Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obama's Enigmatic Health Care Plan: Q & A (continued)

With your indulgence, Marcia, I'd like to continue to answer the question you posed about what I would suggest as an alternative to Obama's multi-billion-dollar insurance company support fund.

As an aside, I would have to say that I object to the way the argument is typically framed. I may be a dinosaur for feeling the way I do, but I don't think the first step in the debate process has been adequately explored - certainly it has not been concluded to my satisfaction. I'm talking about the central question underlying all questioning of the nature of yours - namely, "Is health care a right?". Following this question is the one, "If health care is a right, who is responsible for providing it?". Finally, the question that liberal progressives jump to, as if all of us are agreed on the first propositions: "Since health care is a right, and there are still some uninsured people, what are you going to do about it???".
Question 1: Is health care a right?
Answer 1: Not in the sense in which it is being used. One's health, much like one's fitness, is one's own responsibility. I do believe people should have equal access to health care without regard to their race, gender, etc. But I make no apologies about the fact that health care in the U.S. is a luxury service. Truthfully, what people are wanting is not free rudimentary health care - the kind that 99% of the world would be thrilled to have. What they truly want is free access to all the bells and whistles we've come to expect from our amazingly technological (and therefore amazingly expensive) system. Want a country where everybody has the same stuff? Take your pick. There are hundreds. But just realize that's not what this country has ever been about. The U.S. is a land of opportunity, but is also a land of risk. You may hit it big, or you may lose your butt. That is what we do here. Want a life free of risks and rewards? Try France, Spain, pretty much any of Europe. Just leave my country alone, okay?
Question 2 is similar, so my answer is similar. Since health care is not a right, it is your responsibility. In cases where the individual is incapable, local religious or service organizations, or individuals should step in to help. If help is still unavailable, the government should provide rudimentary services as a last line of defense.
Question 3: What are you going to do about all the uninsured?
Answer 3: I am going to trust that their survival instinct will drive them to discover what 20-thousand generations of their ancestors did - how to survive. Forced to reckon with the consequences and costs of their actions, people won't require additional taxes as some sort of carbon rods on the nuclear reactor of their bad habits. They'll quit smoking crack because they don't want to spend all their money going to the doctor all the time. Or they won't. The choice (and the power) will be theirs.
Don't let all the hype get to you - I work in this business, and I promise you, there are very few people who actually fall through the cracks. Those that do are much more likely to be helped in a meaninful manner by their neighbors, churches, or civic organizations than by the Feds. Shocking as it may seem, we survived and even thrived in this country without Obama's health care plan. We'll make it without it. I promise.

Obama's Enigmatic Health Care Plan: Q & A

I received a comment asking whether I had any better ideas than Obama's. I believe I do, and I've decided to post what I've written so far in response. Pie in the sky? Absolutely. It'll never happen. But it is certainly no more imaginary than the magic solution proposed by the Senator.

marcia said...
And your solution is... ?
September 16, 2008 12:05 PM

mockbadoc said...
I don't know
September 16, 2008 1:31 PM

mockbadoc said...
Just kidding. I have a few ideas.
September 16, 2008 1:31 PM

mockbadoc said...
1. Provide taxpayer-funded health care for children under 18, the TRULY disabled, and the TRULY impoverished.

2. Stop treating the people not enumerated above as idiotic, helpless drones who are either too stupid or too lazy to provide for their own health.

3. Stop punishing those of us who try to do the right thing (by working and making a living and paying our taxes) and rewarding those who don't (by using drugs, committing crimes, being irresponsible, etc.).

Even if you don't believe in the transcendancy of the human spirit or anything so grand as that, surely you can see that human-kind did just fine for tens of thousands of years before the advent of Socialism. Somehow, people survived - and not just the "ultra-wealthy" who make more than $250K/year (fortunately, I and the rest of the primary care docs are hardly in that category). No, even poor people survived. Even so-called "middle-class" people survived. All without a single handout from the federal government. For that matter, without a federal government at all!

4. Obama's plan has no restrictions or increased premiums for people that smoke, use drugs, are overweight, etc. Once again, the responsible are yoked with the irresponsible. Why not make people pass a drug test and a physical examination to gain access to welfare, including Government Obamacare? If I had to take one just so I could get a job and pay taxes, why shouldn't someone have to take one who is basically wanting me to pay for their livelihood, too?

Obama's Enigmatic Health Care Plan

Is there something he's not saying?

I decided to review Senator Barack Obama's health care plan. I already knew that upon election, he plans to "stop the rising of the oceans", but how, I wondered, could he perform his next miracle - the provision of affordable, equitable health care to all Americans without destroying what makes our system great?

I went to the source - www.barackobama.com. I found that his plan consists of three main strategies. Today I will discuss the first of these: "Quality, affordable, portable coverage for all".

I could find nothing new in the Senator's plan, to be honest. I had almost expected to be surprised, I guess. It basically breaks down like this:

1. Everybody will be required to have health insurance of some sort.

2. If you are currently covered, you will be required to keep coverage.

3. If you are not presently covered, your employer will be forced to provide health insurance for you.

4. Your employer (or you) can choose from either the available private health insurance plans, or a new government plan.

5. A new government regulatory agency will be created to make your insurance permanent and portable between jobs.

6. Medicaid and SCHIP will be expanded to cover even more people.

7. Those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP, but not enough to afford either the "affordable" government insurance or their own private policy will be given a federal "subsidy" so that they can buy either a private plan or the new government insurance.

So there you go. Problem solved. You say there are people without insurance? Obama tells them "Let them get insurance". You say, "But not everybody can afford insurance". Obama replies, "Then I will give them money - your money - to buy insurance". What Solomonic wisdom. I should expect nothing less from the candidate so special, even the Presidential seal isn't good enough. But wait just one minute. I have a few criticisms...

1. Is it just me, or is there something a little intrusive about someone "forcing" you to have insurance. I mean, we can't even figure out if we are gutsy enough to "force" parents to have their children vaccinated or "make" Jehovah's Witness parents consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their children. Are we really going to have the gumption to force compliance with this? Keep in mind that if even one single person "opts out" then the entire thing falls like a house of cards. This is compulsory universal coverage we're talking about.

2. If there is any solution to this problem that is less palatable to me than the complete take-over of healthcare by the idiotic Washington beaureaucrats, then it is this plan, which basically allows the already-overindulged insurance industry to gain monopoly access (aided by a government fiat) to each and every American. The government health care plan as Obama envisions it would be administered by insurance companies. Big, fat insurance companies. The exact same insurance companies that Obama trusts so little that he feels it necessary to create yet another giant government agency to watch them to make sure they don't rob us all blind. Talk about putting the foxes in charge of the henhouse.

3. Your employer will be compelled to provide insurance for you. Sounds nice, right? Finally those smug bastards will get their just desserts. Employers. How they disgust us. But wait a second. However distasteful work might be, it is, of course, the way we are able to make a living - at least those of us who are not already completely dependent on the government's handouts and therefore helpless. Our employers make our personal freedom possible in a very real way. What if buying health care drives them out of business? What if they decide it's more economical for them to let me go? Am I worth what they pay me? These are questions that should be asked and answered before we throw the yoke of responsibility squarely on the necks of our employers. After all, Obama is only saying they have to provide health care. He's not saying they have to hire us or keep us on. At least not yet.

But Obama has an answer to this, too. Well, at least a partial, Obamesque answer. He plans to give a tax credit to "small businesses" so that these new expenses won't ruin them. Unfortunately, he has yet to define exactly what constitutes a "small business". One presumes that it means a company with less than $250K/year in income. Anyone making more than this has already been defined as "filthy rich" by Obama, deserving of a large tax increase to pay for their crimes. He also has yet to define how big this tax credit would be.

If I'm an employer, I think I might just opt to save myself the trouble and do everything myself.