The Grim Assessment of Socialized Medicine
by Bridget Geegan Blanton
The high cost of health care can be traced back directly to governmental manipulation of the free market system. Soon after the 1965 enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, it was clear that the cost-plus payment system dramatically expanded the entire scope of healthcare. Consumers of Medicare/Medicaid over-utilized the healthcare system which affected both pricing and volume of services. The creation of artificial demand in conjunction with unprincipled free market manipulation placed a crushing burden on the system. A warning from economists at the time predicted this consequence yet the warning went unheeded. In response to unbridled demand on the system, medical insurance companies in the private sector increased premiums and passed the buck onto consumers.
In an attempt to displace responsibility for creating a spike in unwarranted demand, the government further manipulated the market by replacing the cost-plus system with cost-containment and cost-shifting measures. Cost-containment resulted in set prices for medical services that do not reflect inflationary burdens on the medical care facilities. Essentially, it is unlawful to charge what is not dictated by the state for medical procedures, even if it means that a facility loses money when treating patients. If a facility can't meet its payroll, it can't keep the doors open. While Medicare/Medicaid pay out less, costs continue to increase which has resulted in a focus on cost-shifting measures. Hospitals shift the loss associated with cost-containment by charging higher prices to private payers just to stay on top of their operating costs.
Along with destroying the free market system, the government has dumped an onerous tax burden on the shoulders of Americans. To trust the government to run a socialized medical system in this country is paramount to a complete avoidance of reality. To date, Congress has failed to address the looming fiscal disaster of fixed entitlements such as social security and we’re supposed to trust them to run nation-wide medical care?
Liberal Democrats are notorious for lacking any known skill set in the field of fiscal management. Their approach to a budget seems loosely based on the economics of a drug deal in the park. First, they support their power fix by paying off campaign backers with tax dollar funded projects favoring special interest groups. From there, these same power obsessed elites succeed in getting their voting bloc all strung out on addictive entitlements. Need proof? The fact that the state of California is about to fiscally implode showcases a complete lack of responsibility by Democrat legislators who dangerously enable Labor and their addiction to fantasy-based pension plans. They’re looting California to support their habit. Their addiction will kill California’s solvency. Can’t you smell that smell? The smell of death is all around you. Furthermore, if the government wasn't actively involved in confiscating nearly half of our annual income, medical care would be a manageable necessity of life. In light of all this fiscal mismanagement, Democrat Presidential candidates spent the summer touting socialized medicine plans; wrongly describing this inefficient, gargantuan bureaucracy as 'caring and compassionate'.
The description of 'caring and compassionate' never comes to mind once the true nature of socialized medicine is exposed. It is ‘We the People’ who have always been caring and compassionate and not the state. For over one hundred years, prior to governmental interference in medicine, our citizenry organized and donated funds to take care of those among us who were unable to provide for their own care. Furthermore, the medical profession itself has always been generous in aiding the indigent. It goes without saying that a safety net for the poorest among us will always be in place, but that program is not what is being debated here.
Consider this nightmare, courtesy of the Canadian healthcare system. Canadian citizen, Lindsay McCreith suffering from seizures and headaches saw his family physician in January of 2006 and was suspected of having a brain tumor. His MRI was scheduled for 4 1/2 months later. The man and his wife wanted to pay privately to have the MRI done immediately, but private payer healthcare is outlawed in Canada. In desperation, the McCreiths contacted a private medicine broker on February 2, 2006. On February 3, they flew to Buffalo, NY and had the MRI done. It was determined the Mr. McCreith had a cancerous Grade 2 Astrocytoma.
With MRI results in hand, the McCreiths returned to the Canadian family doctor and a neurosurgery appointment was scheduled for 8 months down the road. People with cancerous brain tumors don't have 8 months to wait. The McCreiths contacted their broker, Rick Baker and neurosurgery was scheduled in Buffalo, NY within the week. McCreith filed a re-payment claim with the government of Ontario, Canada and was turned down flat because he did not have permission to go outside of the country to save his life. Broker, Rick Baker states that they are willing to go all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court to fight this case. In an effort to warn Americans about socialized health care, Canadian film maker, Stuart Browning produced a film about the Mr. McCreith’s experience. Browning finds it “ironic that while the Canadian government's monopoly on health is slowly crumbling in the face of widespread suffering, liberal Democrats in the U.S. are pushing to adopt a system much like the one which has failed so miserably in Canada"
Congressional Democrats have been less than forthcoming to the American people about the plan they are trying to fast-track through Congress. If we find ourselves in a single payer system, enrollment in the government-run health alliance will not be a choice. Congressional Democrats pushing the plan adhere to the collectivist ideology that completely disregards the rights of the individual. We would be subject to government 'gatekeepers' who will decide the extent of care that people would receive. Rationing is an inevitable consequence of socialized medicine, which translates to a bureaucratic power to deny treatment if you are too old or too sick.
Congress aims to finance the plan through a new payroll tax that can be raised at will. Economists have determined that the new payroll tax will result in the loss of nearly 2 million jobs. All doctors will be forced to join the newly appointed governmental health networks. Bureaucrats will dictate what procedures they will be allowed to use - under penalty of fines, asset confiscation and imprisonment. You can also forget the freedom to choose your own doctor. The specialties doctors practice will also be dictated by the state. Incremental control of the entire medical industry is reflected by a proposal where 50 percent of new doctors will be forced to train in primary care rather than pursue a specific specialty field of their choice. In addition, the state will decide who gets admitted to medical school, as well as the curriculum taught.
Here's what you'll get: endless, waiting lines, dirty, over-crowded clinics, over-worked, hostile doctors and indifferent support staff. If that's not enough, you can also expect frequent shortages of even the most basic drugs and medications. Oh, by the way, if your government mandated health care results in chronic injury or even death, you'll have scant legal recourse as the government will be protected from your lawsuit under sovereign immunity.
America's medical system is the most advanced in the world. The industry's focus on research and development has brought forth amazing, technological advances. Under the draconian, socialized medicine debacle proposed by Congress, even research and development will be taken over by the government. Imagine the pork that legislators will slap on any medical research bill trying to make its way through Congress!
It’s getting to the point where the government has all but squeezed us dry of tax dollars. Clinton was dispatched by Obama to prostrate herself at the feet of the Chi-Coms to beg for money to pay for their socialist nightmare scenario. This tainted money supply coupled with fiscally destructive monetary policy has all but finished off the American automobile industry. Labor just about beat it to death with utopian pension deals and what was the result? We’ll be importing cars from China. How long before the Chi-Coms own more of America than Americans? They’re taking over this country without firing a shot. Will China somehow play a role in an American socialized medical system? Will our pharmaceutical companies be the next industry on the Statist chopping block? Maybe there’s a twisted silver lining to this surreal disaster waiting to happen. Ingesting Chinese manufactured pharmaceuticals while driving Chinese cars will kill us long before the socialized medical system can.
Have you noticed how quiet the health care insurance companies have been as the debate rages on? They’re keeping a low profile because they’ve already been promised a seat at the tax dollar feast. For the true American, freedom is as necessary as air and there is no dispute among those who value their liberty that the solution can be found in free market capitalism. Instead of jumping off the abyss into still another unfunded entitlement, let’s permit the free market to work. Health Care Insurance providers have earned their bad reputation. Their greed rivals the greed exhibited by ambulance chasing trial attorneys and together they’ve burdened the free market with skyrocketing costs. If there ever was a case for regulation, insurance providers and trial attorneys have proven over and over that they need to be cut down to size. If anything, we might want to cut out the middle man or at least introduce health care insurance companies to the free market. Most importantly, we must fight against further governmental encroachment; we can’t give them a single inch. The solution is to permit the free market to compete for our health care dollars.
'Whispers on the Wind'
by Bridget Geegan Blanton
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