I’d like to accept that everything that can be said about the healthcare debate has been said but, believing that the passage of the bill in Congress is only the first step, think this debate has actually just begun.
Some would claim that the debate was about those who see a nation with some 30 million without health insurance and others who have run the gauntlet of the current system while burdened with “pre-existing” and other liabilities and have come up losers in navigating the impenetrable fog that is the health care delivery system in this country. Of course it is about fixing a system whose costs have run amok even as it is acknowledged that the system we enjoy is the envy of the world, often by those who are first to condemn it from abroad even as they, if of the means to do so, are the first to jump on a plane to take advantage of its exceptional care at the first sign of serious medical challenges in their own lives.
But I don’t think the “debate” was about that at all for it had been the dialog would been have focused on the provisions of the bill, many of which no one other than the staffers and lobbyists firmly ensconced behind closed doors who provided the actual unread language the lemmings in Congress were instructed to vote for, “for the children” and other disenfranchised representatives, the most egregious examples of which were trotted before the cameras by those seeking to bolster their case in a cynical exploitation of those who have suffered enough already, would have been the focus. It wasn’t about the bill. It was about whether you trust the Government to “make it all better” by adding tens of thousands on IRS agents to monitor whether you have purchased, or if you are a business owner provided your employees, insurance coverage that meets some faceless plutocrat’s current definition of acceptability and, if found wanting, issue and collect the “fines” for such societal offense the word “tax” not being part of the politically correct lexicon, in this case at least.
It is hard to say what I, as a firm opponent of this approach, find the most offensive characterization of my position by those issues: That of being callous to the real need for reform and that any opposition to the approach taken equates to opposition to any reform of the current system or, that any opposition or opponent automatically is somehow in the pocket of the insurance industry. In the end it doesn’t matter because I could never detect at any point in the debate the supporters of whatever the President wanted to do no matter what it, as ever being open to actually discussing, let alone defending and debating, their position on the merits of their approach.
And so we are told again about all the wonderful benefits that immediately accrue with the passage of this bill. Have a per-existing condition? – you’re now covered. Funny you don’t hear anything about what the costs are to the individual or the rest of the individuals now covered to offer this admirable accomplishment. Have a kid under 26? Now they can stay on Mommy and Daddy’s family policy. Funny you don’t hear any talk about why the economy can’t produce enough jobs so Junior has to mooch off Mom and Dad in the first place or what exactly happens to Mom and Dad’s group policy premiums once this kicks in.
I’ve said many times that my problem with this approach is that it flies in the face of basic economics. To a system that already “rations’ access for Seniors due to the paucity of payments to providers of Medicare funded services we now add millions more, achieving this admirable goal by gaining the means of payment from no one but someone else – someone who is richer than you and therefore defacto undeserving of any sympathy. That at the same time we do so we vilify Doctors and Insurance companies, Hospitals and Clinics as somehow just making too much for the services they provide thinking that such perverse incentives will somehow add to their ranks and not, as studies have shown, drive them from the profession.
You cannot add millions in demand without a corresponding increase in supply and have costs go down. Never has happened, never will. Unless you fix prices and ration access.
Funny I’ve never heard of a patient laying on a gurney before surgery wondering if the surgeon, his life about to literally be placed in his hands, thinking aloud: “I think you make way too much money…”
But we didn’t have that debate. We were too busy being promised free lunches.