Healthcare Reform

As I write this, President Obama is beginning to speak to the joint session of Congress, promoting his agenda of dramatically increased government control of our healthcare system.

I can barely stand to watch. I now understand what he is and how he works, and what he is doing to the country makes me almost physically ill, so I can barely listen.

The problem is that he is never a leader, never a statesman, never presidential. He is always the manipulator.

It’s not that he lies. A person with narcissistic personality disorder can pass any lie detector test. Reality is what he chooses at any particular time, so he’s not lying. So to speak.

But he is aggressively Marxist, surrounds himself with openly-proclaimed revolutionaries and far-left radicals, and does not waver in his agenda for transforming the country. So it is always about manipulation of those he needs to “redirect”, and I can hardly bear being in his audience.

But what about healthcare reform? Don’t we need it?

If the goal were really to provide more effective and less expensive healthcare, to reduce the cost and availability of health insurance, etc, those are quite achievable. Nothing of what Mr. Obama is promoting will have those results. I have to conclude that those are not his real purpose. Eerily enough, that’s the obvious conclusion about the financial bailouts, the TARP plan, the incredibly expensive Stimulus bill … none of them included either the necessary mechanics or accountability measures to ensure success. Their purpose was clearly not as stated on the surface; rather, massive payoff of supporting interest groups and funding of his support base for future operations seems to be the obvious purpose of those actions: use of public money to ensure personal success in the coming years.

Texas has solved the tort reform issue. Physicians are flooding into the state, so much that the approval process, carrying out due diligence with each applicant, was running six months behind at one point. By capping the amount that can be awarded for “pain and suffering”, Texas allowed the cost of medical malpractice insurance to drop dramatically for healthcare providers, thereby reducing the cost of practicing medicine in Texas and encouraging the establishment of many more medical providers. Isn’t that what we want? More doctors, less cost? If Texas can do it, why can’t Washington figure it out?

What about health insurance? Why is it so expensive?

The answer is not hard. Think about the areas of life where choices are plentiful, costs are continually dropping, quality is high, and everyone who wants to can partake of the benefits. Personal computers, for example. Cell phones. Home appliances. All but the very poorest in America enjoy luxuries of life that place them in the top 1 or 2 percent of the world’s population. What makes that possible?

Freedom. Limited government involvement. Capitalism, which is the freedom of everyone to serve everyone else as well as they can, and be rewarded by their customers with success and growth.

Is that not true with health insurance? Not at all.

In two obvious ways, the federal government drives health insurance cost far higher than it should be, if I understand things correctly.

First, insurance companies are only allowed to offer their products to a limited geography: their own state, for example. So they must be profitable while selling to a restricted area, a limited number of customers.

Secondly, they are required to include all sorts of coverage than any given customer may not want, and therefore would not normally pay for.

I just purchased a new pair of glasses. It was entirely up to me as to the quality of the glass or plastic used for the lenses, the brand and style of the frames, the coatings to be applied, the warranty coverage protecting me against damage of the product, etc. What if that purchase were regulated by the government, because, after all, you must have protection against UV radiation, you must protect your eyes from the wear and tear of high-glare situations, you must have the highest level of safety (bendable frames, unbreakable lenses, etc)? And therefore all those choices were predetermined by regulation from Washington?

The answer is obvious. I would pay hundreds of dollars more for those glasses.

We simply need to let the insurance companies be free to compete across the nation, and to offer the varieties of plans that can be tailored for what each of us need. Just like computers, just like home appliances. If we will do that, the same result will occur: wide variety of choices, low costs, high quality.

It’s not that hard. Less government involvement, not more, produces freedom, choice, affordability, and high quality of products. Every time.

As I write, he says the time for bickering is past, and he is declaring all the things his bill will force providers and insurers to do, and the things that they will not be allowed to do. I guess that means the time for drafting a plan that actually reduces the cost of healthcare and increases its quality is past, and the time for the Democratic majority to drive us over the cliff of socialized medicine has come.

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