Thursday, August 6, 2009

Healthcare “Reform” *

* This was originally written as a response to a friend’s Facebook post, where she posted a video of Keith Olbermann taking some Republicans to task for being given campaign money by healthcare and health insurance companies.  My response was too long to put as a comment in Facebook, so here it is.

And do you know for certain that no Dems have been given money by the healthcare industry?  As long as ANY company, or industry, or lobbyist, is allowed to contribute to political campaigns, we are always going to stumble on relationships that have become controversial.  There’s no way to know in advance which industries will, in the future, be seen as having been a bad contributor.  For all we know, 5 years from now the electric car battery manufacturing companies will be “evil” for creating hazardous waste, and any of the politicians they contributed to will get lambasted for having accepted their money.

On a related note, why do you suppose that the healthcare industry is against this supposed healthcare "reform"?  Do you think maybe it's because they know Obama's administration really is, in the long term, trying to bring us to a single-payer (ie government-run) healthcare system?  Don't listen to what they're claiming in speeches now, look at what they were saying BEFORE they became elected/appointed into this administration (including Obama).  Do you really want to lose the kick-ass insurance we get at UMaine?  You will... whether it's next year or 5 years from now or 15 years from now.  They WANT you to be forced to use the government healthcare plan.  (But of course they themselves don’t want to be stuck with it.)

As for why I think their idea of "reform" is a bad idea... all you need to do is look at the government's track record with estimating how much something will cost.  I'm a little foggy on this one and can't find the statistics online right now to back me up... but, back when it was created, Medicare (or Medicaid?) was supposed to cost something like $13 million.  It ended up costing more than ten times that ($130 million) in that time period.  Then there's the Cash for Clunkers program (which I AM sure of).  They thought $1 billion would last 90 days, and it lasted a week.  They've just approved $2 billion more (for a total of $3 billion, or 3x the original estimate).  The government-sponsored Postal Service is constantly on the edge of bankruptcy.  Government spending goes up every year, and by much more than can be explained by inflation.  Can you think of a single government entity that knows how to operate efficiently and cut costs????????  Having this "reform" plan cost $1 TRILLION ($1,000,000,000,000) is bad enough, but having it cost 3-10 times that amount would be disaster nobody wants to witness.

Another reason I think it’s a bad idea... just look around.  Canadians come to the US for many of their healthcare needs.  Look at Sweden and the UK... look at the others... can you name ONE country with government-run healthcare where the citizens are actually PLEASED with the system?  And it’s not low-income Canadians who are coming to the US, it’s the wealthy.  The ones who can afford to pay $14,000 out of pocket for a hip replacement when the government wants them to wait 18 months before they can have it done under their system.  If you want to increase the divide between the healthcare situations of the wealthy and the poor, the current healthcare “reform” bill is a good way to do it.

I cannot believe that the Dems are stooping to trying to pass off the anti-"reform" movement as a fake, a healthcare-industry- and Republican-sponsored version of a true grassroots movement.     I cannot believe that they're saying anyone against their idea of reform must be getting a payoff from the healthcare industry.  I can assure you that nobody is paying me to write this.

I also cannot believe that they're actually asking people to report their neighbors and friends for suspicious activity and/or suspicious correspondence regarding healthcare reform (ie anyone who doesn't agree with their viewpoint).  Ohhh, you better report me to the White House for this post.  I'll save you the trouble of looking it up... the address is .

Finally, I cannot believe that the anti-“reform” people are actually still referring to this mess as Healthcare Reform.  They are legitimatizing it by calling it Reform when clearly they’re against it BECAUSE it would be a bad move... and therefore not a “reform” at all!

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  1. *applause* Thank you!!! Wonderfully insightful, and so true! Guess I'll have to be reported as well, since I whole-heartedly agree with you!

  2. Thanks Ashley. I emailed all my favorite Fox News hosts to suggest that they start calling it Healthcare Deform ... ANYTHING but Reform.

  3. As a practical matter, this country lacks the ability to address healthcare (and for that matter ANY problem), in a focused, direct, and coordinated fashion. It is also incapable of really planning much of anything of real value, at least not at this point in time. That type of activity does not fit within our governance model.

    What you see here is an example of what happens when ANY entity is run by committee. We've known that as a society for a long time.

    Our governance model is a “herding cats” governance model, where we let people and the entities they form have the freedom to do most of what they consider to be in their best interests, and we hope that it will also be in society's best interests.

    Sometimes that works for us, and other times it doesn't. It will never yield consistency in approach, effort, and results. For us to think so is delusional in nature.

    We (as a nation) lack the ability to rally around anything, unless it is perceived as An imminent threat to virtually all of us, and that's not going to happen often. And so we become self-absorbed in thinking about our own personal, close to home minutiae.

    There are some positive and negative ramifications associated with ANY alternate approach we might pursue, and the yelling and screaming will always loud and raucous.

    As George Will often says, there is the "inertia" which is Washington. There is also the "inertia" which is the U.S. and its constituent parts.

    Although this approach has served us well for most of the last 110 years, from a theoretical perspective, one has to wonder how long we can govern ourselves using the "herding cats” governance model, in light of our increase in size and complexity of our citizens.

    If the US were run like a business, then every single day, its management team would assess whether its goals are being attained, bust their butts to achieve those goals, ensure that it was getting the maximum value and productivity out of those working for it, and make on the dime changes to most effectively and efficiently reach those goals. In other words, be nimble.

    This country is not nimble, and can not be.

    I’m not advocating a particular change, either left or right; just the recognition that EVERY governance model has its limitations, and this one is no different. However, for us to think that we can continue to use it and not have negative periods and poor, inappropriate responses to problems, is not reasonable. A country needs to know its limitations.

  4. OK Inspector, who are you and how on earth did you find lil' ol' me and my completely off topic rant? LOL Normally I talk horses! Do I know you??

  5. Wow...and I find yet another person thinking like I do on this whole healthcare debacle. I have not actually spoken to anyone who supports it. Everyone I know can't imagine what a mess the government will make of our healthcare system.