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American Health Care as An Intentional Mess

The more mess, the more money.

by Everett Wilson
August 15, 2009

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American Health Care as An Intentional Mess

If I understand the Republican leadership about health care, their position boils down to this.

  1. A dying child is the family's responsibility. The child is dying because the family cannot pay its insurance premium, but that is their problem.
  2. When the child's dying is irreversible, the parents take the child to the emergency room, where it is seldom cured—too late for that—but gets maintenance care at maximal expense. Since the care is unfunded, the hospital eats the expense by tacking it on to the bills of those who have insurance or private means. After those resources are exhausted, magical "grants" make their way into the system to cover shortfalls. In the language of health care, you do not use the words "taxpayer" and "grant" in the same paragraph—or the same universe, if you can avoid it. Taxpayers are victims. Grant providers are saints. 
  3. Save lives, but protect your friends and show a profit!
  4. Kill it! Call it Bad Names. Call it Socialized Medicine, whether you know what you are talking about, or not. If you like to call it socialized medicine, here are some other names you can use.
    Public schools=socialized education.
    Public roads=socialized transportation.
    Public libraries=socialized reading
    Public parks=socialized recreation
    Public water=socialized water.

What's the big deal about medicine, when we do all these other things through public funding of one kind or another?

The answer is money. Medicare is an enormously fat cash cow for the private medical sector, as are privately-owned patents in health care when compared to the cash flow of the public parks and libraries.
The financial competition engendered makes a few of us richer, but not healthier. Though we spend about 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, the second highest percentage in the world, our system ranks just 37th in performance among the nations. In comparison France ranked #1 in performance, while spending just 11% of GDP. (Reference)
While our health-care providers and investors are lining their pockets, other nations are leading the way. To borrow the words of D.L. Moody from another context, I like their way of doing it better than our way of not doing it.

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Bob Mcnaughton from Middletown, CT writes:
August 15, 2009
Everett: what a great and objective summary! At the moment the fear-mongers have lied and fosered distortions that the populace seems to be adopting. I've seen congregations act the same way, and end up by dying. In the end, congress will, I believe, adopt health care reform, and then watch the populace rejoice at the changes! Thanks for writing.

Everett from The Partial Observer writes:
August 15, 2009
Thanks to Bob McNaughton for the swift and encouraging words. This really is a life and death matter requiring a groundswell of public response.

As for those worried about paying for health I would credit their worry more if they worried some about paying for war.

Bob McNaughton from Middletown, CT writes:
August 15, 2009
Everett: I forgot to say that your list of socialized programsshould include The Department of Defense = socialized military.

elm from 98801 writes:
September 12, 2009
BRAVO, you hit the nail on the head. Like many other reasonable Americans, we too support Health Care Bill and would hope our leaders would also inspite of the propaganda put forth by opposing Party lines -- which obviously have been drawn. Ignoring what need be put in place is nothing but "politics as usual" and NOT in the best interest of WE, THE PEOPLE. I am certain our public servants enjoy their Premium Health Care with all the bells and whistles paid for by WE, THE PEOPLE. WE, THE PEOPLE would like a slice of that pie instead of a lot of in-fighting and canned Double-Speak. Biggest majority of Americans need Health Care. OUR Reps should be busily talking about voting YES on HEALTH CARE rather than busily throwing up road blocks and red herrings. This time around, noone should settle for less and should be pressuring our reps. Health Care has been shoved on the back burner over and over while our reps enjoy Premium Health Care. When it comes to Cults, if the leaders live better than the people they lead, it is a Cult. Fits the "good old boys" political network also. Fact is, our servants are living with better Health Care than WE THE PEOPLE are! How about if our servants give up their Premium Health Care and get a better feel of how the real world lives or VOTE Yes on Health Care for ALL AMERICANS. That should be the option. Is that asking to much? What is good for the them should be good for us too.

Maggie Gilmore from Wichita, KS writes:
March 3, 2010
I'm going to format my responses in the order you mentioned things.

1. The government (through the tax-payer's dollars) does not owe you health care. If you can't provide for yourself or your family, no one is responsible for this but you. Why should my hard-earned dollars pay for your lack of planning, savings or maintenance on your health? Lift the burdens of red tape, ridiculous taxes and fraudulent malpractice suits and a free health care market will flourish, resulting in affordable costs, more options and easier processes. We have yet to try this so no one can really say it's failed.

2. Yes, emergency room costs get passed onto those with private insurance, in the exact same way that Medicare forces doctors to provide ridiculous rates on procedures which they then have to recoup with their legitimately insured patients. More on this later.

3. What?

4. Does anyone remember voting to "socialize" any of those examples of yours? Public schools, public libraries, etc? No, those choices were made for us by the government. And many of us would prefer privatized versions of these things, some of which do exist, like private schools. Public schools are laughable examples of the success of government institutions, each generation has become less informed than the one before, in spite of millions of dollars being dumped into the system every year.

Government controlled health care will be a similar situation only with more immediately devastating results, because at least in most states you're free to educate your children at home or send them to a private institution. Health care will be mandated, forced upon everyone and paid for by everyone. Standards will no doubt be lowered, as has been seen in the public schools, resulting in fewer, less-qualified medical professionals. Decent doctors and surgeons will flee to countries where they're compensated competitively, leaving us with whoever Obama can lure in off the street with free medical school.

Newsflash, Medicare is a government run program and the only "private medical sector" people making big money from it are a few who make fraudulent claims and cheat the system. Medicare is so badly organized they rarely catch these erroneous claims. If the government can't even successfully manage a program which is dwarfed by the massive scale of nationalized health care, why should we trust them with our entire well being? In reality, Medicare costs the private medical sector billions of dollars annually because they're forced to provide service to people with Medicare for pennies on the dollar based on how much Medicare will cover, which makes them pass their Medicare cost losses onto people with private insurance. Not that people utilizing Medicare are bad, they're just unknowingly robbing people with insurance and in a free, fair health care market anyone on Medicare could find an affordable alternative.

And I have to question the accuracy of your rankings "reference", in six months it seems to have almost reversed from what you claim here, which is really quite remarkable if our private health care is doing so terrible. Currently France is ranked #10, while the United States are in #2.

Lastly, many people fail to realize that our fearless leader and his friends in Washington will not be enjoying the fruits of their labors, they'll continue to have their own form of private health care. Solidarity, huh?

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