Monday, May 6, 2013

Healthcare Going Forward

Many are finding the new healthcare legislation more expensive and harder to implement then first thought. When it comes to healthcare people wonder what we are facing in both care and cost, what I see as the crux of the issue is who will be paying these bills. We must look at how we can cut healthcare cost so we get more and better coverage for the money spent. Extending medicare to give the most "basic coverage" to everyone would require some rationing of service to contain cost, but this is already being done. It would allow us to discontinue Medicaid while meeting our goal of basic healthcare for all citizens. Other wise let us be honest and made it lawful to turn the uninsured and poor away from the emergency rooms of our nations hospitals untreated.

Healthcare is ridiculously expensive because many people have convinced themselves of  three things: The answers for good health outcomes rest with pills and procedures rather than good diet and exercise. Death at late stages of life is some strange, recent development in human history which justifies and necessitates extreme, exorbitant payouts to delay it for every possible last second.  And last but not least, thinking that mixing all the myriad of "health care" transactions that result from the just mentioned concepts with health insurance as originally conceived to protect a person from unforeseeable, catastrophic events like an accident is a good idea. Just because we can does not mean we should, healthcare is like a tape worm ever ready and always wanting to grow larger.

Healthcare is the Achilles heel of American competitiveness, our healthcare problems are not for lack of spending, Americans spend more on healthcare then people in other developed countries, but with very poor results. Our system allows insurance companies to stick their nose into every interaction you have with a health care provider, they get to take a large cut as well. It has become virtually impossible to find a modestly-priced traditional insurance plan that protects a person from unforeseeable catastrophic accidents while letting them own responsibility for the accumulation of their lifestyle choices over time, thus differentiating the healthy  70-something marathon runners from a fat slob suffering from self induced diabetes.

After the Supreme Court  decided that Obamacare is here to stay, I heard one supporter say "I think it rather tragic that a five/four Supreme Court decision could have overturned the wishes of  Congress." Another joked, "I guess we could just let people die in the streets but then the conservatives would probably complain about the cost of collecting the corpses." This is the kind of noise that makes it difficult to stay focused on the important issues. Surely there is a legitimate and rational place for government in ensuring access to basic levels of care, but we've lost our bearings about what "basic levels of care" should mean, and we know what happens to costs when free government money flows into a system, hello college tuition! Indeed, healthcare and hospitals have become a quasi government entity.

Another interesting objection to Obamacare is that it is a boondoggle to increase the profits of private companies and their owners and that it should not have been adopted in preference to a single-payer system covering "basic healthcare." A single-payer system could achieve many of the goals of the healthcare bill by cutting cost through eliminating wasteful duplication, bureaucracies, and paperwork. The idea wouldn't eliminate insurance or pharmaceutical companies, they would continue to sell extensive types of "optional" coverage. A single payer program would appear constitutional. Many argue there are "better" solutions than Obamacare, but that is not the legal standard for what is constitutional. Deciding the better, or the workable, is the job of the legislature.

We all know that there is no escaping the grim reaper, and little to no way to collect against the dead if they have no assets to pay for burial, cremation, etc. Therefore, mandating people buy burial insurance makes sense. Consider the fabled broccoli, gym, and junk food examples, if you are out of shape you increase your chances of getting a major disease and forcing costs on the system. Once Congress has the power to regulate in an area it is more or less unfettered what is to prevent them from mandating you eat broccoli, go to the gym and banning junk food? When all is said and done the crux of the issue is how can America cut healthcare cost and get more and better coverage for the money spent.

Footnote; Other related articles may be found in my blog archive, thanks for reading and comments are encouraged,

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