Monday, November 9, 2009

Paradoxes in the Health Care Debate

Wow, this stuff is complicated.

Some people told me that I've made some good points about certain issues in the health care debate, but they "don't know where I stand". I apologize for not yet deciding which slogan to latch onto, and for not yet being on auto-answer. I'll leave that to "Democrats" and "Republicans", who have decided they must condescend to all of us by taking thinking, reasoning and logic out of the discussion. Can't say that I blame them.....we make American Idol a top rated show, we buy Disney products, we allow hip-hop to be called culture, and we act like drinking diet soda is a healthy choice. If I were elected, I'd keep the debate to slogans too.

Fortunately, I didn't run, and if I did, I couldn't win. I can't do slogans. I'd rather look at the slogans, and use them as a basis for something unintended.....thinking and discussion. Here are a few:

"If health care reform is passed, a bunch of bureaucrats will be coming between me and my doctor about MY healthcare" ----- To anyone who says or thinks this, I ask the following:
Are the people at insurance companies who reject and reduce medical claims not "bureaucrats"? Are they better...somehow? Lemme see if I understand this....someone whose job it is to reject your claim so their company can maintain profits is better for you than someone who works for the government?

"We have the best medical care in the world" ------- Yes, if you have insurance. (Actually, I don't know if we have the best medical care; I'm as ethno-centric as the next person.....and truthfully, we don't seem like a particularly healthy country). I've heard the argument that even people without insurance still get treated, but the inequities in our current system are stark, and shameful.

"We want to improve the current system, but we do not need a drastic overhaul" ----- This one really gets me. The current system was and is spinning wildly out of control....anyone who is paying their own way for health insurance KNOWS this. This has been going on for years. Eight years Bush was President, and he had a Congress too, and they did not even sniff at this issue. Now a little tweaking won't do it. Now an attempt is being made to make it fair. It's worth the effort.

"Illegal immigrants should not be covered" ------ I actually agree with this one, but I have no problem with taking every undocumented person who is here working, giving them status, and making them work ON THE BOOKS, and paying to be in the health care system. If having them all in the system and paying brings the cost of health insurance down, I vote "aye".

"It will lead to socialized medicine" ------- I know a lot of doctors. None of them are socialists. Most of them are capitalists, and appreciate being among the best paid professionals in our society. Most people do not begrudge them this. Mandated health insurance will be the biggest boon to medical business in the history of business. That's why you don't hear many doctors speaking out against this, except a few insurance company whores. If you were in a business, and there were tens of millions of customers who needed your products and services, but couldn't really afford it so they held off buying it, and now it would be law that everyone would be able to pay for your products and services, would you like that law? Multiple choice question....... If you were a doctor in a small practice, how would you feel about universal insurance?
(a) You'd be sporting a woodie.
(b) You'd be creaming your jeans.
(c) You'd be humming the "Anticipation" song.
(d) All of the above.

"It's part of a master plan by Obama (and the Dems) to turn the country socialist" ------Note to people who say this....paranoia is not attractive.

"The public option will drive the insurance companies out of business" ------- Are they really going to just roll over and let that happen? Nah, what they will have to do is COMPETE, which I thought was the American way. Oh, is it "not fair" to have to compete with the government? If you give good service and fair prices, and people HAVE TO buy insurance, a private company should be able to kick the governments butt and get huge new business. Have the insurance companies gotten so fat that they can't compete? (How utterly American of them) Can anybody show me where they are competing with each other now? Are they competing on price? On service? Never and nowhere.
No, they will NOT go out of business....they will compete, and the strongest will survive. As it should be.

I'm getting closer to knowing whre I stand.
Can't wait to see what the Senate does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, since I've started reading your blog, I suppose that it's OK to comment.

I agree completely with your criticism of the debate, that it's really only a debate of slogans (or bumper stickers). However, with all due respect (and I mean that seriously), I don't think I agree with most of the remainder of your post.

I don't agree because the health care proposals (at least such as I understand them) are much more complex than your responses to the slogans would indicate.

For example, your posts don't reflect at all the clearly articulated plans and hopes of the Congressional leaders on the left for the government system (the "public option") to end up being a single-payer system, i.e., no private health insurance.

As a lawyer, Barry, would you want to see the government subsidizing other lawyers in your area of specialty? Sure, you can compete with other private lawyers, but can you compete with lawyers being subsidized by the government? The government could lower their rates to zero if it so desires, which you cannot do.

Additionally, find me a single industry that's subsidized by the government and is cost-efficient. It can't be done. Why in the world would anyone think that government-subsidized health care could possibly lead to lower costs? It flies in the face of universal experience.

Finally, and most importantly, it bothers me that the current Democratic proposals totally ignore the real causes of the high cost of health care. Yes, it's lack of competition, but that lack of competition is caused almost entirely by government interference in the market place in the form of tax deductions for employer-provided health insurance. Milton Friedman was preaching as far back as the 70's that we need to get the government out of health care if we want to restore true competition and thereby reduce health care costs.

It's those high health care costs that are the root cause of lack of adequate health care for the poor, those with pre-existing conditions, and the other victims of our current system. Lower costs would make health care much more available to all.

Just some thoughts from your old law school buddy.