Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Healthcare Series

I've been doing a lot of research for a post on healthcare since it is a big current events topic and, most likely, upcoming legislation.  The subject is so huge that SlamMaster Tom has graciously given me the go-ahead to do a series of posts to do justice to this immense issue.  Thanks Tom!  This installment is an overview of what is to come. 

First of all, let me begin by making a distinction between health care, health insurance, and the cost of it all.  Today, we are always hearing that we have a healthcare 'crisis'.  I don't believe that we really have a health care crisis.  Even if you don't have insurance, you won't be turned away.  You might wait until you are really sick, which isn't good, but you'll get care.  So, do we have a health insurance crisis?  While there are 47 million people with no insurance and many of them do need it, I will be laying out arguments that we actually need a net reduction in the amount of health insurance overall.  That leaves us with cost.  Herein lies the true crisis.  I will examine many reasons why the cost has gotten so out of control.  Here's a teaser; state insurance mandates, malpractice insurance and it's progeny 'defensive medicine', and our over-reliance on health insurance.  Sound intriguing?  Get your keyboard warmed up for the controversy!  

Another thing we hear a lot these days is that we are the only developed country in the world which does not have a public healthcare system. Consequently, we have started to believe that the grass must be greener over there.  England, Canada, France, Cuba, and others all have a mythological status of providing 'better' healthcare.  I disagree and I will show you why.

Do you think the free market is responsible for this mess?  That the greedy insurance companies and doctors have caused these skyrocketing costs?  I will do my best to prove that, while the insurance is a racket, govt intervention and the sycophantic relationship between the insurance companies and govt, have negated the possibility of the free market even existing,  much less being the culprit.  I will also try to convince you that open competition between doctors and providers would be a positive improvement over today's heavily regulated system.

Speaking of competition, not that countering likely methods to be employed by legislation is what I want to focus on, but, for the President or anyone else to state that a public option is just more competition in the marketplace is an absolute fallacy.  Let's say you go to Vegas to play poker.  After you've been playing a while, all of the sudden, the house tells you that it can change or add any rule any time it wants to.  Obviously, any changes or additions are going to benefit the house.  How long do you think you're going to keep playing?  So, the 'house' is the govt with their 'public option' and 'you' are an insurance company.  How long until the govt is the only one left at the table...?     

Here is something that you almost never hear anywhere else, health insurance must be unhinged from employment.  It doesn't work that way with any other kind of insurance.  Do you even have any idea how it got like that?  Don't worry, I will fill you in on the details.  But here is a hint, govt intervention and tax favoritism toward some insurance companies and employers, leaving the individual at a disadvantage.

Ok, so that's all nice to know, but now what?  I will share some creative, innovative, and out of the box ideas that I believe would be much more preferable to probably anything our out-of-touch, self-serving, difficult-to-unseat-incumbents will come up with, then not read, then vote on...!
What's best for you?  What's best for me?  Do you know what's best for me?  Do you think the same things are best for both of us?  For all of us?  Hm... how can the govt know what one thing is the best for all of us?

If anyone has a specific thing you would like for me to address, please make your suggestion in a comment and I will try to work it in.  If we really put our heads to it, the Slam Community could probably figure this problem out.  And do it in a way that makes more sense than a further concentration of centralized govt power over us.

We know that the President wants something on his desk before the upcoming summer break.  If any Slammer sees or comes up with an idea that really makes sense to you, please find out who your representation is, contact them, and tell them about it!  You have a US Congressional Representative and two US Senators, find them, tell them.  It's our civic duty as Americans to be involved.  These people work for us, tell them how to do their job and represent you.

About Me

Welcome, I'm Tom Long.

I've loved politics ever since I was a kid. Mom and Dad always talked politics at the dinner table (and at breakfast and lunch too). Growing up, I was able to get a strong sense of both sides of our democracy, having both a liberal and conservative parent each.

They may not have been Carville and Matlin, but they knew their stuff and they both certainly always made themselves heard. From them I not only learned what it was to be a conservative or a liberal, but also that in order to get anything accomplished conservatives and liberals had to work together.

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