Politicians have spent the last few weeks patting each other on the back, making self-aggrandizing speeches and generally acting like they have just finished writing the Constitution. The passing of Obama’s health care reform bill is being hailed as the hand that will save Americans. Unfortunately, there are several holes in the plan’s architecture and the entire concept. Here are a few things you can expect from this fiasco:
Reforming insurance as a means to universal health care is flawed from the start. Insurance in all forms promotes irresponsibility and kills attitudes of self reliance. People with hurricane insurance build homes in areas certain to lead to destruction, knowing that the rest of America will subsidize their rebuilding. Health insurance leads to an attitude that someone else is responsible for your health.
This leads to the next problem. Bernie Madoff couldn’t have invented a better scheme than government mandated insurance. Healthy, responsible people end up paying for the sick and irresponsible among us. Why should I have to pay the medical bills of someone who chooses to smoke or who is an alcoholic, knowing the ill effects these things have on our health? People should be allowed to make their own decisions, good or bad, but shouldn’t have to pay for others.
Since doctors and hospitals know there is money in the insurance cauldron, they are irresistibly tempted to overcharge for their services. When it comes to health care, there really is no competitive pricing. Since the insurance company foots the bill, hospitals often pull an arbitrary number out of the air, based on non-existent market standards. For example, within one city, the cost for an MRI can vary from a few hundred dollars to over $2000, without rhyme or reason.
High-tech medicine is great, in certain cases. However, it is not always necessary for proper treatment. Americans have been led to believe that high tech means better, and now they demand such care. As treatment costs rise, the result will not be more people receiving such treatment, but fewer. With nearly 350 million people demanding high-tech solutions to low-tech health problems, the bank will soon run dry.
Under Obamacare, it’s estimated that nearly 50 million people will be added to the
nation’s insurance plans. That’s fine, as long as premiums are adjusted accordingly and are paid by those receiving the benefits. Unfortunately this simply won’t be the case. Many of the newly insured citizens (or illegal aliens) will pay drastically lower premiums than are required to sustain the system. The government (i.e. the rest of the taxpayers) will foot the rest.
Countries with socialized medicine, such as the U.K., already provide examples of such a system. After years of propping it up with cash infusions, the current economic troubles in the U.K. have greatly reduced the government’s ability to continue doing so, and the system is on the verge of collapse.
As demand for unnecessary treatment surges due to the “free” care provided by insurance, waiting times will increase. Waiting lists for routine procedures will be the norm and complications will undoubtedly arise. The quality of care will also decrease as doctors rush through cases to meet the demand.
As treatment becomes less accessible and less reliable, self-care will become more necessary. Even our current health system doesn’t promote prevention, and with socialized medicine, many people will be even less inclined to do so. Medicine is big business and sick people pay the bills. Fewer sick people, fewer dollars. Many doctors have become drug peddlers for big pharmaceutical companies, and even if they know of a natural cure or prevention for a disease, they will likely choose the overpriced medicine from big pharma. Many of these drugs may alleviate some symptoms of a disease, but nearly all of them come with side effects that can often lead to worse conditions. ObamaCare will increase this dependence on treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals since there will be no time left for anything else.
If you don’t believe that drug companies are happy with this legislation, you need only to consider the fact that it passed at all. The majority of congressmen are up to their necks in pharmaceutical lobbyist incentives and can barely take a trip to the bathroom without consulting one of them. Had big pharma not wanted the legislation to pass, it likely wouldn’t have.
The American health care system is admittedly the most technologically advanced in the world. This is paid for by the millions of sick people in our country who are not encouraged to practice self care and preventive medicine. Diseases like diabetes and heart disease, two of America’s biggest killers, can be virtually eliminated through diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. ObamaCare will make it easier for people to get treatment for these conditions and therefore take away even more incentive to prevent them. This in turn will lead to an even more overburdened system, which in turn will lead to the rise of even more treatable diseases, due to poorer treatment. Technology will continue to improve, subsidized by the millions of middle-class Americans footing the ObamaCare bill, but it will be out of reach to all but the world’s wealthiest.