We are blowing it…again.

First, lets be clear. Is our health care system the best in the world? Yes.

Are a majority of Americans satisfied with the system as it is? Yes.

Do most American’s believe our health care system needs change? Yes.

…but if it’s so bad, why are some of the wealthiest people in the world coming here for their health care? Just ask anyone in the hospitality industry in Rochester, Minnesota, who’s privately-owned jumbo jet sits on the tarmac for a week and who’s occupants reserve a whole floor at the Kahler hotel for their annual visit to the Mayo Clinic?

The Saudi Royal Family comes here for their health care.

These people have unlimited resources – and come here?

And yet, often cited are World Health Organization Statistics citing such items as national longevity, live birth rates and such, attempting to paint a bleaker picture and calling for Change® in America, so we can get in line and be more like the rest of the world.

…but the WHO is an arm of the UN, who brought us the long debunked Man-Made Global Warming scam and thereby disqualifies itself as a source of reliable statistical  basis, let alone scientific integrity.

An interesting WHO statistic often cited in defense of socialized health care are physician salaries in other nations where socialized health care has long been the norm. Lower salaries for physicians is actually presented as an upside!

Riddle me this: how much do you want the guy who has his hands in your abdomen – or better yet your child’s – to earn? Who is going to sign up for eight years of crappy pay, long hours of internship and residency, and a couple hundred thousand dollars of med-school debt only to end up with a lifetime of crappy pay?

I want my doc to be driving a Porsche to deliver my baby or save my wife’s life.

Nonetheless, I think we can all agree, the the two main issues with our current health care system are coverage and cost.

One reason costs are high in America because we are wealthy as a nation. Seriously.

Food is cheap here and we eat a lot of it. Caloric intake and obesity have long been associated with increased morbidity and mortality via type two diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Maladies our nation suffers disproportionately with much of the rest of the globe.

That’s not the only cause for the high costs, but it is a cause uniquely American. Our current third-party payer system is the culprit. This approach has gradually created a choke point between the consumer and the service. Here is the opportunity for real reform.

The current system has allowed providers and insurance companies to control far too much of the market under cover of little competition and very little consumer data on the cost and quality of care and coverage.

So before you say that the free market has failed health care, let’s actually try a free-market approach first. Because this has not been a free-market for years.

Reform is indicated, but further government encroachment is an absolute last resort.

For liberals however, it’s all they have to offer.

Liberals are attempting to seize the moment by bastardizing a need for reform into a call for a larger federal government. Obama innocently claims his plan just adds another player but true to form his eloquence is betrayed by the fine print. He intends on complete and total government control of the system.

His plan is a single-payer system, pointing health care reform in precisely the wrong direction by actually reducing accountability and market forces when increasing both is the only proven recipe for success.

As for access, there are millions of Americans without health insurance – many by choice – others because of situational factors like The Great Recession brought to you by liberals like Barney Frank. Certainly a great many need help – those that can’t do for themselves.

For those that legitimately don’t have access, government can and should help out by creating a system like unemployment insurance, possibly co-funded by insurers, providers and taxpayers to create temporary coverage with a choice of providers, for those who are unemployed, and a permanent system to bridge access to Medicaid for those that are truly unemployable. These are ideas we need to hear from our conservative leadership.

As unnerving as the socialization of health care is the dearth of alternative offerings on the part of conservatives who have instead put their chips on political polarization. Republicans are attacking the Democrats’ plan without offering a solution of their own, giving rise to calls that “any reform is better than no reform at all,” not to mention doing nothing for their chances in the next election cycle.

We are constantly compared with other industrialized nations and their universal health care systems as if America is expected to follow suit. Following the rest of the world is not what made us the most powerful nation in the world. America should be enlisting the forces of innovation, ingenuity and free enterprise that got us this far.

The answer to our health care ills can be found among the principles upon which this bruised but still great country was founded and which have propelled us to our current level of wealth and prosperity: Limited government and free enterprise.

In the mean time, on the health care issue, Republicans have become one-dimensional naysayers, a role heretofore reserved for Democrats.

Barack Obama is blowing his political capital like Bill Clinton in a strip joint. The Gates controversy coupled with an utter failure to get any health care reform to paper has left Barack Obama in a political crisis.

Now more than ever, the GOP needs to speak up and offer an alternative plan.

Lest this crisis be wasted.

18 thoughts on “We are blowing it…again.

  1. Johnny Roosh wondered: “…but if it’s so bad, why are some of the wealthiest people in the world coming here for their health care?”

    Cause if you are someone with limitless resources, you can buy very good care in the U.S. If you’re a normal American, not so much.

  2. JR said, “…but the WHO is an arm of the UN, who brought us the long debunked Man-Made Global Warming scam ”

    Hyperbole, in the face of the vast preponderance of evidence, does not ‘debunking’ equate. Roosh, the evidence is AT WORST undecided, it certainly is still in question that it is man-caused, but it is NOT disproven and more than it is proven.

    Also, JR, just a couple of facts, we are 29th in infant mortality, 37th in life expectancy. You can get exceptional care if you have the money, if you are middle-class, you get fair care – if you are poor, you get generally poor care because you wait until the last minute to go to the ER, often too late to deal with the illness in a cost effective manner.

  3. we are 29th in infant mortality, 37th in life expectancy

    Which are often quoted to cite the inadequacy of our healthcare, when the context certainly doesn’t support it. Infant mortality is as much due to the immense numbers of teenage mothers as to the health insurance system. The life expecancy is due to many other things; car accidents, obesity, crime (mostly due to the “war on drugs”), highly sedentary lifestyles.

    And let’s try not to mix up “healthcare” and “health insurance”. We DO have the best healthcare system in the world. Parts of US society can’t afford health insurance to pay for that healthcare – which is very largely due to the immense amount of government and institutional (especially union health plan) money pumped into the insurance system, which inflates all prices.

  4. Mitch,

    Please understand, I’m very conversant in the causes of these numbers – but they ARE for very good reason considered the gold standards of health care delivery. They measure access, economic disparity and impact, cultural disparities, etc..

    We do NOT have the best healthcare system in the world – saying it doesn’t make it so – any benchmark you care to name says we don’t, when measuring mean healthcare delivery. This isn’t about paying for it, it’s about survivability, longevity, ease of access, etc..

    Also, your commentary about what causes our healthcare inflation, is, I’m sorry, well off the mark. The causation of our healthcare inflation is much much more about dwindling payer base and escalating care base. We have too few people paying into a system, and increasing population figures requiring care. We’ve seen explosive growth in health care expenses since the early 1960s (really since 1960) – with the fastest pace of growth between 1960 and 1973. This is an immense subject, and a comment column will never cover it. I’m going to post something, I welcome you to comment on it, but I think you can agree that among the people you know, I have at least as much familiarity with health care payment as anyone. Neither the solution of the left, nor the right, will reduce costs – one MIGHT retard inflation – but some very difficult choices lie ahead either way. Governmental paid systems worked well in other countries in part because they got in ‘at the ground floor’ of inflation in the system – we are LONG LONG past that – and so probably cannot reasonably follow the same model.

  5. Penigma, one reason I do not support a single payer plan is that I am suspicious of the numbers used by the pro-single-payer forces.
    The “47 million Americans without access to health care” number is a joke. Most Americans are, I am certain, more interested in the number of American citizens (or legal residents) who desire health insurance and cannot afford it. This number is much, much smaller than 47,000,000.
    The abuse of the 47,000,000 number makes me suspicious of all the other numbers used by the pro-reform forces. It’s more expensive to rely on an ER for primary care than the mainstream medical system. Show me how this is true for Americans with no access to health care.
    Longevity? Again, break down the number demographically. Demonstrate how the US health care delivery system, rather than cultural or other causes, is the source of lesser longevity.
    Ideologically liberals believe that virtually every human problem requires a collective response. Show me that Obamacare will actually address the problem of healthcare delivery in America.
    Healthcare is not food stamps. There are not enough doctors and hospital beds, MRI machines, etc, to give everyone top-notch care. Rationing healthcare by political criteria is no guarantee that ‘better’ healthcare will be the result.

  6. Why comparing infant mortality rates is a useless exercise:

    http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/060924/2healy.htm

    “First, it’s shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.”

  7. Troy, I suspect that if Obamacare passes we will be subjected to the ol’ switcheroo.
    If, years into Obamacare, the infant mortality, longevity, and other stats don’t come into line with other countries, we’ll be informed that “Obamacare was never meant to address those issues”. Or else the definitions of longevity and infant mortality will be adjusted to whatever the bureaucrats feel suits their purposes.

  8. Troy brought up a point I was going to make: the way live births are counted is different in the U.S. I noticed this in my day job a couple of years ago when infant mortality in the U.S. went up for the first time since the 1940s. Checking with my company’s neonatal and perinatal consultants revealed that advances in technology and care now make it possible for babies delivered at 23 or 24 weeks to survive, whereas 26 weeks used to be the minimum. Of course, most born at 23 weeks don’t survive but the reporting parameters have changed. More babies are surviving that couldn’t have before, but ironically the infant mortality rate goes up.

    What’s interesting is that in the U.S. the healthcare system will go to great lengths to keep these babies alive, regardless of expense (or the ability to pay of the parents). In England, however, you have doctors petitioning the courts to allow babies to die without intervention (see the Charlotte Wyatt case) and courts agreeing because of the expense; the government has to ration the care by withholding it from the weakest and least likely to survive (at any age); hence you have British courts classifying providing water and nutrition as “heroic” measures that may be terminated at the doctor’s – not the family’s – discretion (see http://thenightwriterblog.com/2005/08/07/21st-century-british-healthcare/).

    Further, I don’t know if it’s still the case or not, but in the 70s and 80s, Britain didn’t have EMTs in their ambulances. If someone lived long enough to get to the hospital then they had a chance, but no efforts were made, beyond driving quickly, to keep the patient alive. Again, people who die don’t cost the State as much money. For all the faults and expense of the U.S. system, the focus is on saving lives, not saving money.

  9. penigma said:

    “Hyperbole, in the face of the vast preponderance of evidence, does not ‘debunking’ equate.”

    Ha! The argument is self debunking now that you are a “Global Climate Change” zealot instead of a “Global Warming” zealot.

  10. Roosh says:
    “…but if it’s so bad, why are some of the wealthiest people in the world coming here for their health care? Just ask anyone in the hospitality industry in Rochester, Minnesota, who’s privately-owned jumbo jet sits on the tarmac for a week and who’s occupants reserve a whole floor at the Kahler hotel for their annual visit to the Mayo Clinic?

    The Saudi Royal Family comes here for their health care.

    These people have unlimited resources – and come here?

    And yet, often cited are World Health Organization Statistics citing such items as national longevity, live birth rates and such, attempting to paint a bleaker picture and calling for Change® in America, so we can get in line and be more like the rest of the world.”

    This would be important, that the Saudi Royal family comes here, except that here is not the only place wealthy oil government big shots go. Many have traditionally gone to…oh, yeah, the UK, for years and years. The UK where they have a mix of government AND private health providers. They go to France, they go to Switzerland. That there are mega rich who come here is not a valid argument, unless they do not also go to countries with some form of national medicine.

    We are lucky here in MN, to have the Mayo complex of medical services and research. But it would be a mistake to equate what they do to our national health care exactly because they are so unique. There is essentially no one else who does quite what they do, anywhere, not just in Minnesota, not just in the US, in certain kinds of research.

    We have a very costly, very uneven delivery system. By uneven, I mean that we have a very inconsistent basis for care being provided; some get much, when given finite resources, and this is a system of finite resources, it is a consideration that they should not. Others who can be saved and cured do not get care; becase of lack of money. Anyone who believes that care is not rationed now, and NOT by someone who is interested in your living or dying, never worked in the insurance industry.

    No system is going to be perfect. Ours could be better; ours USED to be better. I love this country, but we are losing ground from where we were, including in health care.

  11. “Please understand, I’m very conversant in the causes of these numbers…” Well, of course. After all of those Sunday teas with your neighbor who is a member of the Mayo family, you should be testifying before a joint session of Congress, teh peevee.

    The thing that I think all of these hateful lefties are forgetting is that if they did succeed in dragging our medical system into the gutter for everyone equally, those damned hated “richies” will *still* go to the head of the line; they will *still* get the private rooms; they will *still* get the personal attention of the top practitioners.

    The only benefit socialized medicine will bring to the left is the satisfaction of knowing they have spread failure and misery to a greater proportion of Americans.

    Then comes the push to make private clinics and practice illegal as it is in Canada.

  12. What’s the big deal about infant mortality anyway? We execute a half million babies in-utero every year. It’s an American tradition!

  13. I agree that there are some pretty significant differences in how countries count and record live births that may affect their reported infant mortality rates but there’s a larger issue here that I think people may be missing.

    The infant mortality rates among industrialized nations are so minute that their differences between them are pretty much meaningless. For example:

    The United States reports an infant mortality rate of 0.626%. The country which reports the lowest infant mortality rate is Singapore which reports a rate of 0.231%. This means that the difference between the infant mortality rate reported in the United States and the country which claims to have the lowest infant mortality rate is a whopping 0.395% – less than four-tenths of a percent.

    When a country gets to the point where its infant mortality rate is less than a fraction of a percent, comparing its rate to other countries whose infant mortality rate is less than a fraction of a percent ceases to yield any meaningful information. It could be differences in ethnicity, differences in how the data is recorded or it could be a rounding error.

  14. Dog Gone said:

    “We are lucky here in MN, to have the Mayo complex of medical services and research. But it would be a mistake to equate what they do to our national health care exactly because they are so unique. There is essentially no one else who does quite what they do, anywhere, not just in Minnesota, not just in the US, in certain kinds of research.”

    That unique research sounds “very costly”. We should probably throw that away and make things less “uneven” with a single payer regime, eh?

    Ha, just kidding! Mayo is an excellent place, but there are many excellent places to get treatment in Minnesota, and in the United States.

    “ours USED to be better”

    Back when we did things the European way? Oh wait a sec …

  15. My wife rolled over in bed and blew a disc in her neck. Utter agony over the weekend, soonest the surgeon could get to it, after which the pain was gone. Just, gone.

    Blew another one, four years later, same result. Two miracles in a row.

    I don’t care how much that woman makes. She’s worth every penny. If I had to pay her out of my pocket, I would. Thankfully, my employer provides great insurance.

    I can’t imagine how much envy someone must harbor to want to take away our access to that miracle worker in the name of “fairness.”

    .

  16. Pingback: Best. Healthcare. Ever. | MNpublius.com

  17. nate said: “My wife rolled over in bed and blew a disc in her neck.”

    That ain’t the only thing she’s blown in your bed when you weren’t around, nate.

  18. Peev blustered: “I’m very conversant in…”
    …spreading lies and disinformation.

    Peev refuses to admit that there are NOT 47 million Americans that can’t get health care. Behold the blind adoration of the Obamassiah!!!

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