can never be enough to give everyone a little bit more (especially when you subtract the graft and inefficiency that our government has become famous for). Fortunately for the government, we all appear to be dumb enough to buy into all of this in the name of "better care". Few of us seem to realize that this can never be a zero-sum situation as long as we leave it in the hands of government. Can we really believe that the politicians and bureaucrats that have bankrupted the Social Security System can and will do any better if we turn over more of our hard-earned money and our freedom of choice in the hope of being protected when we get sick? We would be far better off being protected from these very politicians and bureaucrats who may end up protecting us to death. 

The Declaration of Independence speaks of the unalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness". Those rights are not results, but opportunities for citizens to seek those things for themselves without government interference. The Founding Fathers specifically limited the power and responsibility of government because they understood the danger inherent in not doing so. 

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution specifically talks about the fact that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." For those of you who suffered through public education, that means that any powers not given to the government by the Constitution belong to the people, and that the only way that this can change is for us to surrender them. In my parents day there was not only no government support for health care, there was not even health insurance. 

Somehow, during those dark days, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, people were able to afford health care the same way that they afforded homes, food, and cars. Not everybody lived in as nice a home as everyone else, or ate food that was as fancy, drove the same kind of cars, or were treated in private rooms in private hospitals; but they were able to live good, happy, and relatively healthy lives. They did it in the case of health care because they decided what kind of care that they wanted, who they wanted it from, and how much of it they were able to afford. They did it with money that they were free to earn, largely unburdened by taxation and without the interference of the government. Our only hope of survival may be to return to those days. We don't need more government health care, we need none. 


theirishtwin said...

First of all, make no mistake that I am in NO way agreeing that dinosaurs were roaming the earth when your parents were younger.
Hell hath no scorn like a ticked off Irish mother!
But on the subject of health care, I say no government and no big business! If it's not the government screwing things up, it's giant health conglomerates that buy up every hospital, clinic, and for that matter, doctor in any given area. Soon they are telling you who you can see, and then you'll wait 3 months for an appointment, where you will sit in the office and cool your heels for 2 hours. Then you'll pay an exhorbitant co-pay, be given some name brand prescription, because the doctor gets a kickback for every patient he prescribes it to, and then you'll pay an exhorbitant co-pay again to get the prescription. In the meantime, your health insurance premiums go up and up, if you can afford health insurance at all. All of this for the pleasure of seeing a doctor so rushed by what his health care conglomerate demands that he doesn't listen to what you say and doesn't remember ever meeting you the next ten times he sees you. (Now in all fairness to the doctors, they come into medicine trying to help people, but just like every other profession these days, they are gerbils in a wheel....spinning, spinning, spinning.) Don't even get me started on the situation in almost every emergency room in the country. God bless the staff that takes the heat in those short-staffed overwhelmed ERs!
I pledge that, for that reason alone, I will vote for whatever flavor-of-the-day idiot running for office who actually has a workable plan to fix the health care system. Unfortunately, I will probably die waiting!

Hooda Thunkit said...

Agreed that we have no need for government in medicine, just as we do not need Big Medicine or Big Pharma.

Unfortunately, we may have to kill them all in order to save the patient (that would be us).

Government and the "Bigs" though, already have a stranglehold that may prove impossible to break (Not forgetting about Big Insurance either)...

Tim Higgins said...

I believe that we could beat the drug makers and the hospital conglomerates, and maybe even the insurance companies if we could get government out of the picture. Return medicine to a free market system unfettered by government rules, regulations, and price fixing (which is what Medicare and Medicaid payment levels produce) and there's a good chance that good old capitalism will fix the problem for us.

If the old guard won't change their ways, then new businesses will spring up to compete. Right now they can't, because government has fixed the game.