The time is coming when getting health care will be a simple and inexpensive matter. No matter your illness, you will find the proper treatment, with affordable care and the finest doctors. All you have to do is sign off on this new plan put forward in congress. It is so simple, how can anyone disagree with it?
Well, for starters, there is an old adage: you can’t get something for nothing. There is another one that goes along the idea of “you get what you pay for,” but you get the gist. Healthcare is not an inexpensive proposition. In fact, it is one of the costliest expenses anyone can face. Child birth for example costs in excess of $6000 just for the hospital bill alone. This doesn’t include the sundry items that go along with it or the cost for complications with the delivery. A C-section can double that charge. Doctors charge for their time as well. Doctors earn on average anywhere from $200,000 to $700,000 a year depending on their specialty and expertise.
Do they deserve it? That is a blog for another time, but the short answer is yes. You go through eight or more years of college and then work almost 24 hours a day as an intern while learning your job and see how much you charge for your time. But they do not always get what they earn. Insurance companies force doctors to accept less than the amount they bill. It is like the Wal-Mart mentality. Buy in bulk and you can name your price. Insurance companies have thousands of clients that need care. If the doctor wants these patients, they have to accept a smaller amount per patient in order to get the volume.
This is where insurance companies get their power. We hire them to pay our medical bills for us. They negotiate a rate that is much more affordable than we would otherwise have to pay. But the trick is that they don’t actually pay a whole lot when you average it out over their client list. Only 40 percent of us will visit a hospital or ER this year, yet we all pay our insurance premiums. Some of us go a lifetime never stepping foot in a health care facility. This is money the insurance company banks. It is straight profit. They don’t actually want anyone to go to the hospital so they can bank more premiums without having to actually pay a medical bill. They also deny coverage whenever they can to maximize their profit. This is where the problem begins. They are a business after all, and businesses exist to make money.
People hate being told “no” to medical care. Seeing someone ill or dying is a tragedy that no one wants to bear and it is made worse when they do not have medical coverage. Very few people can afford medical care on their own. Why? See paragraph one. Why is it so expensive? Education is not cheap, nor is research and development of procedures, equipment and medicine. Yet society is under the impression that everyone is entitled to medical care, no matter if they can pay for it. It is like they think it is a basic human right.
Nothing is farther from the truth. Medical care is expensive and rightfully so. Before the advent of modern medicine, people died by the thousands from things we today cure with a pill. A doctor is a businessman who performs a service. He or she deserves some compensation for their service. Should we expect that they render their service with no pay? Should we expect a plumber to fix our pipes when we cannot afford to pay them? Of course not. If we think the plumber charges too much, we can shop around for a cheaper one. You can do the same with your doctor. It’s economics. Sure it is tragic when someone dies, but there is no government regulation or law guaranteeing a stop to death. Nor is there a guarantee to good healthcare. Nowhere in the constitution does it say all citizens are entitled to health care.
The liberals think otherwise. They are under the impression that the first order of business is ensuring that everyone has medical coverage. This seems like a good idea on the surface. Sickness and death are bad things and we as a society should do what we can to mitigate bad things. But since health care is so expensive, how do we provide care to those with no money? Who shall pay for it? You? Me? That is the root of the debate. Since liberals think that the government coffers are filled with an endless supply of money, they love the idea of putting health care on the government dole. Our tax dollars will pay for every person to have health care, no matter that in reality less than 17% of US citizens are uninsured or underinsured. That 17% will drive our taxes up and raise the cost of healthcare for everyone.
What can the government do? Force doctors to charge less? That will drive people out of the medical profession. No one will want to make the investment in education if they are looking at a federally mandated capped income. Those who do become doctors will be the equivalent of the lowest bidders for a contract; probably not the best people to be poking around inside you. How about if the government just monitors the health care plan? That would be worse than an HMO. The federal government would be denying treatments left and right and letting people wither and die while they or their family file appeals.
Should everyone have access to health care? Sure. Should someone pay for health care? Of course. More than 83% of us have health insurance the majority of which is paid for in most cases by our employers. Simple idea that: want insurance—get a job. No job? No insurance. Sad situation to be in to be sure, but just because you get laid off or fired doesn’t mean that everyone else should pay for your health care. Consider it motivation to get a new job, or a better job.
Is the health care system in our country perfect? Far from it. Does it need reform? Sure, why not; let’s make some changes. Health care should be a simple and inexpensive matter. No matter your illness, you should expect the proper treatment, with affordable care and the finest doctors…in a perfect world. We cannot just say that the federal government is the best entity to manage our health care and be done with it. Medicine is and should remain a private business. This ensures that doctors and patients can continue to expect privacy in their dealings and that the doctors can make their assessments and diagnosis and treatment plans without government interference. Government has no business in the treatment room. Remember, this is the same government that pays $700 for a toilet seat. They cannot make our healthcare system work any better than it is now. They will probably make it worse.
This matter is before congress now. Many senators and representatives have spoken out against this bill, but the proponents still insist on hammering it home to get it passed before Christmas. In my next blog, I will discuss these flip floppers. Stay tuned.