Thursday, June 21, 2012


In '03, I lost my job and insurance. I had a wife and 3 kids, and took an 87% pay cut. Cobra was out of the question. Our church and friends helped tremendously, and we learned how to live on far less than we thought possible. I can relate to this woman. But... Obamacare did nothing, whatsoever to reduce the cost of anything. All it did was change who pays for it. "Affordable Health Care Act" my butt. Anything is affordable if you use your neighbor's credit card to pay for it. Obamacare is not the answer; it is an icon of the problem: government interference in the economy. There are ways to reduce the cost. One huge one is striking down the laws that force the compartmentalization of insurance. Under the pretense of making sure we don’t get ripped off by insurance companies, the government has made rules that are intrusive and pointless, and add billions of dollars to the cost of insurance. Those costs are passed on to us. These oppressive regulations make it impossible to start up new insurance companies (pronounced “Competition”) without the backing (pronoun- ced “Control”) of government-approved financial institutions. These rules (not laws, because most of them come from appointed bureaucrats, rather than from elected bureaucrats) also strangle creativity and initiative, and require that all insurance companies be pretty much the same. The laws and rules governing malpractice suits and insurance are worse than insane, and contribute nothing to health care. Congress (pronounced “lawyers”) has adamantly refused to even LOOK at this issue. Did you know that if an obstetrician delivers a baby, he is exposed to malpractice suit until that baby is 21 years old? Given that malpractice insurance costs many thousands of dollars per year, the doctor can never retire. His income may stop, but the premiums never do, and unless he has been either incredibly artful at investing his savings or a damned crook who got paid by the government for care he never delivered, he will be penniless long before that last baby lowers the gun held to his head. These laws and rules do not guarantee quality health care; they are pure burden, and the only people who profit from them are the lawyers. Yet do we see government legal care? Psssh! Yeah, right. And I ain’t even gonna go into the cost of tests, labwork, and procedures that are done strictly as CYA’s by doctors who are willing to spend a few thousand of someone else’s dollars to make sure they can say in court, “I did everything possible.” Again, this goes right back to the rules, laws, and lawyers (pronounced “Government.”) Graft is a huge money vacuum. Crooked doctors and crooked government employees skim billions by defrauding the system. This is made possible by the existence of the system, in the first place. There is no way to take all that money from the people who earned it and give it to people who didn’t earn it and expect the latter to only do good with it. Think about it. You have crooks who work for an organization that is devoted to theft, coercion, and bribery, and these crooks hire people to administer your health care. Do you think they are going to look for “sainthood” on the resumes of applicants? The entire edifice is putrid with graft from the very top, and yet some folks have the explicit expectation that if we just give it a little more money and a little more power, it will suddenly be transformed into an honest, caring, benevolent entity that will cuddle and nurture us from cradle to grave. It reminds me of a cartoon I saw years ago, in which a fellow in a lab coat – presumably a scientist of some sort – is standing proudly by a chalk board. On the chalkboard is a complex web of equations and vectors that move from left to right. At the far right side is a circle in which are the words, “At this point, a miracle occurs.” Another scientist is looking at it and says, “I think we might have a problem right here.” My physician told me a few years ago that, on average, it takes him 6 months to get paid by the insurance companies. When he submits a group of claims, it is ignored. When he inquires about it, the companies say they never got it. He resubmits it by registered mail, the cost of which is mandated by the government, and they sit on it for a month or so, then pay half of it. When he inquires about the other half, they say they paid the claims they received, so the others must have been lost in the mail. He submits them again – by registered mail – and again the companies sit on them for a few months, and finally pay. If a doctor is less persistent or meticulous, he will never get paid. And does anyone think doctors have figured out that if they are going to pay the wages of the staff who take care of all this pointless, unnecessary BS, they must increase their fees? Or take more patients in less time? Shouldn’t this behavior by insurance companies open the door for competition? It would if the government allowed doors. Health care is made more expensive by things that appear to have nothing to do with it. OSHA’s insane rules add billions to the cost of manufacturing in the US – including the cost of manufacturing medical equipment. The ICC’s insane rules for truckers add billions to the cost of delivering that equipment. The FDA’s insane rules add billions (and years) to the cost of developing new drugs. Everything we do, or buy, or use, or give away is regulated by the government. The cost of living is literally that: the cost of breathing and moving around, and every breath, every blink, every bowel movement is affected by laws and rules that make it more expensive. It is a perfect example of the butterfly effect gone mad. Obamacare addresses none of the cost issues. Not a damned one. It does, however, establish a gigantic bureaucracy (pronounced “money pit”) that will be in charge of taking our money, keeping 98% of it for themselves, and using the rest to pay the outrageously expensive medical bills of everyone. Some of it will come back to us, for which we are to bow and genuflect in gratitude to The Savior, Obama. An enormous chunk of it, however, will go to illegal aliens and others who hate us and rail against the last sherds of freedom and capitalism that have made it possible for us to have money for the government to steal and give to them. Knowing that some of us will be resentful, the government will spend billions on drones and spy cameras to keep an eye on us. These billions will be partly paid for with money taken from us – money that might have gone to paying our own medical bills - and partly by printing money, which will devalue the pittance they have left us. And before anyone howls about government regulation guaranteeing the safety of our health care, remember that more people die each year from medical accidents than are shot by criminals. So what about corruption and dishonesty in the private sector? Do doctors and businessmen and bankers go bad? Duuh. But there is an enormous difference! Would you rather tangle with Doctor Tom down the street, or the entire friggin’ United States Government? These clowns don’t have, or shouldn’t have, the protection of the government. If one of them gets stupid, we ought to be on him like the white on rice. Put the stinkin’ lawyers to work. However, the greatest single deterrent to corruption in the private sector would be to eliminate the government’s ability to pour its ill-gotten gains into that corruption. I am absolutely not advocating anarchy in the health care industry. I am simply saying that an open market in which the quality of the product, the service with which it is delivered, and the integrity of the administration will be more responsive than the government. If you don’t like one provider, you can shop for another with some hope of finding that one glorious rebel who has the crazy idea that providing a quality product, at a reasonable price, and treating people right is the key to success. Don’t leave that choice to people who don’t give a cup of boiled spit about your wellbeing. As we say in the west, cowboy – or cowgirl - up. Rebsarge