A few weeks ago, I wrote a column regarding health care reform proposals under consideration by Congress and the president. I am compelled to visit this issue again because it is extremely important; proposed reforms will have a far-reaching effect on our economy and the very freedoms upon which our nation was founded.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column regarding health care reform proposals under consideration by Congress and the president. That column generated some thoughtful letters to the editor and comments on the MPN Web site.
I am compelled to visit this issue again because it is extremely important; proposed reforms will have a far-reaching effect on our economy and the very freedoms upon which our nation was founded. Even if reform laws aren’t passed this year, the issue will return next year. We should know what we are asking for before we get it.
President Obama wants a health bill ready for his signature by September. In my opinion, the sense of urgency is spurred by two deliberately mischaracterized reports, promulgated by our president and other advocates of socialized medicine.
The first regards the number of uninsured in this country, usually quoted as 50 million. The number (actually 46.5 million, about 16 percent of the population) is derived from the Census Report “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2005.” According to co-author Cheryl Lee Hill, the number of citizens covered by Medicare and Medicaid is actually under-reported. With closer scrutiny we find additional data indicating that 8.3 million of the uninsured earn between $50,000 and $74,999, and another 8.74 million make over $75,000; in other words, the uninsured from these groups either are eligible for existing benefits but choose not to enroll in programs; or can afford insurance, but choose not to buy it. Another 9.487 million of the uninsured are illegals or visitors, not even U.S. citizens. And, finally, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 45 percent of uninsured are “transitional” (between jobs), and will be insured within four months.
The Congressional Budget Office projects a price tag of $1 trillion over the next decade to pay for health insurance for the deliberately uninsured and others. Government predictions being what they are, the cost would undoubtedly be more — lots more — from the pockets of taxpayers.
The second point repeatedly raised by advocates of socialized medicine is the report that spuriously ranks the United States 37th out of 190 nations in terms of health care quality. We allegedly fall behind countries such as France (1), Cyprus (24), Canada (30) and Chile (33).
At the very least, we should question the source and criteria of the study that produced these health care rankings.
The report was issued by the World Health Organization, an agency of the indisputably political United Nations. Accepting WHO’s indictment at face value, one might wonder why droves of U.S. citizens aren’t beating a path to Cyprus or Chile for their insured gallbladder surgery and hernia repairs; and, conversely, why thousands travel to this country for health care instead of being treated at home.
WHO’s rankings are constructed from five weighted factors: Health Level (25 percent), Health Distribution (25 percent), Responsiveness (12.5 percent), Responsiveness Distribution (12.5 percent) and Financial Fairness (25 percent). As an example of how the numbers can be skewed, Health Level measures such things as life expectancy, which is affected by many factors. With homicides and vehicle fatalities excluded, life expectancy in the United States is the longest on earth. Likewise, Financial Fairness, rather than measuring care quality and delivery, assumes that all should pay the same amount, regardless of how much health care is used. The criteria are slanted to reward uniformity of socialized health care, independent of the actual care.
Some of us are eager to believe that we can get something for nothing, but there is no free lunch, anywhere, under any system. Others believe that if we “spread the burden,” our own share of the cost will be less; but in practice, that only drives the cost upward, as there is no disincentive for running to the doctor for minor conditions that eventually would resolve on their own.
Overburdened and underpaid, good doctors will become scarcer. The end result will be rationed care and long waits, as the Canadian doctors who fled to the United States during the “brain drain” of the mid-1990s can attest.
Behind every collectivist plan is force. Bad ideas may be cloaked in jargon and half-truths to make them more palatable, but there is no side-stepping this fact: If you support universal health care, you accept the idea that your need entitles you to somebody else’s property. In short, you regard them as slaves to be sacrificed to your own ends. Be sure to share your thoughts with your elected representatives if you think otherwise.
Contact Cheryl Miller at Fortuna_reilly@yahoo.com.