Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My health care rant...

This photo taken on a recent hike on an abandoned railroad bed... all the snow and ice is now gone.

I was going to refrain saying anything about our current health care debate. Most springs, I’m caught up in Carolina basketball. The won their first NCAA tournament the year I was born and since then there have been very few times they’ve not been in the tournament (truthfully, there’s been few times they’ve not been in the sweet 16). But this year, it’s another story. So, without basketball to divert my attention, there’s politics. I’ve been sick of the health care debate and wasn’t going to say anything more about it, but then late Sunday night, our kid (I know he’s in his 30s, but he looks to be 16) representative in the State House posted this comment on Facebook:

Watch the news tomorrow for a petition drive to preserve your right to control your healthcare.

I was furious. Who controls their own health care now? If you’re over 65, the government already controls it via Medicare. And if you’re under 65, the insurance companies control it (or your employer who chooses the insurance company). And if you don’t have any insurance, you’re screwed and at the mercy of waiting till your sick enough that they have to treat you and by then it may be too late. Tough luck! What is it with this illusion that we’re in control? Maybe, if your net worth is in the 10s of millions, you can control your own health care (provided you have no more than one or two catastrophic illness). Even then, there are some diseases that you can’t beat with all the money in the world. We’re mortal, after all.

On Monday morning, our sophomoric representative followed up with this tweet on Facebook:

Under this bill, the IRS will hire 16,500 new employees to enforce it. Be very afraid.

What is this? Several folks asked him where he got this information, but he never responded with a citation, only with more red-herring rhetoric. Again, my blood pressure rose. I hate scare tactics, especially when employed by politicians.
I know this bill is less than ideal. But something has to be done. We pay so much more than other developed countries for health care and we have nothing to show for it. (Remember the We’re #37 song?) We’re not getting what we are paying for. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will magically changed with this bill, but I do hope it is a start. Yet, I’m not holding my breath.
Yes, I’m glad it passed. But I’m not so excited that I’m waving flags and setting off bottle rockets or spitting on Republican congressmen and shouting racial or hateful slurs at them.
Personally, I am disappointed with the Democrats. If the Republicans didn’t want to play ball and they had to go on it alone, why didn’t they go for a major overhaul including the single-payer option. Yeah, it might kill competition, but that’s assuming there is competition to be killed. I’ve yet to be convinced there is competition in our health care delivery system. Maybe there is a little competition on the family Doctor level (provided you don’t have restrictive insurance), but the more serious the need, the less competition you’ll find.
From what I’ve heard about this bill, it sounds like they’re trying to put enough Band-Aids on it to continue to allow us to pay through our noses for health care. Yeah, more people will be insured, but the cost will continue to escalate. I’ve recently heard too much rhetoric about how government has never run anything well, and that may be so, but lately we’ve seen a lot of examples of the private sector not running things well. This is especially true for big private sector firms. And health care is at the top of the list.
One final thing… As I am making everyone mad, I might as well go for broke. I’m glad they have taken abortions off the table and are not going to provide federal funds from them. That’s a compromise! But in doing so, why didn’t the pro-lifers get behind the bill? After all, what is more pro-life than having more people insured? Shouldn’t pro-lifers want pregnant women to have health care and the ability to get medical care earlier, making sure that her child is healthy? Just as most so-called pro-lifers are also mostly pro-death penalty, from what it sounds like to me, most are also against health care reform. This dichotomy is one of the great ironies of life and the answer is probably found in their political philosophy driving their theology and not the other way around.


  1. The consequences of this bill fiscally will be horrendous. Further, the consequences to the economy, in the form of lay-offs, reduced salaries or diminished benefits, plus higher costs for goods and services will be seen, sooner rather than later. Already, my phone's been ringing with my small and medium business clients making appointments to discuss this, thereby spending money on me that they could be spending on something else.

    There may be answers but government control is never the best one.

  2. Anytime you have a large entity that is not running a mandatory profit center and has access to unlimited capital, i.e. government, they are not going to run any program in a responsible manner. I would make a case that the large private sector examples you were alluding to are on Wall Street and that they too, fall into this category since they are bailed out if they lose and have access to unlimited capital, i.e. retirement plans across the nation.

    What I can't fathom is that why if we can't think of one business model that acts responsibly other than small companies with a finite limit on available capital, why we continue to put our faith and more money everyday into them?

    Finally, would we stand for the government mandating that everyone must by a GM vehicle this year because the GM business model is broke and it is costing us lots of money with their financial wellbeing and because millions of people can't afford cars? Substitute healthcare insurance in for GM and why does the answer change?

  3. In India, health care is non-existent unless you are rich!

  4. Sage
    Well buddy now that you've managed to rattle nearly everyone's cage, I'm going to say good job and keep silent. I do sorta like your last line about 'political philosophy driving their theology.' I agree with you this would be a better world if our political philosophy were driven by our theology; only then like politics the discussion would be just as passionate and divisive I'm afraid.

  5. I'm a little torn. I wish Obama had stuck to his original plan, no matter if it worked or not, rather than catering to everyone. On the other hand, I think everyone that loses a job should still have some kind of coverage.

    When this fact was brought up a few months back with a diehard Republican coworker, she said that there was health care for everyone in the form of Medicaid so I looked it up but that's not for everyone. Big A couldn't get it as a male who doesn't have a child. He would have to go onto my benefits which means 5x more out of my pay check a month. He was up until about 6 months ago and we couldn't afford it so I had to drop him. I'm hoping he can get a job soon with some kind of coverage...not that he believes in doctors but just for my own peace of mind.

  6. I was wondering how you were doing with Carolina playing in that other tournament this year.

    Good rant. You're right, insurance companies already choose which doctors/hospitals we can use in a lot of cases. Not to mention deciding whether or not an MRI is necessary.

    I can't stand the scare tactics, either!

  7. Randall, our current health care delivery system is also a burden on the eocnomy... Furthermore, this bill will cost about what it cost to bail out AIG, which was the first bank bail out.

    Ed, I agree that small companies are better than larger ones at being more responsible, but how do we encourage companies to stay small and not become "too big to fail?"

    Gautami, if something isn't done to stem the costs, it'll soon be this way in America.

    Sleepy Head, you're probably right about divisions created either way

    Murf, Sorry to hear about Big A situation. That seems to be more common than a lot of people realize.

    Bone, this is a humbling season! I can't wait for baseball.

  8. This past year has shown me that I do not belong in this America.

    This destruction and obstruction of justice and responsibility that is forming and fomenting the jack boots of eras gone by is not my America. It is not the America that 1 million Americans died to fight off the Nazis and imperialist Japanese 60 years ago only to see that same thought take root in the land they died to preserve.

    This is not my America, if there is no room for the impoverished, the hurt, the tired, the pitiable, this is not my America.

    No this is no longer my America. Soon this is soon going to be the bullet in the brain of them who dissent to their Amerkkka. Oh yes they can and will. And those who dare to disagree will find themselves dead to the new Amerikkkan reality of lies half truths and government by religious zealots as extreme as any Wahhabi Imam.

  9. Sage - We have to vote in people who believe in a small government, which means kicking everyone in DC to the curb, and take our money out of the Wall Street giants and putting it in local banks. It is hard to do but little worth doing is easy.

  10. It passed, I'm ecstatic!

    Boo-hiss to all the naysayers!!

    btw sage... loved your *rant*.

  11. I retired early. I am glad they decided that I could get insurance for pre-existent conditions.. You have to understand people who have paid nothing have been treated, and people who paid their whole lives are being charged $1200+ a month for two people on COBRA..and will be dropped after 18 months.. a health care package that treats people who paid in all their lives might not be the worst thing that ever happened..Go sit in your emergency ward for a few hours..Illegal aliens, homeless, unemployed all get treated..who do you think pays for it?

  12. It's hard to go there right now, but I welcome your sharing your thoughts. I don't support the new legislation however, and join those supporting the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act; among 38 +/- states seeking measures to prevent federal mandates in terms of constitutionality, and protection of individual rights. I share R.S.'s concerns for the nation's future.

    That being said, this will always be my America. We live in a great country, and I cherish the opportunities and freedom we have. I hope our legislators can find some way to work together more effectively.

  13. What government control? Every time somebody says that I want to answer, yes, the government will regulate insurance companies, but control them?

    Pre-existing conditions clauses don't end for another four years. That's probably the gist of the bill aside from insuring those who aren't and because insurance companies aren't ready, people will continue to go broke

    We pay for the uninsured now and probably the cost is much higher as people don't go to doctors but emergency rooms--kidney problems become transplants and so on

    Nobody is taking that into account

    Under the Goldberg Kelly law all people who go to emergency rooms must be seen. that's been law since the late 60's I believe and that costs so much more than a doctor's visit yet nobody is saying "don't let people go to emergency rooms" nor should they. They want to deny them preventative care that will keep them out of emergency rooms. I know I'm repeating myself and am about four posts late but it's such an obvious important point and yet....

    In the interests of full disclosure I lose from this bill as I have a pre existing condition and insurance. I can still go bankrupt and live in fear of getting sick. Yet I support the bill, imperfect as it is. It's a beginning

  14. After reading this, I find it hilarious that the ad at the bottom of the page that popped up for me is "No ObamaCare in Wisconsin!"

    I think all politians suck. That's my final vote. They're all in for the next vote, not for the people.