Sunday, September 29, 2013

How Did Healthcare Get Into this Mess?

It's time to unload the paperwork burden from doctors
Okay, I know if I say Obamacare is a bad idea, my friends on the left are going to jump me and say I don't understand what it's like to be without healthcare and I hate the poor and want children to die.

First, I'm the poster child for the person without healthcare.  I have to get mine through the few doctors who will even accept someone without health insurance.  I have to pay through the nose so they can afford the two clerks and the confiscatory malpractice insurance and they can't tell their insurance guy they even treated someone like me or they could lose their malpractice insurance. Someone like me who is poor is expected to be lawsuit happy.  I don't sue docs for honest mistakes, but they don't know that, so I pay the price for the greed of others.  I should be singing and dancing over the coming of Obamacare.  I'm not!

How in the world did we get into this mess?  Once upon a time you could go down to the doc, pay for what you needed and move along.  Sometimes doctors took pity on patients who were in financial trouble and gave them free treatment to tide them over.  An OB/GYN once saved my wife's life by donating his services to do a surgery that removed a volleyball sized tumor when we were temporarily without health insurance.  He can no longer do that. It's against the law because it's seen as a discriminatory practice for the doctor to choose to not charge some needy patients and charge others patients who can pay. Apparently only the government is allowed to give things away these days.

That's unfortunate because it prevents physicians from doing what they studied all those years to do - help sick people.  The problem with health care started in two areas. 
  •  First, as a wealthy nation we were able to treat ourselves with all sorts of evil delights from fried Twinkies to five nights a week fast food. It's little wonder our lifespans didn't climb as fast as we thought it should, even though it's nearly doubled over just the past century. 
  • The second problem was that we expected medical science's technological miracles to keep up the pace they started out at with wonder drugs, penicillin and amazing new surgeries. If they had no answers, we didn't believe them. If they tried something and failed, we assumed they were being malicious.
What happened next was we got mad if the doctors couldn't cure us of everything simply because we expected them too. After all the media made the new medicine men seem like magicians. If they failed us, we sought a way to punish them. A burgeoning crowd of newly minted lawyers looking for work obliged. Juries decided to give lottery level winnings to people who sue hospitals and the race was on. With more lawyers than a society could afford, they started going into politics until the legislatures and congress were so full of lawyers, you couldn't throw a lobbyist without hitting one.

Lawyers passed laws or refused to pass laws in order to protect their quite lucrative business of suing doctors and hospitals. To protect themselves, everyone in the medical business got insured and, as everyone knows, the medical systems circled the wagons and got themselves another bunch of lawyers. Then the government got into it and instead of making things better added a lot of paperwork and whole new federal agencies stuffed with bureaucrats, lawyers and poli-sci majors.

With all these lawyers and bureaucrats to feed, guess who paid at the pump for their fodder?

That's right. You and me. So tell me how adding more government and more trained lawyers and politicians to this mess is going to make it LESS expensive. The meme is that evil insurance companies shouldn't make evil profits off sick people. One guy even told me NOBODY should make profits off of sick people.

And why not? Lawyers do. Doctors do. Hospitals do. Even the government does - how else do you think they'd be able to pay all those new Obamacare bureaucrats. It would be a lot cheaper if healthcare was between you and your doctor, but that ain't happening anymore. It hasn't happened since the days of house calls and paying for a doctor's visit with live chickens. Too many people have stuck a hose into the medical industry and are siphoning off consumer dollars.  Like pirates driving up the cost of shipping, these medical industry parasites drive up the cost of healthcare year after year.

For every doctor and nurse actually practicing medicine, there are 50 clerks, administrators, managers, lawyers, politicians, IRS agents, bureaucrats and hangers-on taking a piece out of the sick person's wallet. They are all making a "profit".  Don't believe it?  Ask any of them if they are working as volunteers?  The bureaucrats know the cash cow is nearly drained, that's why they have gone to the government for funding.  Like one liberal told me once, if a government program runs out of money, they just go get more printed. That's why the IRS is being given the power to reach into your bank account under Obamacare and withdraw money without your permission to pay for your healthcare. Where else did you think all that money was coming from for the hundreds of thousands of new Obamacare bureaucrats?

They tell me that Conservative's don't have a plan to fix healthcare.  We actually do.  The plan is to QUIT TRYING TO FIX HEALTHCARE!  Butt out. Get the government out of the healthcare business as much as you can. Make lawsuits less lucrative. Restore the ability of doctors to do pro bono work and to manage their own practices without interference.  How's that not a plan?

Government is not the solution to every problem, especially when it comes to healthcare. I should be able to go down to my doc's, pay 30 or 40 bucks directly to him and get my blood pressure meds re-upped. After all, I can go down to that evil Wal-Mart and buy three month's worth of my prescriptions for ten bucks apiece. But nooooooo. My doc has to charge me $125, do a lot of unnecessary tests to protect himself in case I decide to sue him and pay two extra clerks to do the paperwork on my "case". The tests themselves can cost me another $250. I can't afford that. I have a friend who's a doc who absolutely retired in sheer frustration at having to charge his patients so much money when he knows he could do the same job for a third the cost or less.

And the leftists who love Obamacare, all seem to want to shut down my WalMart to boot. That's stupid! Wally World's $4 generic prescription drug program has done more to help poor people like me with their prescriptions than the federal government ever did‼

If the feds would stop meddling and let docs go independent and make their own decisions about how to care for their patients, you'd see a huge change. It'll be painful for folks to have to start taking responsibility for their own healthcare, but it just may inspire them to get off their duffs and do a little roadwork or eat a vegetable once in a while. There's nothing for bringing a little frugality to healthcare like having to pay for things out of your own pocket.  Best way in the world for stopping waste and fraud - to let consumers make their own decisions about which doc and which healthcare system they want to patronize.


© 2013 by Tom King

No comments: