Monday, August 3, 2009
Obama Healthcare: Is There a Long Term Agenda?
There has been much speculation that liberals have a long term agenda regarding moving our healthcare insurance reimbursement system to a "single payor" system, of course with that single payor being the US government. To use another term: Socialized Healthcare.
The hard social economic reality is that people without health insurance are in the minority. Depending on whose study you which to believe, in 2007 18% of our population under the age of 65 were without health insurance. Of course that doesn't mean they were without health care. We have all seen the media stories about the number of people who use the community hospital emergency room for treatment of non-emergency healthcare. Of course the public pays the bill for this through increased costs (hospitals much charge more for profitable health care cases to offset the financial losses in the ER), and increased taxes in their community to support the hospital. This is the current status quo. What has been stated by the Congressional Budget Office is that nothing being considered in the proposed health care "reform" will actually reduce the cost of any specific medical procedure. So the trillion dollars the Democrats are proposing to spend over the next 10 years is to provide some type of medical insurance to that 18% minority. The media has been very willing to point out that taking a sick baby to the ER is not an ideal use of resources, but I have seen very little mention of what the effect of adding 46 million people to our system of family practice doctors. Many doctors limit the amount of Medicare/Medicaid patients in their practice, or simply refuse to accept those patients. This is because the negative financial impact those patients have on their practice. Any new plan would require doctors to accept the government's new Universal Health Insurance, requiring them to adjust the ratio of support staff to patient. This would clearly lower the service levels a doctor could provide. Lower reimbursement levels would also affect staffing levels at hospitals, and my force to provide the lowest cost options when it comes to medication and medical device options. So rather then receiving the best antibiotic, instruments, heart monitor, implant, and surgical instruments for your knee replacement, yours will now be from the lowest bidder. And there will be few people in the room during surgery, and in the recovery room to monitor your progress. The trickle down effect of all this could be taken down to how much R&D will drug and implant companies be able/willing to fund once they are forced into competing purely on price rather then the doctors choosing what works best in their practice/patients.
On yesterday's talking head programs, the Obama messengers were not willing to rule out tax hikes on the middle class in order to pay for his single payor (with the government being that single payor) plan. So far, no one appears able to disclose final details on whether this new Universal Health Insurance will fund voluntary abortions (a hot topic), or what coverage and benefit (if any) will be provided to those individuals who are not US citizens. The bottom line is that our taxes will need to increase in order to pay for all this "change". Another broken promise by another politician. So 82% of the US population will pay more and receive less in order to provide a better system for the 18%.
It seems the folks who appeared in Austin Texas for Representative Lloyd Doggett's town hall meeting were from that 82% group.
The US health care system is massive and complex. And it is far from perfect. But now that Obama is in office the Democrats have all the answers and are (again) in a hurry to push this through. Why? I would challenge that our tax system is more in need of reform then our health care system. I don't see anyone rushing to reform that, not that Universal Health Insurance is real reform of system. It just expands the government control of that system. And Universal Health Insurance will force insurance companies out of the health market. No for-profit insurance company can compete with Uncle Sam. How many jobs will that cost? Of course we can just shift those jobs into the giant government bureaucracy we create. We already know that once we go down the path of creating bureaucracy there is no going back.
This video is a bit shaky, but you get the impression there are some in the crowd who object to his comment "...this must be done very fast".
And with the government running your health care insurance, what could go wrong?
Again I ask "why". What is our risk we do not do this RIGHT NOW? Some accuse President Obama of having some sort of long term 'socialist agenda'. Personally, I prefer to believe he's just mis-guided. Over time the things that sounded good as a community organizer don't actually make much sense when all the facts, effects, and projections of a capitalistic, free market economy are considered by the President of the United States. Of course the proof is in the fruit provided by the tree, and I am reserving my right to change my opinion based upon the actions of the next few months.