Healthcare is at a Fork in the Road - The Right Direction Should be Obvious.
by Pericles Elytis Nikitaras
Back in the 30's, the National Socialist Party in Germany was formed. The acronym for the German word, Nationalsozialismus, or national socialism, was "NAZI". Hitler rose to power with the help of his national social democrats. Nationalized means socialized which means socialism which means run, regulated and/or owned by the government. The Nazi government, under Adolph Hitler, took over and ran everything, including healthcare, challenging the German Constitution and threatening to mandate scores of regulations by executive order.
Fast forward to 2012: The U.S. President succeeds in NATIONALIZING and SOCIALIZING American healthcare with help from his social democrats. He then challenges the American Constitution and threatens to mandate scores of regulations by executive order. As the inimitable Yogi Bera once said, "It's Deja Vu all over again!"
Now it is well known that the government sucks at running everything it runs, from the IRS to the VA to the post office. If the IRS can't keep track of its own important email files, I for one don't want them messing with my medical files. And if the recent VA scandals and corruption are any indication of how our government runs a nationalized medicine program, we should want none of it. Vets are dying as they wait for critical care. There are secret death panels and cover-ups. As pathetic as this is, it's merely a microcosmic but poignant example of the very best we can ever hope to expect from American socialized medicine.
We clearly don't want this.
No thank you. The free market has always provided better price, service and efficiency than any government bureaucracy, and it always will. Why? Because in a free market, there is always price competition between providers and the very real risk of losing business if you deliver poor prices or service to the customer keeps prices low and service high.
In a single-payer health insurance system of the type Obama himself is pushing the nation toward, such incentives are lost: healthcare becomes a cartel...there is no risk or threat of losing business, because the government becomes the sole provider, free from any competition. Without that risk, customer service declines and prices are free to climb because there is no competitive urgency and "customers" have no place else to go for coverage. And the "service reps" under Obamacare are public employee union members who don't work for your doctor or insurance company, so they can't lose their jobs if they are rude, don't return your calls, or are indifferent to your needs. If you want to see the model for that, just go to an IRS or Social Security office in a big city. That's who you'll be talking to if you have a problem. Why would anyone ever want to become a sitting duck for such a non-competitive, socialist, no-accountability, single-payer healthcare system, where government bureaucrats and public union workers decide your fate, independent of you and your trusted physician or anyone accountable to your case. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
Therefore, private, portable, personal insurance policies are much more efficient. Why doesn't anyone want to try that first? Are we so blindly in the tank for socialism that we can't bear to try a capitalist solution? I hope not.
After all, we in America haven't had free market medicine since the 30's, and we have never had real free market health insurance in this country. That is why our system is not nearly as good as it could be. We haven't had real choices. It is time for real change.
Socialized medicine is failing all over the industrialized world. You can't get a good doctor or avoid a long wait for a necessary procedure in any of those countries unless you pay cash, and even then, the doctors are worse, which is why the wealthier people from those countries come here in droves and pay cash for procedures they would get "free" in their countries...even the rich Canadians come here for heart and orthopedic surgery. Just pay a visit to The Hospital for Special Surgery or Sloan Kettering in NYC and see how many rich Europeans are receiving treatment there. Ask any top orthopedist or cardiologist. Do you think their national healthcare systems in France and Germany and England are paying for that medical tourist care? Absolutely not. The Europeans and Canadians are paying cash. Why? Because their nationalized or socialized medicine systems suck. Yet we insist on following their failed model. Why?
Already, with Obamacare, only half of doctors accept Medicare and Medicaid. Expect that to get worse and for care to decline, along with wait times increasing and more treatments being denied under any further socialist expansion of medicine. Obamacare is already denying coverage for important cancer treatments and medications and Memorial Sloane Kettering and The Mayo Clinic are not covered under the plan. As doctors defect, quality and availability of care declines. Then we will need to import more and more doctors from the Third World with questionable training to fill the gap because they are the only ones who didn't pay $278,000 for medical school. Even now, how many of us have a doctor who is not from a Third World country?
And we should consider this: if we can't even control our own borders, how do we prevent waves of unskilled and uneducated immigrants without jobs and with plenty of infectious diseases and health problems from swamping the boat and bankrupting a socialized "free" healthcare system? Look at our borders now and you will realize that we can't ever hope to offer everyone free healthcare. It is completely unsustainable and it will sink us and our aging population.
There must be a price paid for good care, and a risk premium for not taking care of yourself, and those prices should be born by the end user in a free market for goods an services. They should not be spread among all of us to bankrupt us. If you're not married, you shouldn't be forced to pay for maternity care. If you don't have children, you shouldn't be forced to pay for pediatric care.
We need premiums geared and underwritten toward actual coverage needed that are not directed or governed by where you work, but selected by you, just as you select auto insurance. Having companies or governments select our healthcare for us is like having them pick our car insurance for us...it's an inefficient and stupid idea that is bound to fail. But, unlike car insurance, human health insurance includes preventative maintenance, which is very expensive, and it isn't fair or right to pay for each others' maintenance when some of us might not take care of themselves the way others do. That would be like asking other drivers to share the cost of repairing your old clunker or replacing your bald tires or transmission by paying higher auto insurance premiums. It's dead wrong. It's even more wrong to ask others to pay the massive costs to replace or repair your failing heart after you smoked and ate poorly your entire life after conveniently pissing all your money away. I mean, are we just suckers here, about to get sucked? Let's hope not.
Let people freely choose and pay for their own portable health insurance coverage and let insurance companies compete across state lines for policies, and let all insurable people fall into the same ratable pool for underwriting, with an assigned risk pool for bad risks...just like auto insurers do. That way if you smoke, your premiums will be higher, just like if you are a bad driver. We don't have that choice now, and we should.
That new nationwide competition will ensure low cost of premiums, and the completely indigent and highest risk folks will get Medicaid, the last resort safety net, which only certain doctors and hospitals will accept, which will be lower quality coverage and which should offer only the basic catastrophic coverage. Sure it will be a government run shit-bucket plan, but it cant be any worse than the VA system is now. It shouldn't be very good coverage or too many people would stay on it and not have an incentive to improve their lot in life.
Forcing people to have single payer health insurance when they don't need or want it and having the system run by an already bloated Leviathan government that can't even run the mail system or VA hospitals effectively is not only a colossally arrogant and stupid idea, it is a much more expensive one, because under it there is no price competition, neither between insurers nor between providers, so it guarantees higher costs, and it potentially exposes the public to massive privacy violation as that bureaucracy now running the TSA and the IRS, instead of your private physician, begins to publicly handle personal medical files. So now not only are they handling your privates in the TSA line, they are handling your medical files. It's just asking for trouble. When it fails, and it will, it's proponents will then beg for a bailout and give corrupt politicians another excuse to spray a trillion dollars around to their cronies and we already know how that movie ends...badly.
That's not the way we should do things in America. We aren't a constitutional monarchy teetering on the verge of socialism or Marxism like every other industrialized nation in the world and we should not experimentally go down that socialist path without exhausting all other free market options, which we have not yet done.
Remember that creeping socialism, under the banner of progressivism or liberalism, or whatever the leftists have chosen to call themselves today, has dragged us into this mess that we are already in. It started in the thirties with FDR sending his "brain-trust" envoys to learn from the "Soviet miracle". They came home with various suggestions for socialist entitlement programs which were implemented by FDR and which have greatly expanded in size and cost under later presidents.
Socialism in America has now so distorted and weakened this country and twisted our individual freedom and opportunity to such a point that our very grandparents, let alone our founders, wouldn't recognize the country they once knew. Free markets didn't create this mess, the lack of them or the wrong-headed abhorrence of them or the bold experiments with socialist policies and higher and higher taxes to support them did.
Unless we want the rising unemployment, social problems and regulatory and tax barriers to the creation of personal wealth like the Europeans have because they have fully embraced socialism, we need a free market solution.
We haven't had free markets in health or education or even business here for 80 years and that's the problem. Not since Calvin Coolidge have we had a system that truly provided opportunity and refuge to someone who came here with no money and no education. We have gone down this socialist road in America far enough. It's time to turn the country around and be smart about it or sink with the globalist socialists. Only free markets will fix it, not constraining and further regulating the market into a single payer system from a multiple payer system.
The big lie, repeated so often that people begin to believe it, is that socialism redistributes wealth...Do NOT be fooled. It clearly doesn't. Socialism redistributes poverty, and it does so very well. Ask any doctor from a communist country like Cuba or North Korea or Venezuela why he's driving a cab to make ends meet, and he'll tell you how big that lie is that socialism redistributes wealth.