Comments on a Proposed Healthcare System

Dave: I’m highlighting in red what I think is unacceptable creeping (and often galloping) socialism in your proposed system.

It got to the point where it was clear that I disagreed with everything you state so I went to black and indented instead.

Herb

A Healthcare System for All Americans

David Emil Henderson

 
Published on July 17, 2017
(Revised August 5, 2017)

Among the vast array of United States healthcare statistics, it appears we are spending $3.207 trillion dollars a year on a population of 321.4 million, or an average of $10,000 a year per person. It is no wonder we’re having a raging political fight over this nightmare, with all our lives at stake whether we realize it or not. (The realization came to my family in 2001, when my wife and I were slugged with $180,000 in unpaid medical expenses, despite membership in a nationwide self-employed association claiming 200,000 members and “the best insurance out there.”) 

The hodgepodge of problems would vanish if we cut healthcare costs in half, like other nations. Our national average would be about $4992 a year. And that could be financed on a sliding scale of income percentages, so that everyone could afford proper care. Upon that kind of platform, free enterprise could promote solid advances, driving America back on top where it belongs. 

Motivated by that $180,000 bill, from 47 separate medical accounts, I devoted 5 years to insurance company litigation and compiled 20 years of research toward a better system.

Let’s begin by looking back. That’s important. 

In the beginning, our nation’s Founders boldly proclaimed Equality for all citizens, “Endowed by our Creator with Unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” They emphatically declared those rights are “self-evident” — beyond doubt, beyond debate. Upon that basis, they wrote the Constitution for a more perfect Union.

Yet here we are, more than 240 years as a nation, failing to uphold the most fundamental of those rights — absolute access to the healthcare necessities upon which everything else depends. Although healthcare was much simpler then, this essential right was clearly intended for every citizen without any disdain for age or gender, or skills or occupation, or location or beliefs, or stature or solvency, or any birth conditions. 

This is NOT what the framers intended by equality. What you propose is the exact opposite of “Free to persue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” What you propose removes freedom and replaces it with extraction of property by force.

Whatever happened to that idea? 

It never existed.

In a society so heavily engaged in all forms of competition, the debates on healthcare have revealed a significant amount of selfishness. 

Some of us dispute our collective responsibility to establish medical access on the basis of need rather than privilege. 

Yes, and very strongly! Citizens should have no legal responsibility for anyone but their own welfare and happiness. This is the underpinning of America. I say “should” only because we’ve already had immense creeping socialism which has degraded everyone’s quality of life.

Some of us would rather let victims suffer and die prematurely, because we want to blame their afflictions on their own negligence rather than other probable causes. 

This is absolutely not true. We care, and our top priority is that people attain true happiness by knowing they take responsibility for their lives. Extreme cases you have in mind are taken care of by charity – no one has an inherent right to any material equality.

Many of us succumb to fears — often advanced by insurance providers — that healthcare facilities would collapse under the load if everyone becomes eligible for treatment. That’s a powerful scare tactic (despite experiences of other modern nations which have shown the fear is without foundation).   

No, that’s a fact of life and always has been. And no other nation has been able to repeal the law of supply and demand by declaring it invalid for healthcare (or anything else).

As a cosmic eccentricity, our nation celebrates “heroes” who risk their lives to save others; but we tolerate insurance institutions that exclude lifesaving healthcare from millions of citizens who fall on the wrong side of the profit margins. To persuade us to go along with such ugly discrimination, insurers have spent huge sums, such as $3.7 billion in lobbying the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) plus an additional $709 million in political campaign contributions to Republicans and Democrats (according to National Nurses United). And needless to say, those billions are drawn from policyholder premiums. 

Years ago, the U.S. healthcare system was considered the world’s best. Now it has been ranked in several studies (by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund) as ranking last among 11 countries on measures of access, equity, quality, efficiency, and healthy lives; and 50th of 55 nations (in 2014, before Obamacare took effect) in life expectancy, healthcare spending per capita, and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product. Only Jordan, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, and Russia ranked lower, while Hong Kong and Singapore won the top of the list. 

Our slide in ranking has gone hand in hand with the increased interference by government in healthcare.

Furthermore, our costs keep rising. In a September 16, 2009 speculative article in TIME Magazine’s business section, a typical 22-year-old single employee of a corporation who gets married, has two children, retires at age 65 and dies at 80 will spend $4 million on healthcare.

And you want him to spend even more by guaranteeing healthcare for everyone.

Obviously, of all the money we spend on health insurance, only some of it pays the medical bills. And we have drifted a long way from the golden dreams of our Founders.

I’ll say we have – government has gone far beyond the  powers granted by in the Constitution.

Is there any cure for this affliction? Yes. 

Yes, return to the Constitution and the specific powers it grants, which are few but crucial and have nothing to do with the material equality you envision.

It boils down to money, which our current system has wasted enormously in recent decades. Prior to World War II, doctors and hospitals believed “do no harm” meant financially as well as physically. Some doctors reportedly accepted chickens or vegetables in lieu of cash during farmhouse calls. (Anyone remember when doctors made house calls?)

Amen on the waste – get government our of it.

In those years of the Twentieth Century, doctors and hospitals were still in charge of healthcare, vis--vis insurance companies, deciding which insurers would be accredited. The power began to shift during World War II, when the U.S. government set “wage and price controls” to inhibit economic inflation. The war also created a manpower shortage; so when companies needed non-wage incentives to recruit factory workers, they offered group health insurance.

No, it’s really hospitals and other healthcare establishments who have subverted the system to send money their way.

Company-sponsored health insurance remained a good deal until the Cold War chilled out. Whether it was subsequent “peace dividend” economics or plain old greed, corporate investors began demanding higher profits via cost reductions. Shareholders became more important to CEOs than employees and customers. Customer service people were replaced by robotic voice machines, while employees were expected to work longer hours for stagnant wages while paying more for their insurance. According to that 2009 Time magazine article, the average cost of family health insurance offered by employers reached $13,375 a year, an increase of 131 percent over the prior decade. For comparison, overall inflation rose only 28 percent. 

This is largely anti-capitalist bullshit.