Thursday, May 14, 2009
Universal Health Care and the Word of the Day
Today's Word of the Day is Yet. Let's see how many times I milk this one.
(I'd give you the letter and number of the day too, but the kids didn't have Sesame Street on (they watched Toy Story 2 and Toy Story in that backwards order).)
As in we haven't found out the full details of the Obama healthcare reform yet.
But we do know some important points.
It's not a single-payer government run system. And for some reasons, I want to add the word "yet" to the last sentence.
Perhaps it's because we've seen what happens when this administration gets its hand into a business (Government Motors and Chrysler-on-a-crutch, and the banking sector). And in this case, it's not just parts of the industry, it's the whole industry.
Between the FDA and CDC, and Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP/whatever, they have a large share of control over pricing and flow of the health sector already. When almost no one is paying for their own health care (we're there already), and the government is paying for an ever larger share (27.8% now, 44.2% once they get those "50 million uninsured people" on the tit, and eventually 50% as the baby boomers hit the Medicare rolls), then the government will have every reason to control what happens with the pricing of services (i.e. price controls).
And when tax deductions for businesses providing health care go away (something McCain was torn apart for and now is being discussed), then fewer companies will be able to afford it. And the rolls will grow.
Another word we hear is that we will have choice. They haven't taken that away (yet).
However, consider what will happen when you choose to do activities that cost the government money (as in health care for said activity).
Like smoking. We know that's a prime evil, so smoking could be a reason something doesn't get paid for, or a reason you are no longer allowed to smoke.
Or those nasty fatty fast foods. We know that shit ain't at all good for you (as I am reminded when I get the bag'n'gag when the kids demand their Chicken McMaggots from McDonalds), so there's something the government has to stop.
What about sugar? I know (from the multitudinous collection of metal and plastic fillings (3 more yet to fill) and gaping toothless holes (2 molars so far) in my mouth) the effects that sugar (a stick of sugared gum every hour every day in high school plus all the HFCS-loaded Dr Pepper I could consume and not die) can have on dentistry (I'm paying cash). Maybe when dental care becomes a right, I'll just get a mouthful of new teeth (I may end up doing so eventually the way my teeth are), but then I have to say goodbye to my sweeter source of geek fuel (the other being caffeine).
I could go on, but then someone would just say I'm running with someone else's talking points, and pushing the ridiculous to boot.
It's also being billed as a way to actually cut costs. I haven't stopped laughing about that line yet.
And I have good reasons to laugh. The latest news on Social Security and Medicare is that they are going bankrupt even faster that lat predicted (surprising the experts yet again (they are always surprised)). Yes, Medicare (as in government-funded health care) is due to run into the ditch in 2017 (instead of 2019). And the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security will collapse in 2037 (instead of 2041). The reason why, of course, is that the costs for these programs keeps going up. Fast.
And considering that Medicare alone is one fifth of the budget and due to go belly up in eight years, what's going to happen when health care is over one third of the budget? It's not there yet, but when the government becomes responsible for everyone that doesn't have coverage, it will.
Of course we have to do this because health care is a "human right." Bullshit. I'm not going to cover this in detail, because I have in a prior post. Suffice it to say, though, that these government-created "rights" require government to take away the natural right to property (through confiscatory taxation, and eventually price fixing), as well as liberty (a doctor's right to practice medicine in the way he chooses (including staying away from the paperwork and pricing guidelines of government).
Now let me clarify where I come from. I'm in that category of the 50 million uninsured. My kids are on Medicaid. And that's because I'm slowly working my way out of a whole lot of financial and life choice mistakes (and not there yet). So I've got a feel for some of the workings here at the bottom of the financial barrel. Here's a couple things that I thought about this in the past month:
First, this happened the last month or so. My daughter failed to get her hearing test to pass on one ear for her 3-year wellcheck (done by a Certified Nurse Practitioner, not a doctor (more on this later)). And while I didn't suspect any actual problems, the best thing is to get it checked by an audiologist. So we got the referral, with the nearest audiologist being 20 minutes away. Called the audiologist to get the appointment, and they're not covered (Ohio has farmed out Medicaid to private companies to cut costs). The nearest one that is would be another 20 minutes away (and between school and work, I don't have a lot of time or patience). So I said "Fuck it" and paid cash (which for some reason the audiologist preferred, as opposed to having to play the paperwork shuffle) and got the hearing taken care of relatively local and really fast.
Which reminds me, I'm going to have to ask my dentist (who's really an artist when it comes to patching my teeth (because they're rotting bastards)) if he'd prefer the government picking up the tab. I suspect he's the type of dentist that would be changing careers once the government takes over that part of healthcare. I think I'm going to go to this type of dentist (small practice, more of a profession and less of a business) as long as possible.
There are many things we could be doing to ease the burden of the costs of healthcare. The certified nurse practitioner, the certified nurse midwife (have used both in birthing and checking the children), and a dental tech (don't know the correct term) could take over the routine cases for less cost, with the doctor being a supervisor only, as well as being able to handle the ego trip cases (because doctors generally have big-assed egos (career requirement)). This has been done to some degree, but not nearly enough to really matter. The combined forces of healthcare providers (donating a couple hours a week each), healthcare suppliers (including the pharmaceutical companies, donating some supplies, drugs, and cash), and a much smaller amount of cash from the government (from monies for safety net programs) could fuel free clinics. And if we were all forced to pay for our healthcare, rather than this obsession with making it a "right" and a responsibility for someone else to pay for (and this includes insurance for routine shit), we sure as hell wouldn't put up with the nickel and dime and arm and leg bullshit pricing model we now have that's designed to make up for the deadbeats, insurance company dances, and government-invented payment and cost schedules. There's many more
things I could add, but you get the idea of where I'm going.
And yet, there are too many people that fail to take this responsibility and seek someone to "take care of them" from Washington. We've got a few more years of seeing how this idea works out.
Scribed by Patrick M at 3:09 PM