Sunday, August 30, 2009

Twice the price

Today I was listening to a town hall meeting with a Democratic Rep and Howard Dean today.
The crowd seemed more or less a mixture of views.

They originally booked it for a place that held 500 people. They switched to a place that held 3,000 people, and still, not everyone got in. Anyone remember when you couldn't get 20 people to a town hall meeting???

A couple of points I'd like to bring out that they discussed.

1. Out of pocket expenses, under the House Bill 3200, will be limited to $5,000 per person or $10,000 for a family. So not only will I NOT be able to keep my insurance plan that I am VERY happy with, I will have the pleasure of paying TWICE the amount I currently pay. Thats a SWEET deal if you ask me!

2. President Obama has made insurance companies the "enemy" in this debate after realizing that "health care reform" didn't poll well because most people are happy with their health care. Yet, the insurance industry SUPPORTS the reform! Thinking people will ask WHY? It is because the insurance industry is looking at additional premiums from the government to insure 47 million more people.

3. Again today they tried to tell the people that this plan is just like Medicaid/Medicare or the Federal Health Care Plans for Federal employees. If thats so true, why not put everyone in it? Or why not just sign everyone up for the Federal Employee plan. Think of all of the savings to be made from not having 3 or 4 separate bureaucracies to administer health care! If its good enough for the American People, why is it not good enough for Federal Employees and the rest of the government? Because they wouldn't stand for it.

It was nice to see how popular Howard Dean is these days......

Some other broader points to consider:

1. We do have a shortage of doctors, esp primary care, in this country. Who, exactly, is going to care for these other 47 million people?

2. The claim is made that illegals will not be covered. But does the bill say that anywhere? Does it even address the issue at all? NOPE. This bill is, even at 1,100 pages, written very broad, and vague. No doubt, somewhere down the road, an un elected government bureaucracy somewhere, will determine that illegals should be covered. Then it will be too late.

3. Nowhere does this bill address TORT REFORM! Not in the least. Not even mentioned.
Just because we have Doctors, who we are short on, closing their doors because they can't afford malpractice premiums, doesn't mean we need tort reform! Nope, not even a little bit of it!

Now for an analogy...of sorts. Your mileage may vary.

I bought a bird feeder the other day. This bird feeder represents the "health care system". The birds, of course, are "health care consumers". The bird seed is "health care".

Now this is a pretty big bird feeder. It holds a lot of seeds. There are also many, many birds around here.

so I go and fill up my bird feeder with seed and hang it in a place to give birds easy access to the feeder. Then I sit in my chair and watch the birds eating the seeds and think to myself, "this is great".

So I come back the next day and my feeder is "EMPTY". I think back, yes I did just fill it up yesterday. So I fill it up again. The next day, again its empty.

So I try to figure out how to fix this problem. What to do?I go out and buy another bird feeder! I fill both of them to the very top. I think to myself, problem solved.
Since it is now beer:30 I dutifully crack one open and watch the birds eating away, thinking to myself that I should be good for a few days now!

In the morning, BOTH feeders are EMPTY!

After purchasing another feeder, plus one of those peanut butter type feeder, I think to myself, "This must fix the problem!"

I get up the next day to find ALL of the feeders EMPTY!

I have concluded that one of two things will happen:
1. I will go broke buying birds seed
2. I will have to start rationing the bird seed.

Which do you think I chose? More importantly, when faced with this decision, which do you think the government will choose? I guessing that, like me, they will choose the latter over the former.

While its true that everything in our economic system is rationed in some form or another, usually by price, very little is rationed by the government.
That is as it should be.

People who want to believe that we can have unlimited health care for everyone, for everyone, need to rethink that. It is not possible.

Mis information from President Obama:
1. You can keep your current insurance. NOT true. I won't be able to and I'm VERY happy with my insurance.

2. No health care rationing. Not true. Economics 101 should be enough to convince anyone that this is just not possible. Even today in this country, health care is rationed. But it NOT rationed in the way that other countries with "universal health care" ration it.

Dr Rawlins, who head the NICE in England said:

“be fair to all patients in the National Health Service (NHS), not just patients with macular degeneration or breast cancer or renal cancer. If we spend a lot of money on a few patients, we have less money to spend on everyone else. We are not trying to be unkind or cruel. We are trying to look after everybody.”

That is the truth of rationing in England. The problem is that there never has been, nor will there ever be enough money to provide unlimited health care to all people.
The only conclusion is that it will, in some form or another be limited.

England budgeted 6 billion dollars to build IT infrastructure to run their health system. It costs are now estimated at 30 billion and rising.
This goes to show how the government, theirs and ours, are often way off on the costs associated with its actions.



Lauren said...

I've been trying recently to figure out the difference between public taxpayer-bought education (k-12) and public, taxpayer-bought healthcare. Both have (or will/may have) flaws both in spending and results, and both are a public service that a libertarian could argue are unnecessary excesses of large government. However...

Through government, the taxpayers now give all children a free education UP TO 12th grade, and though admittedly flawed in many ways, I doubt you'll find a whole lot of people who think the US should be without public education. If you want more than that (ie college) then you get to pay for it with money - which not all people have.

England's healthcare system, interestingly, is similar to our public education system. The taxpayers, through the government, pay for all people to receive a certain (and sometimes limited) amount of healthcare for "free." For additional money out of pocket or paid to a special high-end insurance company, you get extra care - including procedures that the public option "rations."

Canada's healthcare is totally different than the UK - in Canada, it's actually against the law to pay for healthcare beyond what the public option offers. That seems in some ways like saying that you can have k-12 education for free, but it's against the law to seek out higher education in your own country. (I know the arguments for this system actually, but I'm sticking with my metaphor anyways lol).

Right now, when I try to translate the US's healthcare system into public education, it seems like NOBODY has a "right" to be given the opportunity to learn to read or do basic math. If there's someone in your life to teach it to you or your family has enough money to pay for a private school, good. If not, looks like you're going to be illiterate and unable to do basic math like balancing a checkbook, and you'll probably be broke and undereducated for your entire life. Which is something that I know some people would argue in favor of. I wouldn't be one of those people.

Anyhow, I feel like I'm starting to ramble. But the education/healthcare metaphor has been on my mind recently, and I don't really have anyone else to bounce it off of. I'm not saying that England's system is the way to go, or that I support the Congress or Senate's current bills (FYI I don't like the current bills for a multitude of reasons, including, as you mentioned, the fact that they don't even MENTION tort reform), or anything like that. Shoot, I really don't know what the "answer" is to all of this healthcare stuff. But I do think that the debate - when our leaders and the people who vote for them actually talk intelligently and clearly about it - is healthy, and I enjoy thinking about the problem in general.

You brought up a lot of other good points in your post that I agree with, by the way... I don't mean to go off on a tangent. Like I said though, I don't really have anyone else with a different point of view to bounce some of my harebrained ideas off of. If you have time to humor me on this one, I'd enjoy hearing what you think. If not, I totally understand. :-) I swear I'm not trying to antagonize you... I just like discussing things with people who don't necessarily agree with everything I think.

Rob said...

I didn't know that much would fit in a comment :)
Essentially you are asking, I think, why is health care any different that k-12 public education? Neither are "right" as outined in the bill of rights. Education is not perfect, and it is unlikely that health care reform,a public option or a single payer system would be perfect either.

That is a very interesting question actually. One that I haven't given a great deal of thought to.

Off the top of my head I would first point out that I would be all in favor of doing away with the U.S. Dept. of Education. But that is another issue.

Your analogy works for the most part but I think it has failed to consider a few things:

1. We already have a health care system that roughly 80% of Americans are happy with.

2. Education, for the most part, is a state/local issue. Yes the federal government is involved in education, but for the most part I would call it meddeling with education. In 04-05 the Federal Government supplied ony 8% of education funds. The rest were paid by state and local governments.

3. While an education is not addressed in the U.S. constitution, it is addressed in many state laws and constitutions.

I very much enjoy discussing issues with people who don't agree with everything I think. I keeps you sharp! Sometimes you even learn something.

I'll have to give it some more thought and I'll make a blog post on your question. It is a very interesting one indeed!

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