Thursday, January 10, 2008

Universal Healthcare - Why it is stupid

Does everyone need access to medical care? I think that we can all agree that we do. I have had nine operations on my ears, three on my knees, one to have my tonsils and adenoids (WTF?) removed, stitches too numerous to mention, braces on my teeth and braces on my legs as a small child, I wear glasses and hearings aids (rarely), I have a broken tooth that was repaired, and another that needs repair. To add to that, I have an eighteen year old son that has had braces, wears glasses, broke his elbow, shoulder, and collarbone, blah, blah, blah. Sound expensive? You damn skippy.

Who paid? I did. Why did I pay? Because there are no free rides in this world, baby. Yes, you might get that free scholarship to play football at USC, but you HAVE to play. Stop playing, no free ride.

Now, how can an entity (Federal Government) that doesn't produce a damn thing in this world to create wealth come up with the money to "give away" free stuff? There is no way, it is not logically possible and it can never happen. The money has to come from somewhere. Rich folks? Define rich. Currently the federal government sets the poverty level by applying very idiotic mathematics. They take the salaries of every single taxpayer in this country, average that together and then take HALF of the median income to establish poverty level. They never weed out the Bill Gates, Tom Cruises, or the like to establish a legitimate median income. Therefore the level of people living in poverty is actually a fraction of what they say. If you are going to do it that way, why not employ rational tactics to weed out the top 10% and the bottom 10% of the population much like Olympic scores? The average becomes a more rational thing, then. Not only that, but high school students are figured into the poverty statistics. Buffy and Scooter are living at home with Dr. and Mrs. Horatio Von Duggerstein at Alta Vista Manor, but still they are living below the poverty line according to standards.

Factor in the fact that we have a federally mandated minimum wage and the poverty level is even more arbitrary. Why not just put a dart board out with varying wages written on it and let a blindfolded monkey throw darts until he hits a wage? That is just as accurate.

Understand that my explanation is simplified here, but it basically what they do. Also, understand that people that are poor, meaning that they make lower wages than you and me, pay zero in taxes and most are actually given money through a program called "Earned Income Tax Credit." That means throughout the year they may pay one thousand dollars in withholding taxes, but when they file their taxes, they are sent a check for two thousand dollars, actually increasing their wealth but reducing yours. Then they immediately spend that money on bullshit and start the process all over again. Sure, allow them that money, but place limits on what they use it for, it is not their damn money. It's mine, and yours. And it is supposed to help them pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but it has ceased to do that, it has enabled them to continue to ride instead of help push.

Also, throw in the government check for housing and utilities, food stamps, the WIC program, Medicaid, free prescription drugs, PBE checks for cable and telephone, the list goes on and on and on. Ad naseum.

Remember, we are talking about HELPING people. That type of mentality does nothing of the sort. It rewards bad behavior with my money, money that I could spend on my own family, for healthcare, for a vacation, for anything that I desire. I earned it, it's mine. Do away with that one federal mandate of EIC, and my taxes drop. Even one percent is worth it.

Also, consider that the top 10% of wage earners pay for more than 80% of government services and you have a very large disconnect. The government is penalizing success and rewarding failure. What's my motivation here? Make more to simply lose it to someone that wants to sit at home and watch Orpah?

This is a philosophical post, now, so you have to think about things. When was the last time that you won something? A lottery, money from a slot machine? Let's pretend that it was today. You just won one million dollars from some lottery, where did that money come from? Well obviously from the people that bought the tickets. It did not miraculously appear somewhere and they decided to give it away, you know. A Federally mandated healthcare system is exactly the same thing. You will pay for it, but never know if you will receive the benefits. Let's go further.

When the government realizes that universal healthcare provided by the government has wrecked our medical system, just like it has done everywhere else that it is tried, (British teeth, sorry GB, y'alls teeth are nasty) what do you think that they will do to try to salvage the program, because you know that it is going to happen. There has never been a government program that has worked. Ever. But, still they continue to try to prop-up that program to hide the fact that they have no damn clue what they are doing. (IE: Social Security. Hey, let me be forced to contribute 13% of my salary for my entire life for that whopping .9% rate of return over the course of fifty years. I bet Bill Gates is going to sit by his mailbox every month waiting on the check that he will receive that is exactly the same amount as yours. Man, thanks Federal Government!)

This process is called "Each according to his ability, and each according to his need." This means that since I do not have a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention, I shall be placed on the waiting list for my doctor's visit, my annual check-up. While someone who has a heart condition would take precedence. Makes sense, huh? Okay, who makes that decision, it is not you because you have a vested interest in your own well being. So, it will be a doctor, right? Hell, no, they are the ones that have jacked medical costs up to the point where no one can afford to go to the doctor, it must be someone else. It will be someone that is in Washington DC that makes that decision. Congressmen that have access to whatever they want because they control the purse strings and can vote themselves a raise at any time that they want to. And get paid even after they have been voted out of office.

So, who gets the money/heart medicine between the seventy year old man or the otherwise healthy baby? Who gets the money/liver surgery between the child born with a birth defect or a twenty-two year old professional athlete? You know who? The person that will provide more money for the government to spend on entitlements (purposefully buying votes) in the long run. Your wants, needs, and desires have no weight at all. None.

Sidenote: President John Edwards can do absolutely nothing regarding the healthcare that Congress has. The President of the United States enforces the laws of this country, that's all he does. By definition from our Constitution, that is the responsibility of the President. Yeah, he does that treaty thing too but Congress has to approve them. The President cannot even offer bills to Congress to create healthcare, he ENFORCES the laws passed by Congress. Bills passed by Congress, then signed by him into law. Do you ever think that Congress is going to pass legislation that does away with their own damn healthcare? Sure, right after they vote themselves a pay cut and shoot themselves in the stomach. You aren't stupid are you?

These people in Washington are the very same people that passed legislation, that YOU demanded, that allowed litigation and lawsuits to send medical malpractice insurance premiums through the roof. Remember the AIDS scare from a few dentists that were incompetent and costs some people their lives? This is why your medical care is so expensive. Knee-jerk reactions to a single situation make for b-a-d law. And because of that, the doctors cannot afford to insure themselves against litigation without charging you more. There is no finite amount of money, but no one can stay in business while they operate at a loss. Simple economics, baby.

These tenets are the basics of economics. Supply and demand reign supreme. You cannot produce a "stinky lettuce doll" and force the populace to buy it. No, you have to create something that is wanted. Simply put, you must have access to medical care, now how do we reduce the cost of said care? By reducing restrictions placed on the medical profession and easing the burden of litigation.

Reward good performance, not punish it. There are doctors in this country that have never been sued ever for malpractice, yet still have to pay the outrageous premiums because it is demanded by insurance companies put at risk by litigation. At one time, there only two OB/Gyns in the state of Mississippi because they couldn't get insurance. For over two million people!

And they cannot practice without that insurance. Are the insurance companies evil? No, it is the legalese, punkin', the very thing that John Edwards has used to abscond with your medical money. Trial lawyers have sued the industry to the verge of bankruptcy and you want THEM to sort it out? That, my friend, is suicidal.

Yes, there are bad doctors, but making them pay higher premiums for malpractice insurance does not get rid of them. It reduces their profit, so they have to treat more people to make the same amount of money, further endangering more people and causing premiums to rise even more. Again, and again, I say, you are rewarding bad behavior.

All that said, and I do not even begin to scratch the surface of what is being proposed. Give me particulars on the bureaucracy that will be neccessary to control this program. How many MORE people will it take that produce NOTHING? Currently the federal government employs around twelve million people to provide the poor services that it provides. Do you think for one damn second that those agencies are going to absorb and process the paperwork to provide 300 million people with healthcare? Of course not, we are talking about the LARGEST, most bloated agency ever formed in the history of the world and they will have to have somewhere to house that agency. All new buildings. Think about this, it is crazy!

Oh, the current medical structure will take care of the paperwork? You have lost your damn mind, they will have to charge for the additional work or go broke. Think, please.

In conclusion, I agree that medical services are very pricey, but government control of our healthcare sytem, which is the best in the entire world is certainly NOT the answer. Know this, the United States spends a third of our GNP on healthcare, this is three times the amount that Canada, Great Britain, or Japan spends. Those are the three next closest countries in medical expenditure. Do you think that if we have a universal healthcare program, it will cause our medical costs to go up or down and leave you with more or less money in your pocket? You get exactly one guess. Choose wisely, because my mind is made up.

UPDATE: Hopefully someone read this post before I throw this in, if not, oh well. You know for a fact that you have access to healthcare, your complaint is that it is too expensive, be honest, so how do you lower prices? Well you reduce demand or increase supply, or alternately, you make it easier to provide the service. Now, all that being said, do you really want to pay for a bloated federal program simply to make something cheaper, when you know doing just what is proposed will make it more expensive? Do you think that adding one million people to a program that is already too expensive, coupled with the fact that those people provide NONE of the services will make healthcare cheaper?

Why make healthcare more affordable and put a clinic in a pharmacy? Sorry, Boston says you can't do THAT. (Hat-Tip: Instapundit)