Should We or Government Bureaucrats

Determine Our Healthcare Needs  

© O. R. Adams Jr., 2009

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With all of the stir in this country about providing health care for many who are uninsured, we can expect some kind of legislation. The question is will the changes really be beneficial. The truth is that about everyone in this country now who is badly in need of health care is getting it – even illegal emigrants who are clogging the emergency rooms in our hospitals. 

People should closely examine the plan proposed by President Obama which can be found on the Obama website.[1] I hope that whatever happens, a plan such as this is not adopted. The plan claims great benefits for the country in all areas, but a study of the details shows otherwise.

Under this plan the government would micromanage the hospitals and care givers in this country from their record keeping to their costs, and the kind of care they give. Some of it would even regulate drug companies.

It provides: "[The Obama-Biden] plan will work to increase use of generic drugs in the new public plan, Medicare, Medicaid, FEHBP and prohibit large drug companies from keeping generics out of markets." This could destroy the incentive of drug companies to research, develop, and market new drugs. When reasonable patent rights for new drugs are eliminated, there will be no way for companies to recoup their research and development costs, and make the profits required by those who invest in the companies. Certainly, if any drug companies are violating anti-trust laws by controlling prices or marketing, it should be stopped, but this bill could destroy a critically needed incentive. If our drug companies are destroyed, along with many other of our industries in the country, and this area is also taken over by a socialized government, we can expect the same results as in many other socialist countries, such as Cuba and Russia Our companies today are the greatest in the world, including the most advanced European countries. We should not destroy this, too.

Below are some other excerpts from the plan, with my remarks in brackets:

GUARANTEED ELIGIBILITY. Obama and Biden will require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans, regardless of their health status or history, can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.

[This is contrary to the statement that people may keep their existing plans. Many insurance companies would have to either go out of the healthcare business or greatly increase their premiums, which other parts of the program would not allow. This, with other provisions, will effectively force both people and companies into complete government programs and government control. Everything about health care will be dictated by the government; and private initiative, and innovations and lower prices from competition will be destroyed. It would put their prices under government control.]

The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and meet the same standards for quality and efficiency. Insurers would be required to justify an above-average premium increase to the Exchange. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, transparent.

[Apparently the "public plan" would be the government run plan.]

Reform medical malpractice while preserving patient rights. Increasing medical malpractice insurance rates are making it harder for doctors to practice medicine22 and raising the costs of health care for everyone.23 Barack Obama and Joe Biden will strengthen antitrust laws to prevent insurers from overcharging physicians for their malpractice insurance. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will also promote new models for addressing physician errors that improve patient safety, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and reduce the need for malpractice suits.

[Above is for the benefit of trial lawyers and is not badly needed tort reform. A large part of medical costs today is the high cost of malpractice insurance, caused in a large part by outrageous verdicts in some of the lawsuits sanctioned by our courts.]

REQUIRE COVERAGE OF CHILDREN. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will require that all children have health care coverage. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will expand the number of options for young adults to get coverage by allowing young people up to age 25 to continue coverage through their parents’ plans.

[The plan only specifically requires that all children will have coverage, but looking at the whole plan together, it is clear that it is the intention to force all people and all health care providers into the government fold.]

The Obama plan has numerous provisions about "preventive care" that include businesses, schools, families, children, and individuals. It is a setup where requirements could be made about our diets, and those of our children, to avoid such things as "obesity" and other problems, which they consider improper lifestyles. "All parties must do their part, as well as collaborate with one another, to create the conditions and opportunities that will allow and encourage Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles." (Emphasis added) Indeed, these people want the government to have complete control over our lives, businesses, and everything in the country.  

The care that people get will be completely controlled by the government, as will be the providers of all care. Bureaucrats and not doctors and hospitals will decide the kind of care they give, and to whom they give it. The people will have no say in it at all. The only recourse to the people will be to try to elect representatives who "promise" better healthcare, but as in all socialist countries, apathy will set in, their loss of any ability to determine the kind of care they receive will be gone, and many of their other basic freedoms will be removed from them in like manner, including two of their most basic freedoms – their freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. All of these things have happened in our more socialized neighbor to the north, Canada.

Private healthcare givers cannot compete with a "public" plan that will be paid for by taxes, and I have no doubt that this is exactly how many people, such as Obama, plan to eventually put private healthcare providers out of business, and bring all doctors, hospitals, and drug companies under government control. From all standpoints this plan will be an enormous burden on the people today and on future generations.

I believe that the Obama plan would destroy the world's greatest healthcare industry, which is what we presently have in this country. Health care can be provided for those who need it without destroying a great system, and without making so many people dependent on the government for their care.

The following are some thoughts on what I would think should be included in any healthcare system.

In place of government control of prices and kinds of healthcare, there should be competition between, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies and all healthcare providers, as there is now. This lowers prices and gives the consumer a real choice of plans. Private companies should not be run out of business by any "public plan" that is paid for by taxes and accounts only to bureaucrats.

All patients should have to pay something for both their health care and drugs in an amount sufficient to discourage unnecessary consumption of either. This helps prevent the clogging of doctors' offices and hospitals, and helps keep down the prices of needed drugs, without price controls. It reduces waiting time for needed care. This should be done even if the co-payments have to come from welfare, disability, or social security payments. Many private plans do this today, and it works very well. The co-payments also put extra money back into the system.

There are several articles that I would encourage people to read about the effects of socialized medicine on a country. One is The problems of Socialized Health Care.[2] This is a comprehensive compilation of articles and information on various countries that have enacted socialized health care.

Another is Public and Private Competition in Health Care[3] a Forbes article on damage that can be expected to result from a public healthcare system.

The third is a New York Sun article, Competition Solves Health Care,[4] by United States Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. He concludes:

Free-market health care isn't merely a good idea that ought to be attempted; it is the only idea that will work, and it is the only approach that will move us away from the edge of an economic abyss we dare not approach.


[1] http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf

[2] http://www.angelfire.com/pa/sergeman/issues/healthcare/socialized.html

[3] http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/06/private-public-health-opinions-columnists-richard-epstein.html

[4] http://www.nysun.com/opinion/competition-solves-health-care/72610/

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