My concern with Obamacare
I have been told that I am a little cynical when it comes to my view on our new national healthcare or ObamaCare. I of course disagree. I think that most of Americans have a tendency to not think very deeply on issues. I’m sorry; I know this is not the best way to start an article or start a thread in a forum but I think there is a need for some things to be reexamined.
I have had discussions with many of my peers in the medical field on the issue. I recall one in particular with a respiratory therapist friend of mine (lets call him Jim). Jim is on the left, the way left, which is ok….to each his own, but his opinion is that healthcare should be free to everyone. Nice thought, or more precisely a nice feeling! I don’t disagree with him actually, but he is not really being realistic in position. I feel he has not thought the issue through.
Jim states that he feels he is more of a socialist in his views. He says that healthcare is so important that he believes that the government should cover it. He feels that everyone should be able to be seen by a doctor and get medical care. My position is slightly different. Again, I don’t necessarily disagree with him in that we should provide healthcare for those that require it. But is that not what we already do? In the children’s hospital that I work at, we have over 50% of our visits covered by Medicaid and/or are freebies provided by the hospital. Medicaid of coarse is government funded. Where I work- very few patients have private insurances. All not for profit hospitals have to have a certain percentage of care that they give away. What do you think would happen to the price of an I-phone if 30% had to be given away free?
Another point that I make with Jim is this: If what the government covers for ALL its citizens is based on its importance, answer me this……. Which is more important medical care or food? How about housing vs healthcare? Clothing? The list could go on and on. A lack of any of these things will kill most people before the loss of healthcare. Again, I am not saying healthcare is not important, just why then not cover the other items listed above for everyone in the country? He ignores this question.
I ask Jim to point out one instance where the government, with all its bureaucracy, has been able to provide a product or service cheaper than the private sector. Jails, schools mail service, transportation – all of these are being done by private sectors and are being done less expensively.
What government program is NOT going broke, or at least has a budget that would be commensurate with a private company doing the same job? The postal service, social security (it would be on its way out but they keep pushing back the date you can retire, now even several STATES are on the verge of bankruptcy. This is not an important point for Jim. Sometimes private companies do need regulation by government because they can get greedy. But if people don’t like a private company because of price or service they leave and the company goes under. When the government is the only option, you have no option.
I tell Jim that the initial “estimations” on the cost of ObamaCare have already gone significantly up. (even before it started), and I ask him if he is willing to increase his taxes in order to provide for the national healthcare coverage he states” “we can increase the taxes on the rich (the others)” The amount gained by increasing such taxes on the rich is nowhere near enough to cover the Trillions needed to pay for the healthcare program. Look overseas to see how most of their programs are funded. Those countries tax rates are often 10-20% higher on the average citizen than the US and many of those programs are headed for financial disaster anyway. Plus their coverage is regulated – you have to stay with what they tell you that you can have. One of my nursing friends from Canada has a sister that had to fly to Greece because Canada will not allow her to go outside the national program for a surgery she needs (it was not an option).
Look, everyone knows the price of healthcare needs to be looked at. But the way we are handling it now is not the best way. Don’t you find it interesting that our politicians (a very good percentage of them being lawyers) have not even looked at tort reform? Lawsuits are a huge reason why our healthcare is so high. That is why a hospital charges up to and above $25 for an IV catheter. What do you think you would typically pay a single sewing needle with a plastic sheath on it? Why has there been no legislation at putting limits on lawsuits? They are all lawyers!! A Typical OBGYN physician pays upwards of $170,000-277,000 for malpractice insurance per year. They have to pass that on to their patients to stay in business before they even make an income for themselves!
Lastly, if it is such a great a healthcare program and we all have been mandated to be on it by a our legislatures, why did they write themselves to be the only ones that do not have to abide to the new federal laws and participate in the national healthcare program? That is right, they are keeping their private, (tax paid), insurance program where they can choose who to go to. Plus, their coverage is far superior to the average citizen! “Its good enough for you, but not me” type of thinking from our leaders. Before it made law, Obama himself refused to answer the question if he would be willing to have his family under the nation’s healthcare plan he was pushing for the nation.
Just a few deeper thoughts.