Friday, July 24, 2009

I Agree

I agreed with so much of what Peggy Noonan wrote in her latest column, about Obamacare, health care reform, health insurance for or whatever the heck it is that I have to blog my favorite parts.

(All quotes are Noonan's from this op-ed piece: Common Sense May Sink Obamacare.)

Will whatever health care bill is produced by Congress increase the deficit? “Of course.” Will it mean tax increases? “Of course.” Will it mean new fees of fines? “Probably.” Can I afford it right now? “No, I’m already getting clobbered.” Will it make the marketplace freer and better? “Probably not.” Is our health care system in crisis? “Yeah, it has been for years.” Is it the most pressing crisis right now? “No, the economy is.” Will a health-care bill improve the economy? “I doubt it.”

Talking about Obama's talk about health care reform during the campaign versus what is being rushed through now, I agree with this statement of Noonan's:

The White House misread the national mood. The problem isn’t that they didn’t “bend the curve,” or didn’t sell it right. The problem is that the national mood has changed since the president was elected. Back then the mood was “change is for the good.”


The final bill, with all its complexities, will probably be huge, a thousand pages or so. Americans don’t fear the devil’s in the details, they fear hell is. Do they want the same people running health care who gave us the Department of Motor Vehicles, the post office and the invasion of Iraq?

I would add that we all know, everyone knows, don't they, that Medicare, Medicaid and the Veteran's Administration's medical care are all a mess. No one is happy with them, not the patients, not the health care providers. Care is rationed in all three cases, whether it is being limited to certain providers, or having trouble finding participating providers (as is the case with Medicaid) or being forced to wait longer for appointments (for various reasons), or with run down and outdated equipment or facilities (as with the VA).

Private citizens currently with private health care or without health insurance will always have something to complain about. It may be that care is more expensive than they like or can afford (but they get a fast appointment, top quality and the latest equipment, and access to high quality doctors, or the freedom if they so desire, to see top specialists). If the patients get a good provider they may grumble about waiting ten minutes past their appointment time but not realize their over-chattiness with the doctor during their consult is making someone else's appointment start late.

From working in the health care field in private medical practices I know that a number of uninsured Americans CHOOSE to be uninsured. They don't want to pay for medical insurance as they think they are saving money and being frugal by keeping their cash. They are gambling that no accidents will happen and of course gambling that minor illnesses will be cheaper to pay out of pocket than to "waste" money on monthly premiums. Some feel they hate a body telling them they need health insurance, they want to exercise free choice by refusing to purchase health insurance.

Mandating health care coverage as Massachusetts started over a year ago has not fixed the situation. People are still uninsured and abusing the system from what I've read, such as going uninsured then buying the plan before a surgery then quitting the plan right after. That is not fair to the health insurance companies who get clobbered.

In general I think Americans have come to think of health care as an entitlement. Some have also taken for granted their free access to health care (such as the ability to seek a second opinion, to fire a doctor that they feel wronged them). Some have forgotten that health insurance is to help offset the cost of the larger bills, and they then complain about the smallest of non-covered services, while also sometimes spending large amounts of money on non-medically necessary procedures such as whitening their teeth, getting breast enlargements or tummy tucks. Rather than control one's desires for food or to force oneself to exercise, a number today think gastric bypass paid for by health insurance is the first stop option.

The overindulged Americans who have it very good, so good that others from developed nations come to America to access our health care system, have complained too much and now President Obama wants the government to step in and "fix things".

I have serious concerns that those who ask for health care reform may get something that makes things far worse than any of the complainers ever imagined they'd have to deal with. The problem is they may be forced to take it rather than having free choice to avoid it. I believe this comes from the "other people" mindset, in which a person who feels they have a good heart wants government run health insurance for non-Medicare and non-Medicaid patients but they don't want it themselves as they like the freedom of their private insurance. However if their employer ditches the private plan in order to offer just the cheaper government plan how much will they like it then?

This is not just about money, about possibly paying more taxes. The larger issue is about rationing care, about the scary idea of the government introducing more limits than any private health insurance company ever has done before, such as evaluating a person's age and saying "you are too old and it is not WORTH it for you to have this procedure" or "yes that drug would help try to cure your Cancer but it is too expensive for a person your age or with X other medical diagnosis complicating your case". The only thing worse than that, in my opinion, is if the federal government begins offering euthanasia as a cheaper option than treatment of a condition, as is being done in the state of Oregon. (Source: Liberty and Tyranny by Mark Levin)

Americans would be wise to remember that it is much harder to revise or un-do federal legislation than it is to prevent a new program from starting in the first place. One need look no further than the well-intended but much-criticized "No Child Left Inside" legislation which remains unchanged despite outcry from both teachers and parents.

1 comment:

christinemm said...

An article discussing the estimated cost and the "right" to health care or the "right" to health insurance.

Massachusett's plan is discussed too.