Saturday, May 23, 2009

At What Price Healthcare?

It's been said that any government that is big enough to give you everything is also big enough to take away everything.

Take a moment and think about that.

We currently have a population that has not really had to suffer much in terms of poverty or need. Sure, there are those who have done without. As Jesus said-the poor will always be with us. But by and large, Americans have had the freedom to make of themselves what they choose. Historically, our founders sought to give citizens access to the education denied common folks in their European, African and Asian homelands. They hoped this would result in a population that embraced their freedoms with wisdom and acceptance of the responsibilities attached. Sadly, as with most things that become common, Americans take education for granted. The assumption is that children are empty vessels to be filled rather than flaccid muscles to be worked. The value of actual work has been lowered to where even novices assume that they are entitled to the perq's their parents waited decades to achieve.

So let's go back to the first statement. If we are given the so-called boon of "universal healthcare" who will be the gatekeeper. When workers paid their own insurance, they made the decisions as to how much coverage to have and how to exercise the benefits. But if government writes the checks, at some point there will be a situation where limits will have to be enforced. This will occur at either end of the life spectrum. Already we are seeing the movement in government to accept not just early abortions, but late term abortions as an acceptable alternative. China has had a one child policy for decades. With the cost of childcare, and the distant clamoring for public education to become America's Babysitter, how long will it be before similar policies take place here? Or let's consider those children born prematurely or with disabilities? Already we are seeing couples who screen for disabilities before pregnancy and one can only wonder what happens down the road if a disabled child is born to full term legal limits of viability. And what about preemies? I know kids who are happy normal teens now who were two months premature. But such NICU care is costly. More costly than the Obama Administration wants to admit. So do we tax everyone higher to pay these bills? Or will these children be left to die or survive on their own? And what of end of life issues? We have two states that have allowed assisted suicide to some extent. Will the cost of staying alive in senior years change into the "duty to die" for our national debt? I am not talking about sustaining life at all costs through intervention, I am talking of things such as dialysis or other measures which allow people to live longer. If these costly care measures are eliminated to insure the economic viability of Universal Healthcare, will we be able to accept the moral consequences down the line? Add to that the current measures to tax those of us who get health insurance through our employers. My insurance covers my whole family. Yet I will be taxed for not being irresponsible. Explain to me how this makes sense.

While I think things can be done to offer cost effective insurance to many people, I am also aware that many people would rather spend their money in other ways than in buying insurance. Right now, that is their option. I could point out some well fixed families who live in high income areas who choose not to buy insurance and instead spend their money on vacations or new cars or any of a number of things that I would love to do, but I choose to take responsibility instead. What is galling to me is to see people who spend their money on so many other things, but who cry about the high cost of health care and insurance. At some point, we have totally missed the whole "wants vs. needs" conversation. And I am truly disturbed by the trends I am seeing to simply throw away freedom for a cheap program.

Remember back at the start-I told you any government big enough to give you everything can also take it away. If single payer or Universal healthcare is such an efficient system, why do both the UK and Canada have private health insurance programs? Remember, these nations are and were ruled by royalty. They have a cultural acceptance of varying tiers of population influence. American isn't supposed to be like that. We are supposed to be the hale and hardy pioneers who earn by the work or their own sweat and muscles. If we trade our freedom for a program that could ultimately tell us how to live, what to do and can deny access if we don't obey, then we are reentering the very type of tyranny that we fought to escape. And for all you liberals out there, please remember, this is a two-edged sword. While you may like the idea of such a program, living under its restrictions may be far more galling than you realize. Big programs have Big price tags. And Big Programs also have Big Bureaucracy that wastes money, time and effort through serving the preservation of the program over preservation of the health of the individual.

The worse sentence in history-we are from the government and we are here to help. Remember that.


Anonymous said...

It's well known that the levels of poverty as well as the income gap in the US is far more pronounced than other indistrialised countries. That said no system is perfect, hence it's easy to knock Canada and the UK or any other country sees healthcare as a right rather than a privilege. One thing that these systems don't produce is ordinary decent middle class tax payers going bankrupt because they got sick, the health insurance industry isn't about providing care, it's about profit which equals minimising care, i.e not paying out. Health insurance is a right, not a privilege like say,
car insurance .

Ellen K said...

So if health insurance is a right, then why isn't it taken out of our taxes? Instead the proposal is to tax those of us who already have taken the responsibility to get health insurance coverage in order to pay for those who do not. While the liberal spin is that it will provide for those who can't, the reality is that it will provide insurance for those who would rather spend their income on travel and such over necessities. And if you think that isn't true, poll the average middle income business. You will find people who choose to NOT pay into the insurance offered at their work to spend their money elsewhere. Here's an example. I have a student whose mother works at a ver prestigious ad firm. In fact, the girl complained because Mom wouldn't let her drive the new BMW. But when this kid came down with a flu like bug, I mentioned she should go to the doctor and the reply was "I can't, we don't have insurance." And for lots and lots of people, this isn't a situation of not having access, it's a decision of deliberately choosing to put their money elsewhere and hope that nothing bad happens. And then what happens is they end up in the ER, and those of us idiots who do the right thing and put off wild expenditures get socked with another insurance premium increase because they can't or won't pay their bills. You want to know why insurance is so high? Ask John Edwards. While there's much that can be said for personal responsibility, the lack of tort reform has created a situation where doctors overprescribe treatments to prevent the eventuality of some craven lawyer getting a case against them. This has made it where in some rural areas, there are no OB/Gyn's, there are no neurologist, there are no specialists-because they don't want some idiot wandering in the ER and then taking them to the bank. And by the way, about Canada, if their system is so great, why were they forced to pass a bill allowing private insurance AND why to so many people with gall bladder, hernia and other painful situations end up coming here rather than putting up with months or years of pain?